It’s been a week since I found out I was pregnant, and my feelings on the matter depend on the day and the intensity of my caffeine withdrawals. I’ve resolved to write/sew/rant my way through it, mostly because I have way too many feels not to grasp for catharsis wherever I can find it, but also because my experience seems so out of step with that of most women I know that it makes me feel like (even more of) an alien outlier, and it might be of some comfort to other women who don’t find their experience reflected in the usual cultural apparatus of motherhood.
I hate being pregnant, though I love being a mother. I have one child already, who I love with an intensity I’d never have thought possible. He’s nearly eight. I hated every moment of being pregnant the first time, and maybe some of that was because I was younger, less emotionally prepared, less certain of my ability to enjoy motherhood or be a good parent. Or maybe it’s because pregnancy is invasive and terrifying, among other things. The pregnancy went smoothly until the last three weeks, when I had pre-eclampsia and had to be induced. I was put on magnesium sulfate that swelled me up like Violet Beauregarde in Willy Wonka, and spent 53 hours in induced, miserable, terrified labor before I was given a C-section, which I was so exhausted I mostly snored through. They had to wake me up to give me my baby boy, and it took me a few minutes to wake up enough to be into the experience, but the rest was what my grandfather aptly calls “joyful stress.”
Both times, I had some inkling before taking a pregnancy test that something was off, accompanied with the distinct sense of being sent on the long walk to the gallows by my boyfriend’s penis. He stuck around the first time and actually kind of wanted another kiddo the second time, but there’s a big difference in saying, “I’m there for you through this,” and having another consciousness embedded in your uterine wall for the next nine months. Each time, there has been the feeling of a cage door closing and shrinking walls, not because I don’t love and maybe even want more children, but because it’s inescapable, and because I will be weakened and reliant on the help of other people to function and be healthy and, from a certain point of view, to survive the next nine months myself. As a stubborn, private, recalcitrant woman, this is an unbearable feeling if I linger on it too long.
When my significant other prods our son to cooperate with going out to eat by suggesting that we need to help mom, mom will get sick if she doesn’t eat, my being chafes against what I know is intended as thoughtfulness. Mom is not a delicate flower. Mom is a force of nature to be cherished and feared. I want my son not to feel any worry and certainly no responsibility for my well-being. I want to roar like the strong tiger mother I am, but in the same moment this damnable weak body demands I sit my crazy ass down because my blood sugar is being crazy and I have the shakes and don’t want to humiliate myself in the parking lot of Denny’s.
Speaking of humiliation, let’s talk about pregnancy gas. After taking the pregnancy test and the sobbing and the alternating waves of almost acceptance, terror, grave responsibility, and tiny rays of almost-excitement, I had this really sweet moment cuddling and fell asleep with my son resting on my chest and my significant other playing video games beside us. I awoke suddenly, scared awake by my own blast of flatulence, to find my significant other right there laughing and no way to deny it. We have been together 12 years. He has heard this happen exactly once before, because I will usually herniate myself rather than fart in public, (unless it’s in front of my son, because he finds it hysterically funny).
Goodbye, dignity. Maybe I’ll see you again in 2019.
More on this to come, for sure, and much related to sewing for maternity, as I’m currently learning all about sewing for a rapidly expanding belly and hoping to strategize so that I can cut clothes wide now and reduce them later as needed, rather than buy or make clothing strictly to wear while pregnant. Maternity fashions and existent patterns make me very sad, so there will be much pattern drafting to come. Also to explore at length: were maternity corsets an evil instrument of the patriarchy, or did they provide some much needed back and belly support in the way that currently marketed belly bands do? I process all my emotions through sewing and historical rambling, so pregnancy the research project, here we go.
4 thoughts on “3,078 random maternity feels.”
“…I can cut clothes wide now and reduce them later as needed, rather than buy or make clothing strictly to wear while pregnant.”
“I hate being pregnant… I hated every moment of being pregnant the first time… pregnancy is invasive and terrifying… the feeling of a cage door closing and shrinking walls… As a stubborn, private, recalcitrant woman, this is an unbearable feeling if I linger on it too long.”
Do you REALLY want to wear clothes that will remind you of all this, post pregnancy? Just guessing, but my bet is a resounding NO! Forget the multi-tasking outfits. You loathe being pregnant! Why force yourself to wear something designed and made to fit your bloated, terrified, dependent self?
If anyone deserves being indulged, it’s YOU, oh pregnant one. Indulge yourself by making the most comfy-yet-flattering outfits possible for your baby-bloated body, then following the birth (oh happy day!!) pass them along to another expectant mom. Maternity clothes should be the gift that keeps on giving, because who in her right mind wants to wear anything that belongs over a tummy with another human tucked inside?
That’s funny, it probably does seem very contradictory, but sewing is an obsessive interest of mine and I like to make garments that are something unique and weird and special to me (and as you say, super indulgent!), so they usually involve a ton of work and probably wouldn’t be something most other pregnant women would want as a hand me down. Since I sew to fit all my proportional weirdnesses, it might also be a less than ideal fit for someone else. I like the ideals of minimalism and slow fashion, so even though it might seem odd, sewing things I *really* like makes me feel better about having to wear maternity stuff, and if they’re something I can take out the side seams on and alter in 30 minutes or so post pregnancy and wear for years, all the better. If I can make some Cersei-worthy high necked supervillian blazer that makes me feel awesome, I will want to wear that for a long time. For me it’s an expressive medium/social shell more than a reminder of bad times. If I can continue to use my expressive medium and make things I enjoy for years, then it makes me feel more like my normal obsessed self. (And nothing says keep your hand off my belly like a Cersei blazer, amirite?)
Keep The Mountain (sorry, “Sir Robert Strong”) by your side and NOBODY will mess with your pregnant, Cersei-disguised tummy!
Btw, I’m designing something very similar with a steampunk vibe. Love those high collars!
Absolutely. I love steampunk too! 😍