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The Pregnancy Files: 12 weeks

The evil little creature inside me has turned 12 weeks old and is the size of a plum. I’m sure it won’t be a life-sucking demon forever, but for now that’s how it’s going for me.

Before we went to Mexico this weekend I had plans of talking about early pregnancy fashion (hint: stretchy pants!!). I had a few great outfits planned and was going to take photos of how awesome I rock the accessories (yellow skinny belt, for the win) and how a solid empire waste and some flouncy skirts make all the difference. But then while on trying to look presentable I ended up just hating hating hating how my body was changing. My hips have grown lumps, and my bump is now bigger but I mostly just look like a duck… butt and tummy sticking out in opposite directions. I don’t look cute and pregnant, I just look awkward and confusing.

And I guess that’s also how I feel. Pregnancy always seemed like this really awesome lady experience. Men will never understand what it’s like to be pregnant and wow isn’t that rough for them? Doesn’t that suck, not being able to experience first hand one of life’s greatest miracles? No. No it does not suck for them. They get the best end of the stick, the end where you get to have a baby that’s half made out of you, and your body doesn’t warp into mom-jean wearing, industrial bra toting, giant nipple flashing mother goddess of the maternity waste variety.

I feel lied to about what pregnancy is, and so does Kamel. He repeatedly says “Where was the part about [Insert my latest gross body discovery here] in Knocked Up?! They leave a lot of shit out when they talk about what pregnancy is REALLY like!” And then I remind him that no one would see the movie about the girl who never pooped because she was so constipated, or chest acne, or gaining 7 lbs from carbo loading so you don’t barf at work. No one wants to hear that stuff.

And in light of all of the lovely rape talk thanks to the ever-thoughtful and women-centered Republican party, I can’t turn on a computer, radio, or TV without someone talking – yet again – about where life comes from and when it should be ok to get an abortion (read: NEVER).

This pregnancy has made me even MORE pro-choice than I was before, because before I didn’t really understand the massive sacrifice that carrying around another bundle of cells and synapses is on the body (my body, my mind, my soul, my everything). And let me make it super duperly clear: if this pregnancy hadn’t been a choice Kamel and I made together and a decision we both made after months and months and months of discussion, I would have terminated the pregnancy without any moral trepidation. Knowing what I know now, as someone who is sacrificing every single day for her child,  sacrificing so that it has a healthy and happy arrival into the world, giving women the right to say “Nope! I can’t do this!” is overwhelmingly important. And if I didn’t have a support system, if I was alone and facing all that I’ve faced with this pregnancy by myself, and there was a law that said I had no say in the matter – that would be beyond devastating. The feeling of hopelessness that that creates, even imagining the powerlessness of that situation, makes me feel desperate.

And for those trying desperately to get pregnant, please don’t think I’m thumbing my nose at you. I want you to have all of the babies you want, I want to have all of the babies I want. But we should want the babies we have. We should be willing to make the sacrifices, the physical and the mental, for those babies. No one should be told, “You have no choice in the matter. If you get pregnant you will be forced to see it through.” The sacrifice is too much.

And as sucky as this pregnancy is, as much discomfort and as many tears as I have shed over how much I hate it, I still take my vitamins that make me gag, I still check every time I pee to make sure the baby is still in there and there isn’t any blood on the toilet paper, I research daycares, I touch my stomach and think, “It’s me and you kiddo, the two of us getting through this together, you little shithead.” And when there was turbulence on the plane ride this weekend I kept thinking, “I am the vessel who absorbs all of the bad things in order to make sure you don’t feel any of them.”

And this is the choice I’m making. Every single day I choose this. And every single day I could change my mind.

32 Comments

  1. Great post and yes, yes, yes to all of it.

  2. Here I was all prepared to rawr and disagree and argue … and after reading, I have nothing to add. You covered it all.

    Good good good for getting it all out there … no matter how many feathers it ruffles. This experience is yours, no one gets to dictate how you feel it, and that’s all there is to it.

    Love you.

  3. Yes yes yes. I had similar issues during pregnancy and had a conversation virtually identical to this about how pregnancy had strengthened my pro-choice views.

    Babies deserve to be wanted.

    • That’s totally it. Babies deserve to be wanted. They do. And women need to be seen as important and competent to make good life choices.

