35 weeks pregnant.
So, by the wonderfully imprecise timeline of human gestation, this baby should make her entrance in this world anywhere between 2 and 7 weeks from now. And though I feel totally done with pregnancy, we have one soccer camp, one swim camp, one house closing, and one MOVE before D-day. So my feelings notwithstanding, time is on our side.
To be honest, I don't have much to complain about in third trimester. I carry high and small, I don't gain a ton of weight, I don't have heartburn, varicose veins, or swelling. I'm tired like you'd expect (maybe a little more so on this fourth go around) and uncomfortable like you'd expect (i.e, feeling unwieldy and HOT), but nothing really to complain about. Still, I like having a good excuse to sit down and put my feet up a little more often than I usually do. Over all that time of R&R, I've mulled and mused over this pregnancy and pregnancy in general, and I thought I'd share some of that with you. I've got no particular structure here, no theme. These are just Maria's Thoughts.
- I don't think women should be expected to buck up and bear morning sickness cheerfully. It's the pits; just let them be miserable. And don't ask, "How are you feeling?" The answer will be the same every time: "Awful."
- Why don't people set up meal trains when a woman is morning sick? That makes a lot more sense to me.
- The crazy hormones are as much a part of the pregnancy as the morning sickness and the body changes. As much as husbands wish they could dismiss our emotional highs and lows as crazy hormones, our bodies are suffering them as much as the nausea, the hunger, the round abdominal pain, etc.
- It's strange to me how pregnancy seems to be approached as a medical condition about which women can have no real knowledge (unless they happen to be doctors, or even better, obgyns.) We get shuffled through pre-natal care like ignorant cattle; we're given lists of what not to do/eat/drink; we're given books to read of what to expect. We might get asked for our concerns or questions, but we're never really asked for our opinions or preferences or trusted to make judgments for ourselves. Can such a natural occurrence and process really be so cripplingly foreign to us?
- On that note, I highly recommend the book Expecting Better by Emily Oster
- The weight gain issue. In what other medical situation is weight gain so intensely and insensitively scrutinized? It's stressful enough to be dealing with the confounding combination of nausea and hunger in first trimester, and then the frantic, all-consuming, constant hunger of second trimester - not to mention the breast growth, belly growth, hip growth and all around body change. Yes we can all be reminded that it is not healthy to let all standards of nutrition and moderation fly out the window and that "eating for two" is not technically accurate, but beyond that, GIVE US A BREAK.
- I understand that a pregnant belly invites comments, and that most comments are meant well, but sometimes it's very hard to know how to reply graciously to many of them. My favorite so far has been one older man in the grocery store the other day who said to me, "You'll just have to have three more!" (This was in Texas and was a pretty comic relief to the comments in California which went more along the lines of, "You should have had two less!")
- ... as opposed to the ones who ask, "So will this be it?" I don't like that question. If I'm visibly pregnant enough AND toting around enough children to invite that question, then I have undoubtedly sworn up and down that I'm never doing this again. Ask me in two or three years when my body has returned to normal and that baby is now a more functional human being and you'll get a much less impulsive or reactive answer.
- The indefiniteness of baby's arrival is so appropriate to not only the whole experience of pregnancy, but also of motherhood in general. From the moment of conception, you have so little control. Yes, you'll eat the right things and avoid unnecessary risks and do whatever you can do ensure baby's healthy growth, but there's only so much you can do. Nature will take its course. And yes you might eat 6 dates a day and do 500 squats and drink red raspberry leaf tea and take primrose oil but, again, there's only so much you can do. Your body will go when it's ready. And then you'll feed them the right foods and read them the right books and set all the right rules and discipline in the best ways you know how and there's still only so much you can do. They are their own individuals with their own hearts and souls and they will grow to be a person very distinct from you.
Whatever happens in pregnancy, one thing is very certain: a little person is growing within and making all kinds of demands on your body which are at once marvelous and exasperating. The months of discomfort are just a brief preliminary training in the much tougher challenge of raising a human person into adulthood.