It's been a while since I've put pen to paper, or rather, blinking cursor to vast white expanse. This post will actually end up sitting in my drafts for a while, as I haven't yet announced that I'm growing a human, but so much of my thoughts and so much of the decisions we're making right now revolve around that.
I don't feel like I'm the type of person to be pregnant. At least in our culture. I'm so tired of our culture and the confined boxes it constantly tries to put people in. Being pregnant is like being shoved into the tiniest box, which is a bit uncomfortable as you're supposed to be growing. Everything tells you to be one way, or to feel one way, or to do things one way. I remember being only 5 weeks pregnant, in Maui, and reading in my pregnancy app that I probably wouldn't feel like squeezing into a teeny bikini, to which I replied aloud, "screw you, I'm in Maui, yes I do want to don a teeny bikini." And so the pregnancy-fat shaming seemed to begin.
But it's a double edged sword because then I get that person coming up to me at the buffet line at a wedding covertly telling me that I was lucky that I could eat whatever I wanted for the next 9 months. Which also confused me because, hi, I'd like to remain eating and feeling healthy, which means not shoving my face with ice cream and fast food for the next 9 months. Yes I will be gaining weight, but being pregnant is not an excuse to eat unhealthily with no consequences. And I can eat whatever I want any time of my life. I choose to eat or not eat certain things to maintain my health. A fetus isn't a get-out-of-unhealthy-habits-free card. And since I haven't had any morning (or other time of day) sickness, I get people saying stuff like, "well, you might later." Thank you? I'm so glad you're wishing nausea and vomiting upon me later on in my pregnancy because I haven't experienced it during the typical time.
And then there are feelings. Or the lack of them. I see pregnancy announcements everywhere with phrases like, "over the moon" and "tickled pink" and honestly I don't feel those things. It isn't because we aren't looking forward to the future with this new person in our lives. Sure, we weren't "trying," but we also weren't being super strict about our birth control method, so I knew it was a possibility. I don't have feelings of love and awe towards the thing that's inside me. I don't feel like a mom, and I don't know what that even means. Conceptualizing pushing a human out of me and then having it be in our lives forever just isn't happening for me. I don't know when it will hit me. For all I know it won't be until it's out of me.
I get the sense that the way I feel and how I talk about all this could be off-putting to some people who can feel those "over the moon" feelings, and who can't wait to hold their infant in their arms, and who feel in love with the tiny baby growing inside them. I'm pushing back against that seed of shame that I'm already screwing up being a parent by not feeling the "right" way during pregnancy.
I remember reading Mellisa's blog "Dear Baby" which she wrote while she was pregnant with her first child. I remember wanting to do the same thing for my future baby, write letters to them while they were in utero, but here we are and I'm like, "I don't know what to tell you except I imagine you will LOVE orange juice based on how much OJ I'm ingesting these days." Nothing profound to tell them. No huge orations of love and amazement. I'm not a feeler. I'm a thinker. I often wish I felt more often and stronger. As a woman, I feel expected to feel strongly. But my feelings are deep currents, usually lingering below the surface, not producing waves. Articulating words to encapsulate those feelings is especially difficult. Thinking comes much more naturally. But I get the sense that I come off as unfeeling and curt because in my communication with most people I'm all information, very little feeling. In fact, when I write emails, I almost always write out the email how I normally would (all info), then have to go back and insert pleasantries and "feelings," just to ensure I don't come off as rude or uncaring. I imagine men don't deal with this same pressure. I wonder what it would be like to not feel the pressure to be touchy feely.