100 Days: The Lighter Side of Things

This is part of my series 100 Days: Waiting for a Rainbow. 

One of the big drawbacks of these seemingly unending hormone shots are the cruel tricks they play on my emotions. I’ve stood in the kitchen and sobbed over a dirty counter top. I’ve yelled angry words at irresponsible drivers. I’ve written blog posts about how angry I am about everything. I’ve laid awake at night and cried because I was so tired and emotional I didn’t know what else to do. My last post was written about 24 hours prior to receiving my weekly injection, and boy oh boy can you tell! Not that the thoughts and feelings I expressed were untrue or misleading. They’re just… hormonally expressed (meaning, for me, irrational bordering on the insane).

The frightening (and retrospectively funny) thing about hormotions (those emotions you feel when your hormones are crazy) is how the tiny 1% of your brain that is still rational and unaffected by hormones is shouting at the top of its little voice that the raging thoughts, emotions, tears, and curse words are all not real. But the other 99% of you neither cares nor understands. It seems pathetically unfair that I get the double-whammy of being pregnant (hello hormones) while working through the grief process of a pregnancy-after-loss (hello crazy emotions). And then I get to top it off with a cocktail of progesterone (hello more hormones) and castor oil injected into my ever-expanding backside (yeah, more crazy emotions).

So, since I ranted and raved earlier this week, I thought maybe I could bring a little balance to the Force by lightening things up with a few funny stories.

Of course, these stories will probably convince you that my title “the lighter side” is utterly inappropriate, and should be renamed “the beluga whale side.” Since that isn’t a commonly used phrase referring to things that will (hopefully) make you chuckle, perhaps instead you can appreciate the irony of the “lighter side” being about my ever increasing size.

I knew I was in for a long road to delivery when, last spring, I walked into my parents’ house and my mother took one look at me. Her eyes went about as big as dinner plates and she just shook her head and said “Oh… honey…” Right then, I should have girded my loins for months of comments about my size. But really…. things are out of hand.

Not long ago I posted on Facebook that there were certain things that just shouldn’t be said to pregnant women; there seemed to be a large cadre of newer moms who couldn’t agree more. Here are some of the things I’ve been hearing recently, mostly from the well-meaning and interested elderly ladies I see on a daily basis. I’m not offended, just wondering how I can audition for the role of Barbara Manatee in the next Veggie Tales movie.

I’ve been asked if I’m due in July. July, people. That’s like…. now. It’s also like, months before my actual due date. I mean, by all means, ask when I’m due. But don’t just assume it’s, you know, next week. Also don’t get that horrified look on your face when I tell you I have 8 weeks to go. Because my secret is I actually have 11 weeks to my due date – and if I told you that, you’d have already used up all your horrified looks.

I’ve been asked if I’m sure I’m not having twins. Why, yes, I am sure. Because 6,000 ultrasounds later, I’m sure I’m not having twins. Unless I’m giving birth to one normal child and either A) The Invisible Man, B) the world’s first and unmistakably talented ninja, or C) the first Hogwarts student, class of 2032, who has already perfected (in utero) an invisibility charm.

I’ve been told (twice) (today), it would be hilarious if I actually was having SURPRISE TWINS. Yup. Hilarious. The only thing that could be more hilarious would be if I had to give birth naturally. It would also be hilarious if I needed seconds of everything I’ve already purchased. I would laugh until I cried – which, given the state of my hormones on any given day, really isn’t out of the ordinary.

Just yesterday I was asked if I had names picked out for…. wait for it…. TRIPLETS. Triplets. Come on people! TRIPLETS?!?! For once I was alert enough I was able to quickly respond, “Why, yes, Huey, Dewey and Louie.” At least I got a chuckle out of that response. Seriously. Triplets. Its just sad.

This tiny little lady told me the other day that I shouldn’t worry about how big I am, because she, too, gained FIFTY POUNDS in her pregnancy. I really don’t care how much weight someone puts on when she’s pregnant – that’s up to her and her doctor. It was that casual little “TOO” that got me. Like clearly I’d already gained enough weight to give birth to a toddler.

The other day someone asked how much longer I had, I responded “8 weeks.” Not everyone I’m around all the time has very good hearing, and so the response I got was “Oh, next week!” For the love of Pete! Not next week! My belly button hasn’t even popped yet. There’s no way this little guy is done cooking.

Yesterday I chopped about 6 inches off my hair. Something you’d think would be mildly notable. A co-worked I hadn’t seen in a couple of weeks stopped me this morning with “OH MY GOODNESS!” And here I am, naively thinking she’s reaching out to touch my new ‘do. Nope. She’s reaching for my stomach. And squealing, “It’s only been two weeks and look at you! You’re….” She wasn’t sure of the right word to say, so I  helpfully filled in, “Huge.” She didn’t disagree. In fact, hardly anyone has noticed my hair, but the gigantic-ness of my midsection has everyone’s rapt attention. Although I get it, I really do. For heaven’s sake, I saw my shadow while I was walking into work today, and I suddenly understood the groundhog’s fear – I mean…. we’re talking epic proportions here.

Especially when I’m grumpy (hormotional, not sleeping, worried, feeling guilty about the second helping of potatoes, or tired of seeing the numbers go up on the scale), it’s easy for these well-meaning and off-hand comments to be a bit hurtful. We live in a society that loves skinny women. We live in a society that is concerned about thigh-gaps and lanky elbows and actually being able to SEE your toes (never no mind reaching them). Us pregnant women, no matter how self-confident we are, can’t help being a bit unnerved when the first thing anyone notices or comments about is our weight. I’m unsure why it is culturally acceptable to comment on a pregnant woman’s weight, when you wouldn’t dream of saying something to a not-pregnant women. Aren’t there a million baby things to talk about that don’t involve my girth?

However on days like today, now this week’s progesterone has settled in my system and I’m already chuckling because this kiddo has clearly painted a bulls-eye about one inch to the right of my belly-button which he is using for target practice about once an hour, it all makes me laugh a bit. I saw a good friend this morning who I only see once or twice a year. He and his wife have counseled and prayed with us through all sorts of things, and remember us often in prayer, even when we’re half a continent away. He hadn’t seen me since… well.. girth…. and when he saw me, he burst out laughing in pure joy. And I confess his joy was contagious. It is hilariously joyful that I’m slowly growing to the size of a hippopotamus. It is laugh-until-you-cry joyful. Mostly because I know what the alternative is. I know what it’s like to WISH you were the size of a cruise ship. I know what it’s like to WISH  your feet would swell a little and your face was round and your hips hurt and you hadn’t slept in days because you can’t get comfortable.

So I’m going to sit here and enjoy the process as I progress from the waddle stage to the whale stage. It doesn’t mean that when my mood swings the opposite direction I won’t be wishing for something to wear that doesn’t resemble a circus tent. It also doesn’t mean I’m going to have a second bowl of ice cream because I’m already huge. It does mean, however, that I’m just going to enjoy being whatever size I am. Because who knows if I’ll ever be this size again? Who knows if I’ll still be this size tomorrow? Gratitude comes in the strangest places, and today its in  the funny looks I get because no one can believe this baby won’t be here for 7 more weeks!

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