Thursday, August 6, 2009

Postpartum 0-3 months: Pregnancy Nostalgia

So since this blog has primarily been about my journey through pregnancy, I suppose it is fitting that, even three months postpartum, I can still post about pregnancy! No, I am not pregnant again (no intention of that any time soon), but my emotions are still clearly linked with the idea of being pregnant.

First, I should say, I am completely in love with my baby. It really is true that a mom loves her child more and more every day. I ache when I am away from him. I look forward to nursing him, I am in bliss when I see his smile, and I can't get enough of his baby sounds and baby giggles. He is turning pages in books, he's been rolling over for months, standing and lifting his neck since the day he was born, singing, playing in the pool, still hiccuping, still crying, still cuddling. I have so much love for him that probably only other parents can comprehend.


That is not to say I haven't felt other emotions. And while I may get into more of them in another post, for now, I'll focus on my feelings toward pregnancy.

As you all know, I loved being pregnant. I posted about it, I relished my belly, I took many pictures of my pregnancy body, I savored every moment that I could--I was not ready to end my pregnancy. When my water broke a week early, my first reaction was, "You've got to be kidding me. Now? Ugh." I wanted my last week. If I had had my last week, perhaps I would have gotten to that state most women talk about--the time when you are ready to get the baby out of you, ready to be rid of acid reflux and backaches and finally meet your baby. Perhaps. However, most likely, if I had another week, I still would not have been ready to part with my pregnancy. More of a good thing doesn't necessarily make you want to end that good thing.

While I was in the hospital with our baby, my emotions were completely tied to my little son. I was not thinking of being pregnant, but merely focusing on the present. I was emotional when it came to the baby, but this was no surprise.

What was a surprise was my emotional state when Mike and I first sat down in the car on the way home from the hospital.

We open the car doors and I see a towel in the passenger seat. The towel I had placed there at 3am, when leaving the apartment after my water had broken, "just in case." As Mike pulls the car out of the parking lot, my throat tightens up. My mind recalls the excitement of the start of labor. The quietness of the apartment we left in the middle of the night. The rain we encountered as we drove to the place of our baby's birth.

And then, I start to cry. And I mean, really cry. And I am not a big crier. Mike tries to comfort me, but he doesn't know how, and honestly, I don't know how to tell him to comfort me. I don't even know why I am crying. Granted, I know I have barely slept for days, I have a new set of hormones since I am breastfeeding, my life has changed forever, and I am now in one of the biggest roles I will have throughout my life. All these things can make any new mom cry. But these thoughts do not appear to be my triggers.

When we arrive at home, I see towels heaped together from when I took my shower before we left for the hospital. I see the wedge I used to support my belly in bed. I see my prenatal vitamins and dha. I see the baby bottle we used to write notes in to our womb baby. When we take our baby to the pediatrician's, I see my OB's office on the way. And these things all make me cry. I miss being pregnant. I miss it so badly that it hurts. I feel as though the love of my life ended our relationship and I am heartbroken.

I am overly sensitive to things Mike says, and when I cry or tell him how he has hurt my feelings, he gets defensive and short with me, and it makes me cry more. He doesn't know how to deal with an emotional Me. I tell him to bear with me and be kind to me because I don't know why I am crying and I do not feel like myself at all. He says he will try, but he is not used to this. He and I both escaped my pregnancy without dealing with an emotional hormonal woman. I felt like myself up until the end and it is not until now that I understand what some women may have been dealing with for nine months.

I pray to God to end this phase of my emotions quickly. I tell my friend that I do not like how I feel when I am reminded of being pregnant. My friends who have had babies tell me this will pass. That everyone is emotional at first, even if not in the same way. They liken my sentiment to the feeling of preparing for a wedding, then when the wedding is over and the marriage has begun. You are happy to be married, but all the planning and excitement of getting married is over, and so there is naturally a letdown. The day after Christmas.

I comfort myself in knowing this is just a phase. As with the end of a relationship, there is a time of sadness, but you always know that things will get better with time, and eventually, you will find someone else who you will love even more. I know I will eventually stop feeling this pain remembering the joy of pregnancy, but for now, it hurts.

Three months later...

I can say that time and God do work wonders for pain. I no longer feel out of control with my emotions and I do feel like myself again. I am well passed the crying-out-of-the-blue stage. I am reasonable with Mike once again and I am all around happy. I have always loved being a mom to my baby, but the joys I find each day continue to grow and grow. I am socially busy most weekends and many weekdays. Mike and I have dates out to movies and dinner; I attend a rehearsal and production of the theatre class I taught; we go to parties and events with our son (and he does well!); we take a family vacation to Vermont. We thank God every day for giving us a healthy, happy, strong, beautiful baby. I do not think or talk of being pregnant very much now.


When reminded, I do still miss being pregnant. The past few months I have seen the onslaught of my pregnant friends reach their last few weeks pre-baby. When my good friend enjoys her pregnancy, I am so utterly excited for her to have her baby. I talk to her often and when she tells me she thinks she is in labor, I feel overwhelmed with happiness for her. When other friends complain about their aches and discomfort in being pregnant, I crave to feel that irritating acid reflux again, for my lower back to ache, and for me to feel the baby "all up in my ribs" so that driving is uncomfortable. I still tear up when I see pregnant women walking in town and despite my friends' third trimester complaints, I can't help but think silently to myself, "But you are so lucky!"

Yes, evolution and God have worked well to program my body for procreation! I am glad that the logical part of my brain would not allow me to attempt to get pregnant for another year or two, because I am not ready to handle a toddler and infant quite yet. I also know that a second pregnancy cannot be like the first. I will have my hands full with an active boy. I will be in a different place. I will know what I am in for during the newborn months. And I may not have such an easy pregnancy as my first.

But for now, thinking of my pregnant hard belly, the kicks and movements felt in my uterus, the special honor of exclusively housing a tiny life for nine months, the excitement of waiting to meet my baby--my eyes do still mist up. But now, thinking of those precious memories, through my misty eyes, I smile as well.