I’m currently in the 3rd trimester of my third pregnancy. All three were VERY different and I’ve come to realize that I was very judgmental (thankfully I kept it pretty much to myself) about how other women did or did not handle their pregnancies. I think too many of us women do this. We think things like, “Oh, she must not be doing ____ right” or “She must not be able to handle pain/discomfort/stress the way I can” or “Why is she complaining she doesn’t have it nearly as bad as I do!”. Some idiots even say this stuff aloud (usually it’s older women who are looking back at their pregnancies through the fog of time). I think we all do it internally but I’m here to tell you to give each other a break! Pregnancies are different from person to person and from pregnancy to pregnancy, a fact I was blissfully unaware of when I first got pregnant five years ago…
My first pregnancy was pretty simple, leg and back cramps, a couple of moments of insane hormonal swings, I waddled at the end (of my 42 weeks!) and cried when my hips fell asleep into pins and needles 5 minutes after I would lay down for the night making me restless and even more tired. I called it pretty easy. I was happy about it most of the time unlike other pregnant mom’s I knew during or soon after who just seemed MISERABLE throughout. Mine was not a planned pregnancy, I was working full-time as a teacher (not a lot of sitting down involved) and I planned my wedding while in my first trimester (super fun!).
My second pregnancy was COMPLETELY different. I know people SAY that pregnancies are different but I didn’t really understand that until I got pregnant earlier than planned (never “practice”, either do or do not!) when my son was almost 2 years old. Oh, and I got pregnant with the girl I so wanted… and her sister! I’ll never know if it was because there were two, because they were girls, because it was my second pregnancy and I already was caring for my son while working full-time or whether it was just different… but it was.
I had non-stop nausea and VICIOUS hunger from weeks 6-22. I woke in the middle of the night starving and I would cry all the way down to the kitchen to eat food I didn’t really feel like eating when all I really wanted to do was sleep. I dragged through my days and often was asleep before my 2-year-old son (and he went to bed at 7:30). I never threw up (I’m sooooo grateful for that!) and I was never on bedrest or had any medical complications but I was still disabled by the pregnancy. I carried those girls until 38 weeks (at which point I was feeling my best, believe it or not, maybe it was the psychological effect of knowing it was almost over) and I got HUGE. But it wasn’t just the size, I was exhausted. Those girls took everything from me and what little I had left I gave to my job and my son and my husband. There wasn’t enough left over for my house or myself… just the way it is! Twins is a unique situation and I was (often) tempted to say, “shut up about your troubles, I’m carrying TWINS here and I still don’t complain as much as you!!!” but I never actually said it. Good thing, too, because I have no idea what other people are dealing with. Yes, some people are better at handling pain and discomfort better than others. Yes, some people exist in simpler situations than I was dealing with. You still can never REALLY know what it’s like to walk in another person’s shoes or fully understand what its like to carry their load.
Now, pregnancy number three. My 40 week count started on my twin daughters’ first birthday. Not an ideal situation! perhaps it’s because I didn’t have another choice, perhaps my body is just different this time around, perhaps I’m better at dealing with all the drama that can come with pregnancy but, (knock on wood) this pregnancy has been so easy I STILL forget I’m pregnant some days! Don’t believe me? I brushed my boob up against something (probably my own arm) and thought, “ooh, that’s pretty tender! I wonder if I’m pregnant?” Ya, seriously. I mean it only took about 2 seconds for me to remember, “ya, that’s EXACTLY what that means!” and I’ve only got 10 weeks to go. I just don’t have time to wallow in anything. I have a 4-year-old who needs me to teach him his letters, take him outside to ride his scooter, get him to preschool and back, I have twin 18 month olds who need me to keep them from killing themselves (which takes up 99% of my time), feed them, and help them learn to live in a family of 3+ kids! I have a house to run, a daycare to run (not full-time but it’s still a lot of work when you add in my kids to the mix) AND a diabetic husband who just started a new job and has needed me to pick up a lot of slack this year. In fact I should whine a lot more about all the crap I have going on in my life but I don’t. Why? Well, this pregnancy has been easy to the point I can almost ignore it and it’s HAD to be because I can’t stop doing what I needed to get done.
So, am I just “better” this time around? Maybe a little, I know what to ignore and what to pay attention to, but really I’m not better than anyone else. I try to treat my body with respect and I ask it to do a lot but beyond that I’m just lucky. My pregnancy this time around has been easy, even easier than my first. I’ve been un-plagued by complications throughout all my pregnancies. I know I’m lucky. While it’s sometimes hard to feel lucky chasing after the other three kids (they like to tantrum one after another for a full afternoon of mommy drama) when I wish I could just be sitting somewhere ANYWHERE with my feet up I still know better than to judge someone elses situation just because it’s not like my own.
Just for the record this idea of NOT judging our fellow woman can be applied to ALL areas of motherhood: fertility, birth, feeding, discipline… anything. You just don’t know what someone had or didn’t have (past, present or in their future) to deal with at any given point.
So, Mamas of the world, you are all Goddesses. You are all amazing. Growing and carrying a life is an amazing feat–Bravo, you’re doing an amazing job. It’s hard work and I know one thing for certain: there is no man in the world who could shoulder the responsibility you have undertaken. 🙂