What I have to look forward to

This week has been a vacation week for local schools, the university, and university-affiliated daycare.  As a result, faculty parents are bringing their kids to campus with them — the kids are playing with each other, the parents are looking frazzled, but everyone is generally running around and having a good time between semesters while the grown-ups try to get a little work done.

Several times this week, as I’ve wandered the halls 7.5 months pregnant, I’ve gotten comments from frazzled parents along the lines of, “See, this is what you have to look forward to” — usually while their kids are screaming, hitting each other, or otherwise misbehaving.  Another variation includes, “Just be grateful yours is still on the inside — they’re so much harder once they’re out.”

I have to admit that in my hyper-emotional highly pregnant state, some of these comments have brought me to the brink of tears.  Pregnancy, especially late pregnancy, isn’t easy for anyone, but it’s particularly emotionally fraught when it’s a pregnancy after infertility/loss.  Here’s what goes through my head when I hear these comments:

  • What if I’m making a mistake, and nearly three years of dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss on our way to a living baby is only going to make me miserable?
  • How am I going to deal with highly physical boys like these?  Why did my daughter have to die?
  • God, I hope I have this to look forward to and that my baby doesn’t die again.  Don’t you know how lucky you are to have two or three living children to annoy you? 

In my saner moments when I’m able to sit down and think things through rationally, I realize that this is all silly.  I know that none of these parents would, for a moment, give their kids back.  I know that they love their kids with their whole heart, that even when it’s tough they value the time they get to spend with their kids.  So why are they making these hurtful comments, the ones that make their kids sound like monsters, in my very pregnant direction?

Of course, there are all sorts of moments that they might have chosen to highlight instead, where those very same words would give me strength and hope instead of insecurity.

When they’re snuggling together — “See, this is what you have to look forward to.”

When those sticky little hands give them a hug, a little mouth gives them a kiss, and a little voice says I love you, Mommy — “See, this is what you have to look forward to.”

When their heart bursts with pride to see their child being kind and generous to someone else — “See, this is what you have to look forward to.”

I recognize that it’s part of an entire genre of things that people love to say to freak out pregnant women: “Sleep now, because you’ll never get any sleep again after he’s born!”  “Boys are such a handful — say goodbye to your clean house!”  “You’ll never know what hit you.”  And then add 1,000 horror stories about labor and delivery.  These things are normal.  They’re mostly just good-natured teasing.  I know that I’m extra-sensitive, especially right now.  But wouldn’t it be nice if people could make the positive versions of these comments instead?

I know it’ll be hard to have a baby.  I know that I don’t know how hard it’ll be.  But I also know that most of my parent-friends feel that despite the difficulties, parenthood is one of the best decisions they’ve made.  It’s something my husband and I very deeply want to experience.  We are so looking forward to welcoming this new little life into the world, and to all the good and bad experiences that come with being parents.  As January begins and my February due date looms ever closer, I’m trying to look past the negative comments, and focus on what I truly have to look forward to.  To think about looking into my son’s eyes for the first time, to think about holding his little body safe and snuggled into mine.  To think about watching him grow and change and learn and discover all the beautiful and amazing things the world has to offer.  That, along with a million other little things, is what I have to look forward to.

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8 thoughts on “What I have to look forward to

  1. TryTryAgain

    Ah yes! I’m starting to get these comments too! You’ve totally nailed it in this post, people just don’t realise at all how lucky they are when they make these comments. I’m 100% with you on this.

    I’m so excited for you and the next couple of months, can’t wait to hear more from you as baby is almost here xxx

    Reply
    1. lyra211 Post author

      How lovely to hear from you, and to know that you’re doing well. 🙂 I’m excited about the next couple of months too — in between those moments of apprehension and worry! Everything seems to intensify as pregnancy itself gets more intense. Six weeks and five days until my due date — it is all starting to seem so short! I just can’t wait to meet this little boy, and to know that he’s made it out safely.

      Very best wishes to you as you enter the second half of pregnancy. It feels like I was there only yesterday — it all goes so fast. Before you know it, you’ll be staring down your due date too, and I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you!

      Reply
      1. TryTryAgain

        Wow – I can’t believe how quickly your due date has come around!! I’m sure it doesn’t feel like that to you, but it’s so near now.

        Thank you so much for the good wishes – I’m hoping to get to 24 weeks, then 28 weeks, that’s all I can really focus on for now. One day at a time, you know how it is 🙂 lots of love xx

  2. jwhitworth7

    Wonderful post! I have gotten a few of these especially the sleep comment. I have thought all the things you mention here and have wondered why no one says the positive things. Even my father in law made some comment like “be prepared because your lives are going to change and things will be stressful” as if our lives and stress levels have been the same since losing our son. I hope that we will cherish each moment even the ones that test our patience and I truly believe we will be better parents because of it.

    Reply
    1. lyra211 Post author

      Ah, fathers-in-law. Mine visited from the Midwest for Christmas and the very first words out of his mouth were, “Well, hello there, chubby!” Oy. Thankfully my husband has my back and was very good about saying things like, “How about we move on to a new subject, dad…”

      And yes, I so hear you about the stress level comments — as if pregnancy loss weren’t the most stressful thing we’ve been through in our lives! I’m sure that having a baby will be stressful, but one thing that loss teaches you is that you can survive levels of stress you never imagined, even if it’s incredibly hard at the time. You’ve got this, and you and your husband are SO ready to be amazing parents. 🙂

      Reply
      1. jwhitworth7

        Oh goodness! I’m so glad your husband moves the conversation along. Man oh man I just can’t imagine saying some of the stuff that people say. You are so right! Loss teaches us so many things and while I wish we never had to go through it learning to cope and heal has proved to us that we are stronger than we ever thought. That will serve us well in parenthood! I’m so happy that things continue to go well for you! It will be February before you know it!

  3. hopingforatakehome

    Lovely post. I got happy little butterfly feelings reading your list of the positive things to look forward to. Still nervous with some of the high-risk things they are monitoring with this pregnancy, but so so so excited too. xo

    Reply
    1. lyra211 Post author

      Aw, thank you! I totally get the nervous / excited duality — no high-risk pregnancy is ever going to be all excitement. But I’m glad your blood sugar monitoring is going well and that everything’s looking healthy with your little one so far!

      Reply

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