Thursday, August 6, 2009
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Peering into the darkened sky and watching the raindrops hit the cooler-than-normal for July pavement, I went into one of those “woe is me in the third trimester” modes. Irritated with myself for feeling ungrateful, I made an attempt to tackle a positive and negative list and came up with the following:
• The growing imagination: you begin to picture what the little one will look like, what it will mean to hold him in your arms and the miracle it will mean for your growing family…immeasurable contentment beyond your wildest dreams
• The love and support: from friends, family and even complete strangers as they tend to your every need, provide sympathetic looks and use that new soothing tone you haven’t heard since you were a child
• The smell of Dreft: drifting through the baby’s room, the hall near the laundry and at rare times, even overpowering the scent of the hairy children (dog and cat)
• The nursery: each glimpse you catch as you dart past in the hallway, your heart tugs at all the blue, brown, plush and diapery goodness that sit perched and ready for baby-to-be
• The lullabies: from Baby Einstein to Sleep Sheep, your heart melts and the soul softens at the white noise meant to relax and calm breaks the silence
• Mommy bonds: frequently misunderstood, even ones you don’t know invite you into their club with secret looks, great tips and stories that touch your heart and make you excited for all that is to come
• Celebrations: watching your friends’ and family members’ faces light up as they all make an amazing effort to attend showers, help you around the house and remain positive and upbeat day-by-day; they are providing for you and your growing family in the most selfless, immeasurable ways
• Pool days: lazy summer afternoons take on a whole new grand meaning when you’re growing form is immersed in water and suddenly (and literally) the weight of the world is lifted off your hips and back…priceless…
• Doctor’s appointments: you get to skip an hour or two of work when you’re most exhausted and nurses and physicians are extra humorous and kind to you, even when you’re on the scale; not to mention you get to hear life’s most amazing sound…your baby’s heartbeat
• The return to yumminess: this far along, your fears seem to dissipate a bit and you know begin to “pick around the feta cheese,” slip in a Coca Cola once a month and go ahead and eat that turkey sandwich
• Husbandry love: as he is more able to see the baby’s movements and your growing discomfort, he does more chores, is abnormally kind and may even paint your toenails; he has also learned the long list of “what is ok or not ok to say” at this point (example: mine is downstairs using Pledge and vacuuming even under the chairs)
• Outfits: at this point, people are impressed with anything you wear, don’t expect heels and are satisfied even with a muumuu three times a week; don’t forget the bonus of being able to wear a swimsuit with it all hanging out and not feeling overly self-conscious for once in your life
• Prenatal massage: not only do you get to lay on your tummy again for the first time in eight months, but someone is giving relaxing goodness to all your aching parts
• Nesting: your closets, carpets and bathroom tiles will never be cleaner (well – maybe if you hire it out later)
• Thank you notes: though you are required to write what feels like thousands of them, it is such a sweet reminder of the amazing people in your life and the graciousness they bring to your day-to-day
• The glow: even if it’s just your Bare Essentials, you hear at least once a day “you look great – you’re glowing!”; I ponder – does this occur after? I think not!
• Water and milk intake: for once, you’re healthy out of a complete craving; at the Choate house, we go through four gallons of milk per week and at least 10 glasses of water per day
• Kids’ books: what are more delightful than words that rhyme, pictures that make you laugh and things like “Snuggle Puppy” that you have to sing in front of your spouse?
• Cat naps at work: the dagger stares no longer exist if you choose to prop your feet up in a meeting room for 10 minutes; in fact – they kinda look on adoringly from the glass like the zoo
• Belly touches: though not for everyone, it’s so fun to see the reaction on others faces and share that moment with them of all the excitement to come
• Baby classes: not only do you get a dose of continuing life education, you are highly entertained by men attempted to diaper and swaddle
• MomAgenda: sleek, chic and oh-so-fun it’s the perfect way to ease into mommyhood and stay organized (www.momagenda.com)
• New sense of purpose: you realize that they were all right - that the small things no longer matter, nor do some of the big things...for your life is about to change in the most beautiful, moving ways
• New fears: from SIDS to labor pains, the stories come in droves and feed your brain during the insomnia-filled nights
• Insomnia: evil hormones take over and keep you wide-eyed and wondering even after a 50-hour work week, workouts, nesting bouts and more
• Craving for wine or “remember when we…” outings: at this point, you start to notice the sassy chics traipsing through the Plaza, staying out until the wee hours with their friends and going about life selfishly like you were just a year ago; did I mention they were probably drinking Pinot Grigio or a fabulous Reisling?
