I’m 40. I am blessed with 3 healthy children. I had six first trimester miscarriages in between all of the healthy children. That means I have been pregnant nine times. Like a Walton. A few of my friends (many younger, some around my age) are just starting their families. I look at Facebook pictures of newborns in the hospital with fondness and I listen to the excitement of each OB visit.
A conversation with my best friend from high school yesterday (40, with her first child, lamenting that she doesn’t have the round baby bump and just looks fat) made me remember something I don’t miss about being pregnant:
The stage where you are not ready for maternity clothes but real clothes are uncomfortable.
This is a stage I was in way too many times. What makes this stage worse: career clothes. Dress pants hurt when your uterus is poking out. Button downs gape over gigantic hormonally inflated breasts.
Hiding the pregnancy until you are 12 weeks along.
Trying to hide a pregnancy in dress pants is just bad news. To try and mask that fact that you are pregnant so that you can get your performance review before you tell your boss you’ll be out for 12 weeks is even harder. Wearing a suit because a jacket is more slimming when your office is business casual makes everyone wonder if you are pregnant or going on a job interview.
Hiding the fact that you are not boozing it up.
Then there are the parties and after work drinks where people will wonder why you aren’t drinking. I’ve come up with a million ways to hide this- have a tonic water with lime in a gin and tonic glass, a non alcoholic beer poured directly into a pint glass. The bartender never hears my whisper or catches the knowing wide-eyed hiss: “pour the O’Doul’s into a glass. Hurry! Hide the bottle! My friends are coming!” I’ve tried to act casual when there is a full glass of wine in front of me and take sips that barely wet my lips or have my husband drink my glass. People notice. Especially other women.
Stressing out about ultrasounds and tests.
When my daughter was born, I was offered the triple screen for birth defects and 2 years later, I was offered quad screen for my middle son. Four years later, my last baby should have had his nuchal fold measured and my blood should have been screened. I say they were offered, but I really feel like they were mandated (and from my perspective I feel that the stats are bad enough when you are over 30 and have had too many friends who were scared to death from bad numbers and the babies turned out to be healthy). Still, I stressed about not doing the tests. I hated ultrasounds. I’ll never forget the image of the baby with no heartbeat on the black and white ultrasound screen the first time I was pregnant. Needless to say, ultrasounds were never fun for me. I was fraught with worry.
Buying pregnancy tests.
I bought a lot of pregnancy tests. I bought pregnancy tests that wouldn’t work because it was too early to detect a pregnancy, I bought more to see if it was time now, I bought more to really make sure I was pregnant, I bought the CVS brand, First Response, ClearBlue Easy, and was partial to the Duane Reade brand when I traveled to New York for business. Pregnancy tests are expensive. Looking around my empty windows, I imagine I could have those Restoration Hardware window treatments for my livingroom if I had just put that money in a money market account.
I threw up a lot.
Trying to plan when visitors like your mom and dad or in laws should come when you had no idea when the baby was going to arrive.
Should they come the minute they get the call or wait around in your house a week before? Should they stay after you come home from the hospital? Should they hang out in your hospital room? Should they call your husband’s cell phone so it will ring when you are pushing?
I will miss having babies, but I will not miss being pregnant.