There are some women who adore pregnancy and can’t seem do it enough, and then there are those who see it merely as a not-so-pleasant means to an end. I fall somewhere in between.
Both of my pregnancies have been relatively easy—not without little hiccups and anxieties, of course, but generally enjoyable.
Now that it’s been over a month since I’ve been pregnant with kid #2, I find myself truly missing some aspects of pregnancy—and really not missing others.
I do miss…
1. Receiving special treatment from total strangers. From being offered seats on the subway (yes, people almost always got up) to free Starbucks upgrades, there’s something about being pregnant that makes people treat you nicely. And in a city like New York, it’s nice to feel noticed and even—dare I say—pampered. (On the flip side, when your child is actually out of the womb, grown up, and having a tantrum in public, people are far less tolerant.)
2. Not having to think too much about weight gain. Now that I’ve lost the actual baby weight I’ll soon need to get serious about losing the other pounds I put on. While I watched what I ate to some extent when I was pregnant, especially the second time around, I indulged in ice cream several times a week—especially in July and August. Now it’s going to be hard to justify that.
3. My no-frills wardrobe. My friends were amazingly generous with their maternity clothes and believe it or not I didn’t have to buy more than one or two pieces for either pregnancy. I didn’t have a ton of clothes—definitely way less than my everyday wardrobe—which actually made getting dressed in the morning, and for special events, surprisingly simple and streamlined.
4. Prenatal yoga. Yes, I get that there are tons of yoga classes out there for non-pregnant people, but they’re just not the same to me. All the stretching that’s involved in yoga feels heavenly when you’re expecting, and there’s also the camaraderie that comes from being in a class with a group of women who are going through the same thing as you. Plus, I really loved my instructor (also a doula), who would spend time answering all of our questions and calming our collective nerves.
5. Feeling the kicks. As anyone who’s been pregnant knows, there’s nothing quite as exciting as those first few flutters. Even the stronger kicks and jabs of later pregnancy are a treat (and a nice reminder that baby’s doing well in there). My son was incredibly active in utero, and every time he’d kick or move around I felt like he was communicating in a language only I could hear and understand.
I don’t miss…
1. Strangers offering their two cents. Why do people think it’s OK to get personal with someone they don’t know as long as that person is pregnant? Strangers would often stop me on the street to guess the gender, and it seemed like almost everyone had an opinion as to whether I was carrying high, low, big, or small. It’s like you have a sign on your protruding belly that says: “Nothing’s off limits. Tell me your thoughts!” Seriously people, I didn’t ask you.
2. That end-of-pregnancy “I can’t get more gigantic” feeling. Sure, the first few months of pregnancy—when you have a little “bump”—it’s all charming. But when that “bump” starts to resemble a mountain, and even maternity clothes start to feel small? That’s when things get tough. There’s the whole having-to-pee-every-five-minutes thing, and the fact that climbing the subway stairs feels like getting to the summit of Everest.
3. Food/drink limitations. I really love sushi, lox, soft cheeses, wine, beer, and cocktails. I know that plenty of pregnant women eat/drink these things in moderation, but I skipped them pretty much all together, and missed them like crazy both times. (My mother even brought me a bagel and lox and a beer in the hospital after my first baby was born.) Within a month, I’ve had all six of the items mentioned above…and not always in moderation.
4. Back pain/weird aches. During my second pregnancy especially, I experienced piercing leg and back pain while I walked. Since I live in New York City and love to get to places on foot, I hated not being able to do it more (see also: feeling gigantic, above). Of course, there’s also the fear and anxiety that seems to accompany every one of those aches…I don’t miss that.
5. Not being able to do certain things with my 4-year-old. Just yesterday my daughter was asking me if, this winter, I could sled with her again and—guess what?—I can! I also love that I can, once again, climb the jungle gym at the playground with her. Sure, I’m often stuck on the bench nursing my son, but at least when I’m done, I’m free to do as I please.
6. That omnipresent fear of labor. Toward the end of my second pregnancy I was feeling pretty anxious about the impending labor, since I knew better what to expect this time around. My first labor wasn’t awful as far as these things go, but the contractions were much more intense than I ever expected, and it was not an experience I was particularly thrilled to relive. But I found that what most people say is true—that second labors are faster and less traumatic than the first. Phew.
How about you? What do you miss/not miss about being pregnant? Respond in the comments below.