As I write this, I am holding my newborn daughter. How does this happen? I was 5 weeks pregnant just a hot minute ago, right? Pregnancy is one of the weirdest ways yet I have experienced time (and please don’t @ me about having a newborn, I know it’s coming) – somehow time goes both incredibly slow and lightning fast all at once. I do not understand how we’re already here because I only just found out I was having a baby and somehow I have also been pregnant for 100 years. Both are true, please don’t ask questions.
I have written before about how long it took us to get here – so finally meeting this little person who has been living in my belly feels so strange! I was pregnant a normal amount of time, I concede, but at the same time we have been dreaming of her face for years and years. After the time and effort it took us to get pregnant, I am unbelievably grateful that I had a relatively lovely time being pregnant. Honestly. Did my body do weird things that were at times unpleasant and unattractive? Oh you bet your behind it did. But overall, I have felt good, physically and emotionally, and I’m so grateful.
And so as I stare at my beautiful daughter, I am reflecting on the things I’m going to miss about pregnancy:
I’m going to miss my constant little companion.
The first time I realized I felt her kicking me was incredibly bizarre. It’s impossible to describe in words other than to say, well, it feels like a tiny foot kicking you square in the ribs, or, for example, two little hands putting a vice grip on your bladder. Yeah, it feels like that. And while I won’t be sorry that the more violent attacks on my innards will subside, it’s just been the sweetest to be going about my day and reminded repeatedly of my child growing strong in there. It was infinitely sweeter still to meet her for the first time, to hold her little hands and see her little face – but I can’t help that I’ll miss feeling her constant presence with me day in and day out.
I’m going to miss my pregnant body.
I have always had – let’s call it – a complicated relationship with my own body, and I always expected pregnancy to compound that weirdness into oblivion, but I have been completely surprised that the opposite has been true. I’ve never had an easier time appreciating, caring for, and admiring my own body than I have these last 40 weeks. Watching myself grow, watching the scales tip, has caused me none of the anxiety or stress I anticipated it would. Instead, I have been able to let that go, and enjoy the increasing roundness of my belly. I’ve not given it a second thought as my clothes have gotten tighter and I began making old man noises when I sat down or stood up. I could have done without the cankles, but you win some you lose some, I guess.
I’m going to miss the way I took care of myself.
From a young age, I have been an extrovert and a people-pleaser with a highly aggressive case of FOMO (fear of missing out). I don’t like to say “no” and I never go to bed first for fear of missing some amazing, unmissable moment in time that I can never get back. It is exhausting, if you’re wondering. But being pregnant brought on new levels of tired I’ve never experienced before, and those normal tendencies of mine were just not sustainable in the long run. And so? When I was tired, I went to bed. Regardless if others were still up and/or in my own home, I said, hello, goodnight, I’m going to bed! I missed parties, and I said no to people who wanted me to do things, or wanted to do things around me, because I knew it was too much. Nobody died. Least of all me. We all survived. Thrived, even!
I’m going to miss nesting.
Oh, the nesting. I am not an organized person, and I tend to procrastinate big projects. I GOT SO MUCH DONE WHILE I WAS PREGNANT. It was a magical time where major home projects got done, closets got purged, pictures got hung, piano lessons got scheduled after months of putting it off. I was a champion nester and this household was so organized it would make your head spin. Anyway, I know that, like Cinderella at midnight, I’m going to turn back into a pumpkin now that this baby is out. So let’s just hope that everyone got what they needed in the last 9 months, hmm?
I’m going to miss how present I felt for every moment.
I have never been great at being “in the moment.” Part of it is the FOMO problem, part of it is worry and anxiety, part of it is just how I’m wired, maybe? But I often look back on special times with some degree of regret that I didn’t relish it more, that I didn’t truly enjoy what was happening when it was happening. I do not have that regret looking back on these last months. I don’t know what changed, because it certainly wasn’t me; but I enjoyed everything the best I could. I relished as much as a person can relish. I made sure I did everything I wanted to do.
And as such, while there is definitely a part of me that will miss being pregnant, I felt a large degree of peace entering that last week of pregnancy. I am ready for the next chapter. Reflecting on these things I’ll miss, I’m trying as best I can to take these things that being pregnant has taught me, and continue them on in my post-natal life.*
To enjoy my children, in the phase of life they are in, in whatever time we are together.
To love my body, to care for it well, and to let go of the anxieties that have long stolen my joy and presence in each moment.
To put caring for myself (and my kids) first, above the needs and requests of others; and to go to sleep when I need to go to sleep for heavens’ sake.
To stay productive and make lists and be organized forever and ever. (Hahahahahaha.)
To enjoy each present moment, without worrying too much about what comes next.
* To the extent that having a newborn allows. Heaven help me.