For a long time now, a lot of people have been singing the high praises of pregnancy, making sure that everyone everywhere knows that they have divine feelings about a woman’s journey through creating life, and that they are ready/willing/and able to stand up on their pile of rocks and scream it to the masses.
Yay for them.
I’m not about to tell you they’re wrong, because, I don’t feel that way at all.
Being pregnant is a super special time in any mother’s life, but c’mon.
I think it’s also high time to get realistic about stuff, too, don’t you?
I mean, as radiant and beaming as all pregnant women are all of the time (not), it still seems to me to be a bit of a ruse to pretend that carrying a growing baby around in your guts for the better part of a year is some kind of glorious and remarkable feeling. The truth is, pregnancy is pretty damn exhausting and soul-sucking for a lot of women. And the fact that society seems to want to wave a condescending finger at any woman, or man, who dares to say that being pregnant just plain sucks a lot of the time, speaks volumes about certain ancient pedestals we the people continue to drag out of the pyramids every 20 minutes or so.
Look, I’ve been through three of these suckers now — not carrying a baby myself, of course, but walking alongside my wife, Monica, as she made the journey. And I can say without hesitation that I wouldn’t wish half of this pregnancy stuff on a drunken vampire hovering above me in my bed at night. (Yes, that has happened to me. Twice.)
Monica has carried the burden extremely well, of course, as do most women. It isn’t ever lost on people cooking up babies inside of their body that they are experiencing something that many, many other people only wish they could experience. I know this. You know this. But still, reality is reality and once you find yourself looking at the affirmative sign on a pee-pee test, the reality of the situation is that chances are real good that if you’re the pregnant one you are about to become a walking, talking physical mess.
That isn’t to scare anybody away from getting knocked up, either. I hope you know that. I love kids and with a third one due in about a month, I feel qualified to speak as a parent and a citizen and a thinking-man of the honest world. In order to experience the ubiquitous joy that is raising and knowing and loving a child, first you have to create him/her.
And that, friend, is where the wicked curve balls started getting tossed around.
Sure, the Mayans of long ago, or the cave people before them, may have gone to great lengths to use boar blood and sour clam clay and burnt-tipped stick pens to create all sorts of intriguing art depicting just how much they honored and respected the baby belly down the years. But I suspect that the truth is that by the time they got done with their flattering works of Godly high-esteem, they were too darn tired to get down to the nitty-gritty, to throw a little realism into the mix.
Maybe it’s time for someone to do that.
Maybe it’s time for someone to do a couple of paintings of a woman with bloated feet and frazzled hair, puking up her bacon-double cheeseburger (the ONLY thing she has any taste for!) all over the front dashboard of the car before she can even get off of the McDonald’s lot — all in the name of baby-making love.
Or perhaps a big bronze statue of a lady in worn-out stretch pants, her eyes ringed by circles of sleeplessness and utter fatigue might be a nice change for once, you know?
We could set her up, towering over the museum floor for everyone to see, a tottering behemoth with colostrum stains on her wife-beater, all tired eyes staring down at the people of Earth, her lips snapped into a snarl inspired by the fact that she isn’t even sure that she didn’t just wet her pants the last time she sneezed through the Breathe-Rite strip that has long since replaced the nice nose she used to enjoy back before her regular life got so muffed up.
Poor Monica. My wife has spent three different pregnancies battling not only the harsh physical elements of her own baby-saturated body, but also the completely ridiculous winters that have translated each of her nine-month pregnancy stints into dog years. By the time each one has run its course, and our baby was ready to be born, I wasn’t looking into the pretty blue eyes of an enchanted, spiritualized mother-in-waiting.
Oh hell no.
By the time we got to the end of the eternal race, with winter wolf-nipping at her heels and the cabin fever blues munching on her tired soul, I was staring into the hollow vacant eyes of a woman ravaged by not a second less than, like, four or five serious years of hauling a baby around inside of her. I’m serious! Believe me when I tell you this: nine months of autumn and winter pregnancy is equal to at least three years of real life. It’s scientifically proven! I mean, it HAS to be!
These days, as I watch my wife weather the inner baby storm blowing across the frozen prairies of her lower abdomen, as I watch her waddle-walk across the cold bathroom linoleum on her way to retch up the nine dollars worth of Chipotle she had so been looking forward to eating only an hour or so ago, I can’t help but lift my eyes to the dreary frozen sky and shake a fist up at all of the bullcrap that has been floated out into the world about how great and beautiful and powerful and sublime it is to be a pregnant lady here on Earth.
Because when we decide to get real about it, when we decide to let the truth speak for itself, at long last, there is no doubt in my mind that there are trillions of women around the globe who have been biting their cracked,chappy lips for far too long.
And it is time we heard them roar or whatever.
Yes, pregnancy leads to the greatest gift of all: sweet, innocent babies.
But for many women, it also sucks.
Like, a lot.
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