Pregnancy gets a bad rap ya’ll. Known mostly for nausea, aches and pains, and destroying your ‘former’ body, most pregnant women fixate on how tired and uncomfortable you feel the entire time. I’m definitely not immune to this plague; I have been known to complain about back aches or acne or the loss of my chin, but underneath all the groaning, I still love being pregnant.
The first time I was pregnant I was hesitant to express any joy about it, because I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was super focused on staying fit and healthy because I didn’t want to lose my ‘pre-pregnancy’ body, and I was cautiously optimistic about not being too sick. Towards the end of pregnancy I really started to enjoy the kicks and the feeling of carrying a life inside of me, so it wasn’t until I gave birth that I truly realized what had transpired.
I was so focused on pretending like everything was fine that I’m not sure I enjoyed it as much as I could have. It wasn’t until months after when I missed being pregnant, and wanted that feeling back. BUT- it wasn’t because I was out of the newborn stage and had ‘baby fever’, and it wasn’t to feel the kicks (well, maybe a little).
It was because being pregnant made me feel young.
Oh the irony of that statement. No ‘young’ person in their right mind could think being pregnant could make you feel young, but I bet a lot of older women would! Yes, some of that feeling is simply because of biology. The older we get the harder it is to conceive until eventually our period disappears and that stage of our life is over. But it’s more than that.
After you have your first child you go through sleepless nights, more hormonal and body changes, and the complete loss of yourself of a priority. In some ways, that is what youth is about; doing what you want to do, when you want to do it. Going out for dinner, drinking hot coffee, showering and most ‘adult’ activities become complete luxuries that have to be carefully plotted out weeks in advance. After you have a child you wonder what happened to your prior life, and you can barely remember what it was like to be young and carefree.
That’s one of the reasons being pregnant brings back that feeling of youth of me. Yes, there is the physical aspect of my body will still allow me to do this, I am young, I am fertile, I am a goddess (sure…). However, it also reminds you of the calm before the storm. When you are pregnant, you know there is a beautiful baby coming out the other side but you aren’t trapped to timed feedings and a breast pump to a wall. You can make yourself a priority. You give in to that extra slice of pizza or bowl of ice cream, and you can guiltlessly ask your husband for back rubs and to take you on a baby moon. You are creating a life, you are the priority, you are young.
I’m sure not every woman can relate to this sentiment as it took me awhile to get there too. I found myself being jealous of other women announcing pregnancies simply because I knew they were still young and had this whole unexpected adventure before them. Even now that I’ve done it once and know the stresses and headaches on the other side, I can appreciate the pregnancy process more and revel in the fact that there are only a few years left of my life where I can do this. While I am well aware that pregnancy is not always the most perfect time and that raising children is it’s own can of worms, I am choosing to focus on the positive for the time being and enjoy my pregnancy for the short-lived time that it is in my life.