Going into this, I knew that pregnancy was going to change and challenge me in unexpected ways. I was hoping it would be a very maturing process, and I would end the gestation feeling very accomplished, able to name all my new character skills, and be able to think to myself: "That was a great exercise. Now I have everything I need to be a good mother".
I've reached the 2/3rds mark and I can tell it's not going to end that way at all. The end of pregnancy is only going to be the beginning of the learning curve of motherhood. Instead of some divine motherly wisdom, I've just been slammed into my body. By that I mean that I am gaining a solid revelation as to the fragility of my own frame. It's a basic lesson that's hammered into my head every day, and maybe it's the final sweeping away of the illusion of pubescent infallibility, but I just feel weak.
I'm watching this transformation happen--all on its own, I might add, it's totally out of my control--and I can't believe how much my insides are literally being stretched and pulled, shoved up and pushed down. Incessantly kicked from the inside, chemistry levels thrown to extremes, blood supply leached away to other sources, joints softening and spreading apart, processes slowed down and sped up with no regular schedule for me to learn. I have to move slower now. Jumping out of the car and hurrying down the sidewalk isn't an option. I have to sleep more, and I'm so bored with myself for sleeping so much (when I can). Seven hours used to suffice, but now I need ten or twelve. If I just ate 3 hours ago, I need to eat again. All of this self-care I now require is monotonous to me. I used to be able to run for so long on so much less. A newly pregnant friend of mine described herself as a selfish wuss, and I thought: "That's perfect. That's me too."
And, to top it off, I am growing ever more aware that everything extra inside me has to grow larger still for 3 more months, and then it has to come out. Will I violently explode? Will I be ripped in half? What will be left of me in the aftermath?
I know that I am only seeing half of this whole situation clearly now, because when it ends I'll finally be faced with the glory of all the work I've been doing when I see my baby's face. I know it will be worth it, and even though I don't feel like it right now, my body is actually the strongest and most productive it's ever been. As much as I am exasperated by my pregnancy-induced limitations, I am also in awe of what women's bodies are capable of.