“I Miss My Ass” OR “10 Lessons I’ve Learned From Being Pregnant”

This post is dedicated to my friend Alice.

1) I miss my ass. When my husband and I first started dating he told me that my ass was my nicest feature. At the time, I thought, what a jerk! What about my face!? But then it occurred to me: Maybe my ass is really nice. Well, I never thought of myself as a particularly vain human being, but I have come to realize that I AM. I care what I look like. And I am very sorry to have taken my assets for granted. Because, let me tell you ladies, when you get pregnant, your body changes in ways you cannot control, your bones loosen and things like your ribs and pelvis change shape. And yes, your ass changes shape, doing horrible things like grower wider and flatter.

2) Pregnancy is not a synonym for glowing-happy-bubble-unicorn-time. I have always wanted to have kids and figured that I’d be over the moon when it happened to me. But, when I found out I was pregnant, my first thought, I am ashamed to say was, that my life was over. And, I guess in a way it was, that is, my life as I knew it IS going to change. I was shocked, I was terrified, I needed time to adjust to the idea. Was I happy? Hell, no. There has definitely been lots of crying due to hormones, guilt at not being more accomplished at this stage in my life, fear of giving up my dreams. But of course I didn’t want to let anyone know that I was a complete and utter ingrate. There are so many people trying their damndest to get pregnant and I was lucky enough to have practically sneezed and gotten knocked up. And… holy shit. I’m pregnant. But then you can get up off the floor, wipe your face off and realize, oh wait, my life isn’t over. It hasn’t stopped, I’m still auditioning, directing, writing, producing. Yes it’s complicated for now, and yes there are some limitations, but no, life doesn’t end and yes I can still pursue a career.

3) Maternity jeans are the most comfortable pants EVER. All pants should have an elastic waist band. Enough said.

4) Naps are good. I have never been a napper. My mother will tell you, to her chagrin, I refused to take naps starting at age 3 because I was too much of a curious busy-body and through sheer will-power would stay awake. I would try every so often, in my adulthood, to take a disco nap, but I’d never fall asleep and end up feeling more tired than before. Or if I did nap, I’d wake up and feel completely discombobulated. Nothing prepared me for the flat-out-tiredness that I’d experience beginning in my 1st trimester. Naps became a physical necessity. (On one occasion, I even took a nap on my husband’s shoulder in the 4th quarter of a closely contested Laker’s game at Staples Center.) Now, after each nap, I wake up and feel like I can take on the rest of the day. But they’ve also made me appreciate having a full, busy life. I like being busy. I thrive on it. The quality of work that I do is better when I have several plates spinning in the air. It’s great to keep an identity and a career going. But I’m thankful for naps. They are wonderful. Why couldn’t I do it before?

5) Getting congratulated takes some getting used to. I’m not always the best at receiving compliments. My impulse is to deflect and self-efface. And then you get pregnant and you get congratulated right and left. And it’s really weird. Because, all you did, really, was have sex. But I guess it’s a miracle that your sperm and egg got together? I don’t know, it took some time for me to get used to this one. Friends and family would congratulate us and I would nod, smile, and say thank you, and feel slightly like a robot learning about emotions for the first time, “OH, right, this is a happy time, am I happy? Should this make me happy? I think I’m happy?” Honestly, it just felt surreal for a really long time. And then slowly, you get used to the idea that you are having a baby and that’s awesome. Of course there are days that you get terrified and overwhelmed: “OMG I’m going to be responsible for a whole other person!”

6) Oh…sex. I love my husband. We enjoy each other’s company. I’m attracted to him. It’s why we got married in the first place. And we haven’t been married very long. Well, when you get pregnant, in the first few months you feel too sick to get jiggy with it. After a few months you feel better but now there’s this bump that moves independently of your body. It’s distracting. You feel fat. And then in a few months baby starts moving around and your husband can feel it on the outside and he says, “This isn’t the threesome I envisioned.” And that’s pretty much the end of that. It’s just too weird. Besides, you just don’t have the physical freedom to get in the right positions. And it’s really too bad because now would be the perfect time to have as much sex as you want since you can’t get pregnant.

7) Your baby moves/ you find out the sex/ you see an ultrasound when it looks like a real baby and not just a shrimp shape and IT’S REAL. At some point the surreal-ness becomes real and instead of thinking, “holy shit, I’m pregnant”, you think, “WOW, I’m pregnant, this is a freakin’ MIRACLE. There’s a person inside my body. What’s he gonna look like? What’s he gonna be like?  I’m really, well, HAPPY about this.” And now I’m completely obsessed with looking at baby stuff.  I’m really looking forward to meeting my son and I’m gonna cry my face off when I do. (I hope his personality doesn’t suck.)

8) I finally have boobs, and NO you can’t touch them. I’ve always been pretty flat-chested and wished forever that I’d have a latent puberty when they would magically grow. Didn’t happen. EXCEPT when I got pregnant they DID grow. Except they do NOT want to be touched. That’s all I have to say about that.

9) My friends and family are awesome. You really find out what kind of support system you have when you get pregnant. And yes, sometimes they are a little too in-your-face but they are there for you, ready and eager to help in any way they can. My child is really lucky.

10) Moving slower isn’t such a bad thing. When I moved to New York City at the age of 17 to attend NYU, I felt like I had finally come home. I loved everything about the city: the pace, the lights, the independence, the variety, the culture, the everything. I was finally in a place where no one accused me of walking too fast. In my LA life, I still move at a NYC-pace: I drive fast, I multi-task, I like doing lots of different things. But when you get pregnant, you just physically can’t move as quickly as you once did. You have to take naps, you’re a little clumsier, you are heavier, you take smaller steps and you just have to move slower in thought and action. But then you notice a lot more things and appreciate what patience means. You learn to be patient with yourself, to get used to this new way of being, and you learn to be patient with the outside world. I find my road-rage has subsided and I’m actually enjoying driving the speed limit. You realize that perhaps this is a safer way of being and that your child, your husband, and everyone else might appreciate the extra care in your step.

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