Thursday, November 5, 2009

Baby on the Brain

Seems like there are a number of pregnant or recently-gave-birth mothers in my social circle these days. And God bless 'em.

Because if there is one sure way to know you're done having kids, it's when you see those bulging bellies and think, "Thank you, God, that it is them and not me!"

Frankly, pregnancy to me is just the necessary evil in order to get the cute little baby.

Number one, I didn't particularly like the stress of wondering if what I'm eating is going to cause some defect in my child, or if eating too much chocolate would make the poor thing allergic.

Of course the weight gain was brutal. I added 50 pounds with every pregnancy - yeah, I blew by that whole 25-30lb healthy range around the start of my second trimester. And don't be envious of those women who only gain 10-15 pounds during their entire pregnancy. Because you need to realize it is because they were vomiting multiple times, every single day, for 9 months. Yeah, I'd rather gain 50 pounds then to spend all my waking hours in the loo.

And as cute as those maternity clothes are at the store when you're only 5 months along, by the time you move into your 7th or 8th month, you despise elastic waistbands and shirts with sleeves of any kind.

During my first pregnancy, we lived in Phoenix, AZ. Rachel was born October 2. Do the math. I was huge during the heat of the summer. NOT good planning. So I thought I would be smarter the second time around. I would be at my most uncomfortable stage during mild winter months.


Except Phoenix experienced record-breaking heat waves in March.

And I got cranky.

So I coped the natural way. I'd eat. Problem was, Caleb craved junk food. (Yes, I firmly believe it is the baby that asks for it, not the mother. Rachel was a cheese junkie, and to this day she loves cheese more than the color pink, so my theory is legitimate.)

So, cheese during pregnancy #1: 50 pounds.

Junk food with #2: 50 pounds

The third one I get to blame water retention. (Although Noah begged for potato chips morning, noon and night.) I had 'extra amniotic fluid' with him. What does that mean? Basically, that I ballooned up into what appeared to be a ready-to-give-birth-at-any-moment woman when I was only about 6 months along.

I would go to the gym and people would come up to me and ask me when I'm due. When I'd tell them, their eyes would bulge from their sockets, they'd shake their head and say, "Wow, I thought it'd be sooner than that."

Gee. Thanks. Just what a pregnant woman wants to here. Why don't you just come out and say, "You're enormous! Are you carrying a baby or an elephant? How much bigger can you get?!"

Quite a bit bigger, apparently. Let's just say Noah got his name because there was a significant flood at his arrival.

Oh, sure. Pregnancy's not all bad.

Your hair and nails never looked so good.

And....yep. That's about it.

So essentially you're trading your figure, your normal brain function, and your ability to watch a Johnson 'n Johnson commercial without bawling...for thick, shiny hair. I don't know about you, but I'm not crazy about that trade-off. Because all that extra hair will just fall out shortly after you bring that baby home from the hospital anyway.

And that's just what you need, isn't it? You're already cleaning up spit-up and poop on an on-going basis, and now you have a bathroom floor covered in hair. Super.

I will admit, as tough as the first month or so is with a new baby, it was always much nicer to have them on the outside. I really liked to look at my babies. Even when they're screaming and their whole face wrinkles up due to a gas bubble that desperately needs to pop, they're fun to watch.

Let's face it. Babies are just plain cute. I'm convinced God made them that way because when you haven't had more than 4 hours a sleep a night for nearly a year, it takes a cute little face beaming at you to keep you from stuffing him in a box to be shipped off to Grandma.

My mother has no idea how close she was to finding her boxed-up grandson in the arms of the UPS man.

I personally won't be one of those women later in life that always tells the young moms, "Oh, enjoy your babies. It's the best time."

I know they only say that because they have no recollection of it. They were too sleep-deprived to actually impart a memory into that brain. There's just no way.

No, they say it because babies are cute. And they only see them when they're cute. When the kid is screaming, the mommy typically takes them out of public.

I know this because one day I was attempting to print photos at the Walmart photo center and Noah was crying like there was no tomorrow. I was just waiting for them to print (which, literally only takes about a minute any other time, but when your child is screaming at the top of their lungs, the printing process seemingly drones on for hours) and a little old lady gave me a dirty look and said, "Aren't you going to feed that baby?!"

Bet she wasn't thinking, "These are the best times of your life, sweetie."

No, she was making me - and everyone else around us - aware that I wasn't cutting it as a mother.

This was a good time for a projectile vomiting episode, but to no avail.

Maybe the reason these women think baby days are the best days are because the most recent memory they have of their children is the teenage years.

And I suppose a wailing infant is no contest to a willful teenager.

But I'm not there yet. So I'll keep you posted.

And personally, a 7-yr-old that doesn't require diaper changes, a 5-yr-old that doesn't spit-up after every meal, and even a nearly 2-yr-old that finally sleeps through the night sounds more like good times to me.

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