Almost without thinking, I responded “In the midst of my first pregnancy right now...which I can honestly say is pretty terrifying!”
How can this be?! I am a person who travels alone in far off lands, jumps out of planes, hang glides in the Alps, & flew helicopters in the army for 7 years. But a BABY?! How on earth could a tiny still-not-fully-formed human fill me with such terror?! Not the easiest thing in the world to admit, even to myself, since literally BILLIONS of people before me have done this whole pregnancy thing...and most of them survived. But it’s true.
I am terrified.
So far, pregnancy has not been the peachy, glowing experience I thought it would be. I’m not sure why I delusionally thought that because I was pretty healthy & took care of myself going into this thing that I would have it easy. But boy...has that NOT been the case.
What the hell have I gotten myself into?
I’m a newlywed...shouldn’t I be having lots of sex & enjoying settling into life with my new husband? While my uncontrollable gas is quite musical & occasionally makes us chuckle (mostly because it always seems to catch me by surprise that my body can make such ridiculous, unexpected noises), the height of romance is not achieved by accidentally farting on your husband while he tries to lovingly give you a foot massage.
Also, Universe...I know you gave us an epic love story that is literally one in a million & a wedding held at a castle in a far-off, exotic land with the people we love most in life there for a whole week to bond in ways we could not imagine...but can you cut us a friggin’ break with all the other neat stuff you’ve sent our way?
Especially since my poor husband is STILL looking for a job. And I wasn’t able to work for 5 months (and can’t travel now, which for what I do basically means, no work). And babies ain’t cheap. I mean, seriously. Have I mentioned I have had the thought more than once, “What the hell have I gotten myself into?”
And on top of all that, I keep waiting for the magical moment when I feel a special bond with the baby. “Oh, it kicked! That felt like magic wrapped in fairy kisses!”
But that hasn’t happened.
Mostly it just feels like there is a very expensive alien growing inside of me that has co-opted my body & somehow sucked me dry of all the pieces of me I knew & loved (you know...the productive bits that never missed a spin class, had energy to keep the house clean, & did silly little things like work and make money), & replaced them with a gassy, constipated, nauseous woman who waddles instead of walks, takes 5 different medications daily to combat the side effects of pregnancy, and longs for a decent night’s sleep. Just one decent night..
Thankfully, I have a friend in town who INSISTED I watch “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” last night. Friends are smart. I am glad I picked good ones.
After chuckling about the different kinds of pregnancies portrayed in the movie, I really resonated with the character who had the worst pregnancy. All she wanted was the damn glow she’d been dreaming of. But that was NOT the pregnancy she got. Instead she had most of my horrid symptoms (poor woman) & ends up going on a rant about it while on stage while speaking that gets caught on video & goes viral. Oops. (Side note: Maybe i should be glad I had to stop training & speaking before I caused my own viral tirade! Haha!)
But in the end, when the baby is in this character’s arms, she looks at her husband & says, “I finally found my glow.”
Enter pregnancy hormones & my teary-eyed hope that this is what happens for me when the doctor finally puts the baby in my arms.
Because despite the fact I feel like my uterus has been invaded by an alien and I am not feeling the magic wrapped in fairy kisses that I thought I was supposed to feel...I do understand the miracle-like nature of all that is happening. I am in awe of my body & what it is able to do to accommodate said alien. Pretty incredible really. In fact, despite not feeling my best, I have still managed to drag myself to quite a few spin classes, several weight training sessions, on a lot of long walks, jogged one 5k “turkey trot,” & even completed one indoor triathlon at 27 weeks pregnant. Not so bad for a girl who isn’t feeling so hot 98% of the day.
I guess all of this is proof I am human. Even though I may try to wrap myself in a cape & tiara most days to overcome it. The truth is...we all are. Not one of us is immune to the ups & downs of life. Some of us are just better at celebrating the ups & laughing our way through the downs. Which is why I guess I should thank my musical farts & newest editions of epicly bad poop stories...because despite the embarrassment, oh have they made me laugh.
So here’s to being human. Fear and all. My greatest hope is that I leave this planet with no emotion left un-experienced.
Thank you pregnancy for giving me 37 new ones I never knew existed.
Now if you’ll excuse me, 3 medications & an afternoon nap await.
This post brought to you by Leslie Riley (formerly known as Leslie Stein) & the tiny human in her belly who is already one of her greatest teachers.