I have a lot more to say about pregnancy, and the overwhelming anxiety of pending parenthood, especially at our advanced age. Things I feel that aren't spoken of widely or honestly enough, even if they're becoming more acceptable in some circles. They are still truths largely downplayed, or even shunned.
It's like so many are just waiting for someone else to give us permission to speak our genuine feelings. And the relief that comes from saying what you really feel — whatever the topic — and knowing that you're heard, and even understood, is palpable.
Many women who'd probably like to discuss these issues don't come forth until someone else opens the door. Someone has to break that ice first — I saw it countless times during my pregnancy. For example, in my aqua-natal class, everyone wore that, "I'm so pleased to be growing life inside me, nothing could take this smile from my face" look, but when I casually mentioned to a classmate how being in the water was the only time I wasn't 100% miserable during pregnancy, she suddenly spewed forth her fervent agreement like a hose that had been unkinked. But you'd never have guessed by her behaviour up to that point that she "hated being pregnant," which were her words said seconds later.
It's like so many are just waiting for someone else to give us permission to speak our genuine feelings. And the relief that comes from saying what you really feel — whatever the topic — knowing that you aren't being judged by your audience, that you're heard, and even understood, is palpable.
It hurts my heart to think women don't feel allowed to have these thoughts, or these conversations. If you're one of them, please find me on Twitter and I'll listen. I promise.
But now, thank God, oh, thank God, I'm no longer pregnant.
On 24 September 2019, via as smooth and easy a c-section as possible, I gave birth to our healthy and adorable daughter, Luma. She has changed my world already, and at 2 weeks old she's powerful enough to make me see and feel things I never thought possible. It still feels incredibly impractical to be doing this at this stage of our lives, especially when I still feel like I haven't gotten my *destiny* (for lack of a better word or phrase) together.
I've been working so hard for 8 years at getting a literary agent and having someone take my work seriously — as seriously as I take it, or at least seriously at all. And to have this dream seemingly interrupted by a little person to take care of, a horrible voice inside has been trying to tell me for months that my chance is gone, and I and my dreams no longer matter.
Now that she's here, I feel like my dreams are more important than ever.
I know this isn't true. In fact, now that she's here, I feel like my dreams and goal of becoming a published, career author (I've never fantasized about some impossible windfall or lucrative best-selling status; I just want my books to reach their readers, who I believe with all my heart are out there, somewhere) are more important than ever. Maybe it's selfish — maybe it's because I want to prove myself now not just to myself and the world, to all my past lecturers and teachers, to my family and supporters, and any naysayers — maybe I also want to prove myself to my daughter. But I don't know if it's selfish or not. I feel like it's not just about reaching this goal for me now, but to show her that determination and drive and persistence do pay off, and believing does matter, and does have a purpose.
Or maybe that's just me trying to make it sound loftier than it is — I don't know ... I am ridiculously sleep-deprived at the moment.
It's hard to go from near incapacity during my third trimester to having to be ON and alert and hyper-focused and intensely vigilant at all times about this little person we've been entrusted with, with only one day in the middle where hospital staff looked after me. It's an odd transition: Can barely move/can barely get myself to the bathroom or make myself a meal --> one day of healing in a hospital bed --> RED ALERT!!! THERE IS A NEWBORN IN THE HOUSE!!! ALL HANDS ON DECK!
But we're coping, and we love her completely. So as absolutely horrendous as my pregnancy was for me, I'm unspeakably thankful that she is healthy, and she is here. She is the sweetest thing I've ever seen. I can say with first-hand knowledge now that yes, everyone was right who said it would be worth it in the end.
But to all those who said, "You'll forget all the pain and discomfort the moment she's born, and you'll quickly want to do it again," you're all on crack. We have her, we don't need anyone else. And my body's basically all, "Haha no, we good."
So. I'm ecstatic to no longer be pregnant and to never be pregnant again. My body is my own again. But I am grateful — and it's weird to say this given what I went through — that my body knew how to care for her even when it felt like it was hating me. I'm grateful for it all, grateful that stage is over, grateful she's here, and that she's teaching me already, day by day, how I'm now like a newborn myself. I'm still me — I worried endlessly that becoming a parent would turn me into some caricature, and some shadow, and take away what made me me. But I feel like I have new vision in a way I don't really understand yet. When I get a grip on it, I'll let you know.
For now, it's bedtime (for her, if not for me). <3