And let me tell you why.
Given the photographic timeline of our lives, you would be forgiven for assuming that I found out I was pregnant and then gave birth 9 months later. Aside from a photo at 5 months, there is zero documentation of my bump.
You know those incredible women who photograph their belly from the moment of conception to the day before the baby was born? I am so far from that. Being a size 16 already, there isn’t really much happening in the belly area that didn’t exist before. The pre-baby weight that was there even before Olivia.
I don’t have gorgeous maternity clothes. I admire them online but I never purchase them for myself. I stalk other women in their flowing gowns and multiple outfits and wonder how on earth they can afford them. Instead I spend my days making my leggings and singlets stretch until they have no life left in them. I still wear my old undies with the holes in them, every time proclaiming, ‘I will totally replace them the next time I do a shop”.
I don’t ask about what percentile the baby is on. I was reading through my baby birth club the other day and all these women were talking about how bubs was on the 80th percentile or the 90th percentile “Oh it is going to be another big bub like it’s brother!” You know what. I have zero recollection of what percentile Olivia was on, at any stage of my pregnancy. And this one is no different. Does he have two arms, two legs, 10 fingers and toes, a head, organs are where they should be? Brilliant. I am happy.
I don’t have any strong opinions on anything. When the Doctor tells me we need more scans due to my low papp-a hormone, I go and book in. They were telling me today that they have couples that fight them every step of the way and have strong beliefs on this or that. Should I be fighting more? Should I have strong beliefs about this or that?
Oh, and speaking of photos, there are none, NONE of me at the hospital with Olivia. None from the delivery room, none from the maternity ward. Nothing. OK. So my neck was swollen and my face was covered in broken blood vessels from pushing so hard, but what is the old rule about just being in the moment no matter what you look like?
I get violently ill.
I pee myself.
I cry all the time.
My mood swings are reminiscent of a young Sybil.
I forget everything. Most days are spent wandering around in the thickest of brain fogs, wondering why on earth I thought coming to the shops was a good idea. And why I spent $110 and only have biscuits and chocolate in the pantry.
I get hot flashes that cause me to strip down completely. Nothing like your husband coming home to find you in your underwear, engorged veiny breasts flopping around and a film of moisture covering your top lip and hair line.
I know, in my heart, that this is our final child. My final pregnancy.
And that makes me feel like such a shit Mother.
Shouldn’t I be wanting 10 children? Shouldn’t I be saying “Oh, maybe more after this one – you never know!!” Is it normal to know when you are done? Is it normal to be so pragmatic in your approach to parenthood? I always figured you were supposed to be more romantic and whimsical about expanding your family.
I know what a privilege it is to be pregnant and have children. I am not ungrateful for the experience, I am simply bad at it. It doesn’t mean that I love my children any less. It doesn’t mean that I don’t sympathise with the struggle other women face to have their own children. It doesn’t mean that I don’t marvel at the miracle that is life.
I am just a much better at being a mother, than I am at growing them inside me.