When I found out I was pregnant I had one of those moments when you try to picture yourself as something other than yourself but can’t. Like when you’re a kid and you try to picture the adult you—it’s you, but so far removed from your experience that you can’t quite grasp who that person is. I feared the worst: that I would become a mother and lose everything chic or fashionable about myself, much in the same way elderly people seem to succumb to swishy windbreaker sets with sailing motifs. I would wake up with a closet full of LL Bean denim jumpers. I would cut my hair to save time but it wouldn’t matter anyway because anyone who knows anything knows that mothers don’t have time to shower.
I didn’t take the whole pregnancy thing well. Who were these women on television and in advertisements that looked so damn happy? Where were their pimples and bloat? Where were their frustrated husbands—the ones who chose to go camping again because they didn’t feel like talking them through another hormonal breakdown?
Naively, I thought I would find solace in other women. But they didn’t want to talk to me about my experience. They wanted to share their own horrific, traumatizing tales. Someone knew someone who had a niece whose baby was trapped in her ribcage and the doctor had to stand on the operating table and use a chair to unhinge the child during labor. Someone else still didn’t pee right—and it had been 20 years!
Everyone was full of tips. Tip after freaken tip. Get lube for your nipples, your child will gnaw them off breastfeeding. Do those keggles faithfully, even though your lousy-no-good-husband won’t ever touch you the same way again after seeing what came out of your hoo-hoo. My all-time favorite: start saving money in your own account now because before you know it your kid’ll be 18 and you’ll need all the money you can to piece back together the shell of woman you’ve become as a stay at home mom all those years.
Hence my fear of LL Bean jumpers. Hence my glares whenever anyone inquired about my bump. I dreamed of starting a t-shirt line for pregnant women that read, “Leave me alone.” I started to become known as the anti-pregnant woman.
But look, I made it. And now I’m not the anti-mom. In fact I have come to embrace my new role with a lot more ease than I think anyone thought I would. Some of my friends have even told me that my son is the happiest, most expressive baby they’ve seen. Granted they’re saying that because they’re my friends, but these are honest people. The good kind of honest. The kind of honest that tells me, “Sit down, I can cut up my own food, please stop being such a mom.”