While creating a human being is miraculous and my first pregnancy was filled with wonder, the next two times had some pretty un-magical parts as my body expressed its displeasure about having to endure the process over again. I’m not sure if other moms withhold these tidbits because it’s not really fodder for conversation or whether it’s just viewed as a rite of passage: You want more than one kid, this is the price. In any case, I think everyone benefits when we start talking about things that are uncomfortable or embarrassing. Let’s tear down those walls of silence and make being a mother more real. So here goes. Be prepared mamas, it’s not pretty.
The exhaustion: Everyone knows that pregnancy, especially the first trimester, is completely exhausting. What you don’t take into account the second time around is how you will need to take care of another little person day and night. Unlike the first time, there are no midday naps. No early bedtimes. No downtime to put your feet up. And forget a good night’s sleep, you never get those back. I’ve spoken to other moms and we agree that if there’s a time when you can let go of the TV guilt, it’s when you’re pregnant. One mom called her first trimester that Treehouse Trimester because that’s how she got through it. When your kids are young, there are some days when success is simply a matter of whether they’re fed, bathed and safely tucked into bed when the sun goes down.
The gas: My god, the gas. You never really know when it’s going to come out, where it’s coming from, if it’s going to be noisy and whether you’re going to have to blame the dog for eating something that died outside because of how bad it smells. And it gets worse with each pregnancy. I stopped apologizing during my third one and just started shrugging my shoulders.
The hamburger crotch: Basically, your nether region becomes a large gruesome caricature of what it once was. Imagine a hamburger with two buns sandwiching a bee stung patty and you’ll understand both what it looks like and why it’s so named. I don’t know if everyone gets this, so you may be in luck. Mine came at the end of my second pregnancy and then came back with a vengeance early on in my third one. I chose not to show or discuss this lovely change with my husband. It’s something that can’t be unseen and I wanted to keep as much of THAT magic alive as I could despite what he’d see during each birth.
The incontinence: During my last pregnancy I had to cross my legs and clench whenever I felt a sneeze coming on. I also couldn’t go faster than a quick walk without risking a waterfall which is problematic with a toddler on the loose. Incontinence is one thing that doesn’t go away, it just gets better after there’s no baby pushing on every bit of your insides. I still cross my legs for sneezes and as long as I have a relatively empty bladder I’m able to run long enough to catch a kid.
I’ve made a lot of things in my life and so far nothing tops making a person from scratch. I know that I am extremely fortunate to be able to get pregnant and have three healthy, beautiful babies and I’m happy to trade lifelong incontinence to have my little people. Although… I might feel differently if it was the hamburger crotch that never went away 😉
Tell me, did I forget any other un-magical part of creating a new human being? It’s very likely I’ve blocked out other the ones!