Friday, July 10, 2009

Why it's worth it

I feel like I've spent excessive time and interweb space writing about what a pain in the ass it is to be pregnant. And it is. I wish I could be one of those jolly pregnant ladies who relishes every minute of the experience, but I'm not. Particularly now that I'm in the third trimester, which is the most difficult and uncomfortable part of it.


but but but but but.

Let's give the other side of the argument a fair shot. I am a lawyer, after all.

And I don't mean the side of the argument that says that being pregnant is so great. It either is or it isn't for each individual woman, and no amount of rhetoric is going to sway her from her particular position.

No, I mean the side of the argument about why it's worth going through the discomfort of gaining weight and suffering from heartburn and hemorrhoids and swollen ankles and of course the process of actually getting the baby out of your body. Because I get the sense that with all of the talk about pregnancy poo and hurting vajayjays, I'm sending a message that it's an experience that others should actively avoid.

And I don't want to send that message, because it's not how I feel at all. Pregnancy is totally worth it. I wouldn't do it otherwise.

The "it's worth it"-ness is something that is reinforced all the time, every day of my life, and just not in a heavily emotional, I'm-a-grownup-now-so-it's-time-to-get-serious-and-be-responsible-and-isn't-parenting-an-awesome-and-miraculous-thing kind of way.

Because I don't feel at all that I've given up the "fun" of my youth to have children. I don't spend my weekends out clubbing or getting shitty drunk in bars, but one of the things I've discovered that I love about having a child, and what makes going through another pregnancy so worth it for me, is that being with my kid is a blast.

He's at an age where he's learning new words and new skills all the time, and it's so cool to talk to him and marvel at how he sees the world and take him to experience things that are thrilling to him, and which in turn become thrilling to me. The way we'll stand in front of the lion's habitat at the zoo, and Zeke will see the animals and yell "rwoawr!" So I'll roar, too, and we'll stand there giggling and roaring at the lions and it's wonderful.

Or we'll go get and ice cream, and it's so delicious that with every bite, he'll say "YUM!" so enthusiastically. I'll think to myself, "damn right, this ice cream is tasty!"

Making a mess while eating is fun!

Or there will be a tractor parked by the side of the road when we're on our way to the park, and Zeke's eyes will get big and he'll say "WOW! Tractor!" We'll spend a few minutes looking at the tractor, and I'll realize that it's been awhile since I looked closely at a tractor, and it's kind of an amazing machine. Then we'll be on our way again, but not before Zeke says "bye, tractor!" Which of course makes me laugh with the cuteness.

This kind of enthusiasm is infectious.

Or we'll be walking and looking at flowers and ladybugs, and suddenly he starts pointing to individual flowers and saying, "mun....tooo....freee....faw..." and it takes me a second but when I realize he's counting I feel like my head is going to explode with amazement.

Or I'll be in the kitchen doing the dishes and listening to some music on the iPod, and he'll come in and start bobbing his head and jumping around and clapping to the music. So I'll turn off the water and put down the sponge, and we'll have a little impromptu dance party in the kitchen that turns into both of us spinning around in circles and then falling down dizzily in a fit of giggles.

I defy anyone to cast their eyes on Zeke wearing a fireman's hat but no pants, and not dissolve into laughter.

Or he'll be in his jammies, all clean and sweet-smelling after a bath, and we'll be watching a few minutes of Elmo's World before bedtime. Maybe we're nice and tired because we've been splashing around in the pool or climbing on the jungle gym at the park. I'll settle him into the crook of my arm and rub him on his belly, and he'll snuggle up against me on the couch, leaning his head on my chest while absent-mindedly patting me on the leg with his hand. And sometimes he'll look up at me and smile and say, "mama!" in a voice filled with love. At that moment, there's nowhere in the world I'd rather be and nothing I'd rather be doing.

So notwithstanding the fact that I'm tired and huge and uncomfortable, none of that discomfort ever outweighs the joy I experience every day in being with my son, or the excitement I feel thinking about how it's going to be with my daughter. Being pregnant is just an unpleasant pre-requisite to the incredible fun and wonder of spending time with these hilarious little people that I helped create and who I have the enormous privilege of guiding through the world, at least until they can do it on their own.

So don't be discouraged. Pregnancy sucks, but if you decide not to have a baby because you don't want to be pregnant, you're totally cutting off your nose to spite your face, in my humble opinion, and will be missing out on one of the greatest experiences life has to offer.


  1. And for all the ups and downs, I am so glad I did it. If it were so awful I surely wouldn't have gone through three pregnancies. I'm not that altruistic about anything.

    Lovely post.I'm so glad that Zeke knows how to wear his fireman's helmet the right way! He is adorable.

  2. The helmet-with-no-pants is a favorite. I hope his future significant other gets as much of a kick out of it as I do.

  3. Wendy, I totally agree. I had one rough pregnancy and one that was a joy, but they were both totally worth it.

    I have so many similar moments as the ones you describe. I really relate.

    And we are big fans of the fireman's helmet/no pants routine, as well as the Crocs/no pants and rainboots/no pants versions.

    Lovely post!

  4. Thanks, Dawn. And as for the no-pants deal, I think it's just generally fun to have no pants on.