on having a baby

 I thought it would feel more foreign than it does, the realization that there are two sets of bones and muscles and two hearts inside my one body that until 22 weeks ago, I occupied alone. But it's not foreign, and I suppose that is the most surprising part of being pregnant. The fact that it's really not strange, it's not strange at all. 

The sickness is not something to laugh about, though it's portrayed that way in sitcoms and internet memes. You deal with it - you put on a brave face, you hide almost, for months until it subsides. And nothing - no food or medicine will help. Just time. The small things, like a fever or a headache are magnified. The cold is is colder and the hot hotter, and the sweet sweeter. And it's all for this little stranger you're harboring. A stranger that you know will become your best friend someday, because your mom is your best friend, and if you play your cards right maybe you'll be half as good as she was? Or at least that's the prayer. My prayer.

I get a weekly email update on the status of the baby which yes, is a girl. I had no idea, but a baby girl is born with all of the eggs she will ever have. Which means, (at the risk of sounding weird) that she is basically equipped to become a mother herself someday from the moment she is born. That might be obvious to most people, but it had never crossed my mind. I know a lot of women feel trapped in a role because of their gender. I have felt it myself at times. The inequality, the unfairness of it all. Men get things we don't. It's a tough pill to swallow. But discovering this fact about her body was a revelation. Because if she is born with those traits, then that means I was born with those traits too. Carrying around inside of me this power that I never really considered until I did. No matter how inexperienced or inadequate I may feel. No matter how shallow and immature I am at times, it's a gift. A terribly complex and painful and heartbreakingly sweet gift. 

It's still me in there too. I never wanted to lose myself. But if we're being honest, through this whole experience I haven't felt really like I'm losing anything. I'd take the weight and the nausea and the fatigue. Because I get her out of it. And I get to find new pieces of myself too. Pieces that I guess were always there but that I didn't know existed. I can't even imagine how complete it will feel once she's actually here.

There's a lot of negativity out there about children and pregnancy and I bought into it for a long time. But don't let yourself be fooled like I was. Because it's a miracle. Every day.