  4. I think this might be my favorite post, ever. I’d like to link to it, and also link it on facebook. May I?

    • Yes ma’am! I’m honored you like it so much. :)

      • Credit is all yours. Also, on a happier note, I like it not just for you articulating so well what a I feel about choice and all that, but how honest you’re being about the whole pregnancy thing. It’s something that’s always terrified me, and I’m slowly coming to the point where I think I might want to have a kid, eventually, and I’ve always suspected that everyone leaves things out about what it’s like. While you’re not going into every gory detail, your writing and your experience are so revealing and so helpful.

        • The one thing I can tell you is: you live through it. It’s inconvenient and it’s surprisingly difficult, but apparently it’s all worth it when you get a baby at the end. And! Some people truly do have easy pregnancies. Some people LOVE being pregnant. You never know how your body will truly react but there is a lot of internet support with message boards and stuff reassuring you that most of the gross stuff is normal. And though miscarriage is a possibility – it’s actually pretty difficult to kill your kid, otherwise abortion wouldn’t be an issue. :)

  5. YES! So much yes!

    One of the (many) things that makes me want to rip the face off the anti-choicers I picket against at clinics are their “Adoption: the Loving Choice” signs. It completely overlooks the months and months and months of physical discomfort, emotional upheaval, and body and hormonal changes of pregnancy. Not to mention the constant questions, comments, suggestions and manipulations about your fertility and history from the ever-so-empowered public. Abortion is part of the spectrum of pregnancy outcomes. One that must be defended and de-stigmatized.

    Bravo Lauren!

    • OOHHHH YES! And sometimes, abortion IS the loving choice! If you can’t, and know you can’t, give a child a good, rightful, loved existence, then carrying to term and putting everyone involved through that is NOT loving. This issue makes my head explode.

    • There’s lots of loving choices basically. Adoption is a really big one. But when it’s presented as the only loving choice it pretty much makes me want to rip the idiots face off.

      • Yes. Thank you.

        Adoption is an alternative to parenting, not pregnancy.

  6. I can’t think of anything I want to add to this. So I will just say, thanks for telling it like it is, Lauren.

  7. SUCH a great post. Thanks for writing/living it. You’re brilliant.

  8. “It’s me and you kiddo, the two of us getting through this together, you little shithead.”

    BAH! You made me laugh out loud at work. I cant wait to meet the adorable little shithead. And if its a boy, im sure that loving nickname will resurrect in his teen years ;-) Hehe.

  9. I completely agree with everything you said! Pregnancy is hard work. It takes over every single ounce of your mind and body. Women must have the choice to undertake such an event. If that choice is taken away we will move out of the country, no joke, raising my daughter in that environment terrifies me.

  10. Good on you! Congratulations and good luck and I hope you poop soon! Also, go read ye some Ariel Gore. She started Hip Mama magazine, and wrote lots of fantastic books like The Mother Trip, and I know lots of folks who found them to be really helpful in wrapping their brains around the “And now we are parents? But I am still me? But all these weird pressures I had no idea about exist and everybody is trying to mind my business instead of their own?”

    And good luck, and seriously about the pooping.

  11. This is why I’m so damned scared of getting pregnant/having a kid. Okay, so it’s one of the many reasons. But you do such a wonderful job of articulating the struggle that every pregnant woman must face, no matter the circumstances, and you face that struggle yourself with such strength. My respect for you (and for all pregnant women) has just been ratcheted up a few (hundred) notches.

  12. Wow. This is so brave, and so well written, and so GOOD. You nailed it, lady. What an amazing post that very very few people have the possibility of writing. Thank you!

  13. Yes, yes, yes, a million times, yes! Pregnancy made me so much more pro-choice too. Pregnancy takes over your body so completely and for so long. No one should be able to force a woman to go through it. And to echo what you said in the comment above, women are much more competent to decide what it right for them, their family, their bodies, than a group of politicians in Congress or a state legislature.

    • So basically, awesome post! And good on you for writing it and putting yourself out there on something that is sometimes contentious.

  14. Amen sister. Though I had a pretty wonderful pregnancy (don’t hate me! I was in labor for 48 hours, so it all evens out), I’ve lately been thinking how much having a kid has made me more pro-choice. For all the things no one tells you about pregnancy (hello there, mucus plug!) there’s one no one tells you about having a young child. Like how incredibly isolating it can feel. How you have to put some of your dreams aside. How you have to worry constantly about money. I hasten to add that I would do it again in a second; it was a choice I (and we) made and it’s worth all the hard stuff. BUT! It’s something no one should have to do without having made the choice with eyes wide open. Period.

