There is a time when most women go slightly crazy. Mine happened the decade I was in my twenties.
Newly married, VERY naïve, and in love with being in love--all of which led to a first pregnancy a year later.
I navigated between bed, couch, and bathroom for nine weeks, lost ten pounds, and thought things would never be the same.
“Don’t worry,” Dr. O’Rourke assured my husband, “she’s just depressed.”
His recommendation was that I should force myself to get up and get going to put the experience into perspective. In between bouts of vomiting, I informed my husband to invite the doctor over for twenty-four hours so I could put HIM into perspective.
My teenaged brother-in-law came over to assist while my husband went to work, tempting me with all kinds of concoctions, most of which sounded and looked and tasted good. Two swallows--and my stomach rejected whatever I ingested.
“I never saw anything like it, man—a couple of bites, and she’s gone! Why do they call it ‘morning sickness’, anyway? It lasts all through lunch and supper and then starts all over again the next day,” he complained to my husband, a question I had asked frequently.
Feeling somewhat better by the second trimester, I began to see light at the end of the tunnel, finally able to “get up and get going”. Then came planning the nursery, shopping for baby, baby showers, picking out names for each possible gender (no ultrasounds were taken back then) and attending pre-natal and birthing classes. I read every book I could get my hands on about labor and delivery, practiced breathing techniques until I was blue in the face (literally), and psyched myself up for a well-planned and timely hospital experience.
We had been told that first babies were rarely born on the exact due date, so we put off painting the nursery until then, thinking that we might need some distraction at that time. BIG mistake. Our firstborn wanted out one day before my due date, which ultimately meant that Papa had to finish the nursery while Mama and Baby were bonding in the hospital.
After the first few hours of labor, I was ready to strangle the authors of all those books I had studied (or anyone else within reach) discovering that I was one of those people who had a low threshold for pain. By hour six, I scrapped our original thoughts on having a large family and resolved myself to our baby being an only child. How in the world my mother went through this whole process FIVE times and was still alive to tell about it, was beyond my comprehension.
An hour later, our precious baby arrived! Miraculously, the ordeal was over and I had the most beautiful baby in the universe lying on my (much flatter) tummy! This euphoria was soon replaced by sleep deprivation, breastfeeding challenges, and the “baby blues”. All of these, though, eventually were surpassed by our baby’s gurgles, smiles, coos and cuddles.
All too soon, as babies do, our sweet princess grew into an independent toddler. We began looking back on her earliest days with yearning and nostalgia.
Hence, pregnancy Number Two . . . And two years later, pregnancy Number Three.
Recently, my 12-week pregnant-for-the-first-time daughter-in-law accused me of being “nuts”.
“Don’t tell me this gets worse, because if it does, I just KNOW I’m going to DIE! I hate this emotional see-saw, the nausea and my expanding belly. How COULD you put yourself through it more than once? Women have to be CRAZY to keep doing this! Well, I’m not going to be one of them. I’ve already told your son that if he wants this baby to have any siblings, we will be adopting,” sounding very much like a conversation I had with MY mother forty years ago.
“Honey, you WILL get through this. It’s just temporary. You’ll see it from a different perspective in a year or two. Trust me—I’ve been there.”
Somehow I was not getting through to her.
“But, WHY didn’t my mom or you tell me how it would be?”
“Because your experience might have been different from ours and we wouldn’t want you to feel discouraged or get the mindset that it would be a certain way for you . . .” I stopped in mid-sentence as the full impact of my inner thoughts came to the forefront:
“And, because we want grandchildren,” I silently added.
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