• “You mean I can’t do it myself?”: no more pushing armoires, bending down to grab your dropped pen, bleaching the towels, or sitting just how you want in your office chair to name a few
• Addiction to trashy reality TV: it starts with “Saved by the Bell” in the morning, strategic avoidance of “The Baby Story” in the afternoon and ends with “Jon and Kate Plus 8” drama in the evening; hey – it’s easier than reading a book, plus I got to meet my new bffs, “Tori and Dean”
• No menu is ever big enough: you can order one of everything and you’re still hungry…or, it’s “not what the baby wanted;” it now takes 30 minutes and two reusable lunch sacks to pack enough snacks for before 11 a.m. during the work day
• You can’t abuse your body anymore: lack of sleep, the wrong foods and all those other fun things make for more significant consequences than before
• Purse downsizing: it’s no longer about the latest, trendy saddle bag that you spotted at Nordstrom; instead, it’s a cross-body little thing that can tuck into your super-huge diaper bag (note: you can still make it Marc Jacobs – bonus!)
• Book choices: your adorable trashy chic lit books with bright covers are quickly replaced with pregnancy, breastfeeding and birthing novels with those scary graphics that almost deem them inappropriate for under the coffee table
• Pinkies: tootsies that have to be painted by an 8-month pregnant girl who can no longer bend at the waist vs. a luxurious spa pedicure because you’re trying to save money for daycare
• The growing belly: sure, you may think it’s cute, but you’re not balancing a watermelon between your ears and legs; nor do you generally witness the alien-like movements deemed “natural” by academics and medical folks
• New trend in under garments: granny panties and over the shoulder boulder holders = not flattering, even on Heidi Klumm.
• Increased frequency in trips to the powder room: there is no longer a way to get through a 60-minute meeting at work, a stroll on a beautiful morning or a quick boat ride on a summer’s eve
• The waddle: though darling on the swagger of a rugged cowboy, not so much on a girl pinched tight into her maternity clothes slinking through the halls to loosen her spine
• Changes in all sorts of bodily functions: we don’t need to go here; ladies – you know what I’m talking about
• New home décor: instead of the latest from Nell Hills, you are now in a primary-colored haven littered with puppies, clowns, things that beep and more; your bed is also no longer made of the perfect throw pillows, but eight regular pillows (some without covers) and a body pillow
• Maternity clothes round two: oh yes, there is a round two! When that “significant growth spurt happens, your doc ain’t just referring to the kiddo – put away the “regular” bohemian tops and dresses and prepare to go up a size at Motherhood
• Breathlessness: unless you’re running a marathon, I’m not sure it’s normal for any woman to be wheezing or huffing and puffing at this decibel; there is also the case of the Breathe Right strips – since when did this become a requirement for we non-snorers? Oh that’s right…during pregnancy!
• Whining: even if you do it in your head, your positive spirit marked with conquering the world is clouded with black thoughts of back pain, moodiness, irritation and the grievance of your old self
• Your body is a tool: no longer meant for impressing, lifting, accentuating or flirting, your body is now a temple for the wee one (see “changes in bodily functions” above; at times you begin to wonder who it even belongs to…besides the growing baby of course
• The cat’s revenge: now that he’s figured out there’s a new man in town, he provides lovely yowling tune mid-evening and glowing devil eyes in the middle of the night; he also likes to strategically trip you as you waddle up and down stairs
• Stretching: though it feels like a million bucks, you tend to get a few stars when you’re tucked into the cat/cow position in your office or leaning over a toilet b/c it’s the perfect height to crack your upper spine; generally, your dress is hiking up inappropriately at this point too in the back, which is only accentuated when stretching
To all my Mommy friends going through this right now or having been there, cheers to you and your amazing acts of femininity and survival. And you were right – it is worth every second of the good, the bad and the ugly for the gift of a child at the end. Seven weeks and counting!