    Hang in there. Second-trimester sex is just around the corner!

    • Please tell me more about second trimester sex please.

  15. I want to memorize this entire post so that I can articulately respond to the recent influx of abortion discussion on my Facebook page and in my life in general. As a woman who is 30 weeks pregnant with her first child I can say with even more absolute certainty that YES – I am completely 100% pro-choice. The fact that there is even a debate about what I choose and am “allowed” to do with MY baby-making organs has always infuriated me but I always wondered if maybe I felt that way because I hadn’t been on the other side yet. I wondered if maybe I was blinded by the inability to empathize having never been in a situation where I would have had to make that decision but now everything is clear for me. Pregnancy is HARD. I had debilitating, couldn’t-eat, couldn’t-sleep, couldn’t- drive migraines nearly every day of my first trimester and they’ve lingered sporadically into my second and third trimesters. I can’t imagine going through that (and continuing to go through this with the knowledge that that whole labor thing looming in my immediate future is probably going to be pretty damn tough) without the knowledge that I’m doing it with a very specific end goal that I feel is 100% worth all of the pain and anxiety and challenges and I especially can’t fathom having to go through all of this against my will because someone I’ve never met had an objection to my choice.

  16. I hope if it’s okay if I share this too. I was lucky because growing up my mom told me all the horrible details about pregnancy and how everyone who tells you it’s wonderful is somehow deluded or lying or weird or something and very different than my mom’s experience. As a precocious child, I asked lots of pregnant women if they were experiencing these awful things and yes! They were! Why weren’t we talking about this?!

    So when I tell people that my husband and I aren’t really down for birthing a child (maaaaybe adoption–we’re still thinking), people think I’m making the worst ill-informed decision ever. Or they say “We’ll see how you feel in *indiscriminate amount of time*.” In other words, I, as I exist right now, am a slobbering idiot.

    Brava. Great post.

    • I’m so glad you commented because women’s health is not just about pregnant women’s health or those women who want to have kids. Women’s health and treating women like they are competent members of society, who can make their own educated and thoughtful decisions is the REAL issue here. And even though politics have direct reverberations on our lives, it’s also society at large who question women’s health and parent-related choices CONSTANTLY! Oh my god don’t even get me started on breast feeding!!! Or when to have kids or whether or not to have kids at all! Or what to shave or why to shave or weight loss/gain, or or or or… it’s so out of hand.

  17. I love you. This is an excellent post and excellent writing and I agree with you 100%.
    PS. Totally read this in an American accent ;)

  18. As someone who went through a miscarriage earlier this summer I have to chime in here and say: every woman should have the right to choose when it comes to her body and her reproductive rights. Having a miscarriage was probably one of the most terrible things I’ve ever gone through and even though I have some complicated feelings about abortion I am 110% pro-choice. The option HAS TO be there for women when they need access to it.

    • Big hugs. I hope you got the support you needed.

  19. I feel the same way. Exactly.
    I wish every day that I wasnt doing this, dealing with a parasitic peanut that saps my energy, makes me feel nauseated and makes my body do awful things…
    But.
    I wont get rid of it. We made this choice. I hope I can live with it. :)

  20. HOLY FUCK. I got SWALLOWED into wedding world and completely missed your AWESOME redesign and PREGNANCY. I feel like a failure. A total failure. WTF. Killer, lady. KILLER.

  21. I whole heartedly agree with everything you’ve said. I really hate the fact that it’s 2012 and women are still fighting for the right to make their own decisions, about their own bodies. Not only does it make me angry, but it makes me just as sad. We just have to keep fighting the good fight, and Lauren, with you writting pieces like this, it helps so so much. Thank you!

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Who the hell is she?


Lauren

I am a writer living in Seattle and I believe that life is a grand adventure and only boring if you believe it to be. Plus! You don't need money to have fun.

I live with my husband, a photographer by education and a maker-of-video-games by trade, and a baby named gabe in an apartment on the hill.

I am romantic about most things and I cry... about almost anything. I tell stories to entertain you, I spread stories to keep you in the loop. I am not a grammar freak, but I do know how to spell it. I am exceedingly proud of my scrambled eggs and I really could eat an entire pan of cupcakes. If I met me, I would be my best friend. I tend to be irreverent.

If you would like to chat with me or see what else I'm up to you can follow me on Twitter (betterinrealife), on facebook, or email me at betterinrealife at gmail.


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