When life throws you lemons, thank it for the snack

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Before anyone rails against this post and points out any holes in my sentiment I will come forward and make some of your arguments for you. 1) I only have one child, so I "wouldn't know what it's like to keep getting pregnant", etc., or what it was like to deal with a toddler while carrying a baby on my hip. 2) My pregnancy was not riddled with illness or pain. I had morning sickness for maybe two days. I got heart-burn in my 7th or 8th month, but that was about it. I wasn't even fully aware that the sensations I was feeling around my due date were contractions at the time because they felt like mild cramps. So, no, I can't speak for hard pregnancies or hard labor. 3) My daughter was born when I was 22 years old, so I don't have direct experience with either a teen pregnancy or a late-life pregnancy. 4) I never showed. Almost no one knew or could tell I was pregnant unless I told them; I only told a few people who I felt needed to know, like my teachers as my due date came near and my parents. Therefore, I never had to deal with embarrassing questions or looks. 5) Because of complications my daughter was born via cesarean, so I never got to experience "natural" childbirth with all of the pain and craziness most people think about.

Okay, so in the "my life sucks" game, I don't get very many points for my pregnancy or child-birth experiences. I could pull out other cards to gain some life-suck points. a) I was (and always have been) obese during the pregnancy so my doctors did judge me and expect me to come down with all kinds of illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. b) I did not have insurance to cover me as I was not married, though engaged, at the time I became pregnant [we were married before our daughter was born]. c) I was finishing my first master's degree and working on my second master's degree during my pregnancy, while working on my internship. d) My husband was also working on his bachelor's degree at the same time, so money was not readily available, though we did manage. No, I don't get too many life-suck points. I don't really want them, either. I stopped playing that game a long time ago when I met people who insisted on playing to win and I realized that the "prize" was not something I wanted.

What I want to say with this post is, even though I did not have too many problems during my pregnancy, I would still do it all over again. I have heard many people--men and women, but mostly women--say that if women only knew all the "stuff" (often a stronger word is used) that they had to go through during pregnancy, then they would never have sex. Sorry, this is grade-A bull flop. Millions of women, fully aware of the consequences of coitus, still engage in sexual behavior every day. Some don't think too consciously about the consequences, some just don't care. Sex, especially in a loving relationship, has too great an emotional and physical draw to abandon all together. For me, I knew full well of possibilities and consequences. That didn't stop me and I have no regrets. Physical sensations were not even the greatest reward for me. My daughter is. I would go through Hell and back, suffer anything possible, even bad sex, in order to bring her into this world alive and well. I gave up caffeine for her, which was the hardest thing for a grad-student with a full load and a job to do. I don't smoke or drink or do drugs, so there was no worry there. I had to be more careful with my diet, which is never easy for someone who has always been overweight. I did feel like a failure as a woman when they told me they had to perform a c-section, but I didn't care when I heard my beautiful little girl cry for the first time. As we weren't married yet, I knew that there might be repercussions, looks, judgements, etc. for me if I gave birth. I knew that there was a possibility that I might have become a single mother. I knew that there was a chance that I might have had to postpone my second masters degree. However, terminating the pregnancy or giving up my baby for adoption was NEVER!!! an option for me. I chose to deal with anything I had to in order to bring her into this world and care for her for the rest of my life.

I have never told my daughter about my pregnancy in any way to incite guilt for her existence. I would never tell her that my life would be easier or more glamorous or that I'd have more money if I didn't have her. I just can't bring myself to believe that. I find I have a hard time understanding a mother who tells her child "I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it!" when she gets angry at them. I also shake my head at the mother who uses the circumstances of her pregnancy and/or childbirth (e.g. "I was in labor for 36 hours and you can't even wash the dishes for me?!") to guilt their child into something. I don't get angry at my daughter. I get angry at the results of some of her behaviors. I get frustrated with things that she does or doesn't do. I become upset sometimes with things that are said or done. But I am never mad or disappointed with her. I love my daughter more than anything. I cannot imagine a world without her. When I give up my time or my money or anything else for her, I don't do it begrudgingly, but with my whole heart. I do spend most of my non-work time either with my daughter or doing things for her. I do spend just about every free, non-debt associated penny I have on her. However, it's not because I "have to" but, rather, because I genuinely want to. I want her as the center of my life. If that means that my life dreams have to wait until she is older and doesn't need me as much, then so be it. I don't see it as a phony martyr self-sacrifice. It's a choice that I willingly made with my full commitment behind it.

I have not forgotten my husband. Sometimes he does take a back seat to my daughter's needs and I do feel guilty for that. However, I still have her very first (his is the first-and-a-half position, not second, but not quite at first) in my heart. I know I don't always show her that. This is where I tend to fail as a mother. That doesn't change the fact, though. And yes, I believe I would feel the exact same way, and maybe even more so, if I had the most complicated and painful pregnancy every known to humanity. Motherhood for me is not a duty, an obligation, a chore, something I have to do or deal with. It is the most precious gift anyone can ever bestow upon me and I am exceedingly grateful that my daughter brought this gift to me.

1 comment:

  1. BTW, I'm not attempting to ride a high horse here or to sound sacrificial. God knows I can be selfish at times. I do like my "me time" just like everyone else. But she is always in the forefront of my preconscious even when she's not directly in my conscious.