The Problem of Comparison

There is some small part of me, my innermost heart maybe, that is excited about being pregnant. Not excited about being pregnant, but excited that I will get to see another life unfold in my house, under my care. Maybe this isn’t a small part of myself, maybe it’s my Highest self, that takes these moments to step back and look and witness and feel a whole world of feelings in an instant about the meaning of life, love, and parenting.

That is what I’m excited about. The ability to watch a small life unfold into the person that they’ve always been. The unlimited potential about who and what they can be or do, and all the funny things they’ll say.

That is what I look forward to.

But I am struggling.

I’m not sure yet if it’s prenatal depression, or simply adjusting to the idea of a new life inside of me to change the whole dynamic in our family. But I’m struggling.

This pregnancy is not like the last. And I’m worried that this will only begin the list of comparisons. It wasn’t like this with your brother, why can’t you be more like your sibling, it’s so different.

I had hoped to engage with my pregnancy and my new baby in a neutral way, free from the comparisons of four years ago.

But it’s hard not to.

I’m already in a lot of pain. The nights are spent tossing and turning with incredibly deep pelvic pain that’s not alleviated by pillows between the knees or yoga stretches. I’m assured it’s simply ligaments moving, but at six weeks in, I think “really, another 7.5 months of this shit left to deal with?” I’m off this summer, but this fall I’ll be teaching 24.5 college credits AND working 16 hours a week AND being a mom to a 3 year old. If I’m already not sleeping well, in lots of nighttime pain, then how am I going to cope?

I feel like a whiny bitch.

I have nausea all day.

I feel ugly (yes, this is a real feeling, not just looking for pity). Like I finally believe that body dysmorphic disorder exists, because I look at pictures and think “who is that person?” My husband says I look fine. And my brother-in-law said I was looking ‘flacando’ (aka skinny), so I’m not the fat cow with jabba the hut chins that I feel.

Have I mentioned the mood swings?

Right after Potamus was born, I cried a lot. It was like the Grinch’s heart had cracked open and I felt all these amazing tender and anxiety provoking emotions that I rarely let myself feel. And so I cried. For joy. For sadness. For holy-fuck-overhwlem. This time I’m crying at commercials, the movie Inside Out, at the thought that sometime ‘soon’ I won’t have the special 1-1 moments with Potamus that I’ve grown to love so much. I’m sure they’ll be moments, I’ll just have to look harder for them.

I want to hurl. About 3/4 of the day is spent navigating this landmine of nausea that hasn’t resulted in actual vomiting, but definitely leaves me averse to many foods/smells that trigger the upchuck reflex.

Last time I got lucky, I guess.

What I don’t want is to start resenting this little bean. Because I was on the fence about having another baby, that I hope that I can be excited, rather than, “holy shit have I made the worst mistake of my life?”

Pregnancy Comparisons

Both of my pregnancies have been conceived after a grandparent dies. For Potamus it was Boof’s grandpa. For this little Whirlygig it was after my grandma. It’s part of the reason I’m hoping for a girl. Then our naming scheme will be right in sync. Also, for someone who didn’t want to have kids, having karmic reincarnation conception stories (not that I believe Potamus is Boof’s grandpa, or this Whirlygig is my grandma), is pretty fucking cool.

But let’s talk about what isn’t cool: pregnancy symptoms.

Now maybe it’s because I had just started a new job as a crisis counselor the day I found out I was pregnant the last go round, but with Potamus I had zero symptoms. Besides gaining weight, craving pizza and Dairy Queen Blizzards, one week of heartburn, and some low back pain toward the end of pregnancy. I’d say those “didn’t count,” because A) I already had low back pain in life, B) I already eat a lot of pizza/Dairy Queen Blizzards, C) weight gain because it was a fucking baby inside me.

This time?

Oh golly.

While I’m not to Princess Kate’s level of nausea, let me say, the hours of 3-5pm are not that great. It’s not like I’m vomiting, but it’s more like the Spirit of Nausea Past. It’s haunting. Not like the day you’re actively hungover, but the next day, when you can still remember being hungover and the thought of alcohol wants to make you yak? It’s like that.

Even writing the word yak makes me want to yak.

I’m sensitive to smells. To a ridiculous degree. If there’s a missing person in the area, give me a sock, because I could find them. I’m not kidding. I can’t take out the garbage. I can’t be around onions or spicy foods. My own sweat makes me gag and I’m wearing deodorant. I don’t get it.

Zits. Yay. It’s like karma. I was the teen who went through the awkward years without any zits. Well, maybe a few, but definitely not the recurrent theme going on on my chin right now.

Lack of appetite. I’m forcing myself to eat a wide variety of things, even when I’m not hungry. I mill around the kitchen but nothing sounds good. This is not usual for me.

Lastly, the intense mood swings that have changed both my emotional outbursts and the way I see myself. I normally don’t have any body image issues, but until today I have felt like a fat bloaty cow and wish I could just wear sweatpants and a baggy shirt for the next 10 months. Surprisingly, today I feel a bit like a sex goddess, so maybe that’s the after effects of my water aerobics class last night. Tone the abs that will disappear in a few months.

But the mood swings you guys. They’re off the charts. I’m crying at commercials and while reading stories to Potamus. I’m raging at the slightest perception of criticism. I even slammed the phone down and hung up yesterday when my mom said she couldn’t hear me on the other end because of poor reception. We had been talking about hotdog buns. And I got irrationally angry. I sorta feel like I’m walking around without skin on and every nerve is exposed. It’s annoying.

So there ya go. This pregnancy is completely different than the last. I don’t know what to make of that (though googling these symptoms = baby girl, but I’m trying to not get my hopes up). I have the first trimester off, summer vacation, so hopefully by the time I go back to work in the fall (because it’s going to be CRAZY), I’ll have my shit together.