As much as I tried to hide it, I could feel my eyes gloss over into a cold stare. Did she really just say that? Here I was, in the throws of that lovely nausea that accompanies growing a child. I had spent a good 10 minutes that morning staring into my closet at clothes that already didn’t fit my growing tummy and behind, and here this lady stood in front of me, boasting of how much she loved being pregnant. I held back any snappy remarks about her memory failing her and just decided to smile, even though I was sure my eyes were deceiving me.
I don’t particularly enjoy being pregnant. I don’t find it “fun” to stare at my breakfast waiting for that first bite to send me at a sprint to the bathroom. I dislike feeling my jeans, the ones that used to be baggy, bursting at the buttons. The constant uncomfortableness, the sleeplessness, the waking up three times to find my way to the toilet. The waddling down the stairs, the “baby brain,” the endless doctor visits.
I don’t look to delivery with gleeful anticipation. In fact, I have nightmares about it when I’m not even pregnant. After our third baby was born, my second “all natural” delivery, I can remember my sister, three months away from having her second, coming to meet her nephew. The minute she walked through the door my eyes locked with hers and I pleaded with her, “Whatever you do, just GET the epidural!” Because, let’s face it, bringing that sweet bundle into the world is no picnic.
“I loved being pregnant! It was SO fun!” Surely she was joking. I half wanted to pull up my pant leg and show her my varicose veined calf to bring her back to sanity. Or maybe just tell her how if it hadn’t been for the wonders of modern medicine I would have died following our third child’s birth.
Instead, I decided to spare her the goriness of my varicose-y legs and try to read between the lines. Surely what she meant was:
“Pregnancy was a sacrifice. It wasn’t all easy, it wasn’t all enjoyable. But my goodness, I brought a baby into this world! A real, wrinkly, squinty, slimy, bloody, hungry, needy, pint-sized human being. And that experience, as horrifying, as frustrating, as incredibly hard, as NOT FUN as it was, it was worth it. It was truly AMAZING.”
Yes. I’m sure that’s what she meant.
Motherhood, from those first nauseating weeks to the waddling, waiting ninth month, from that first time nursing that tiny baby to loading up their cars and sending them away to college, is not always fun. Of course there are plenty of moments, countless days, of real, honest-to-goodness “fun.” But it may not be something you love every second. By golly, those temper tantrums get old fast. The grimy hands on the walls, the stepping on Legos, the last-minute homework assignments, the waiting up when they’re home late from a date with a girl you may or may not be head-over-heals about. But the things that try us, that push us, that we work harder at than anything, those are the things that are worth it. Parenting isn’t always fun. It’s not always enjoyable. But it is, without a doubt, unquestionably, truly amazing.