Some women simply love pregnancy and relish every minute of the maternity stage, from conception to birth. I am not one of those women. While I do enjoy the birthing experience (at least I did the first time) and believe the outcome—a precious child (or children)—is 110% worth the nine-month gestation period, being pregnant simply isn’t my favorite. I didn’t particularly love it the first time ‘round, and it has been even more difficult with twins. I’ve found myself complaining more than I should about everything from aches and pains, to my lack of mobility, to my persistent anxiety about the well-being of my babes.
Over the past few weeks I’ve felt convicted about my negative attitude toward pregnancy. I’ve been quick to forget how long I waited for the chance to be pregnant again, and how—less than seven months ago—my heart simply ached with longing each time I saw another woman’s beautiful baby bump.
Rather than begrudging the challenging aspects of pregnancy, I want to embrace this relatively short stage. So I have been choosing to focus on what I actually love about being pregnant, and will miss when it’s over. This is likely my last pregnancy (though Luke has been telling me he thinks he wants FIVE children?!), and I want to be able to look back on it with fondness and gratitude.
I decided to compile a list of some of the great things about being pregnant, and I plan to refer to this list every time I feel myself sinking into self-pity over my current whale-like state.
1. No longer having to worry about infertility. Though I knew at the time that infertility was miserable, I don’t think I fully understood the toll it was taking on me, my body, my faith, and my marriage until I finally got pregnant. After years of wondering if I could have more children, and not knowing whether or not our family was complete, having an answer (a BEAUTIFUL answer) to these questions has lifted an enormous burden from my shoulders. It’s nice to be done with the shots and pills, the incessant monitoring of my body, and the ever-present feelings of inadequacy, sadness, and shame over my inability to conceive.
2. Feeling my babies move around inside me. I love Love LOVE the little kicks and movements and hiccups, and it’s especially amazing with two babes! I like trying to guess which baby is “saying hi”, and it’s been fun to see what those movements actually look like during our ultrasounds. (One perk of a twin pregnancy is that we get LOTS of those.)
3. Dreaming about what my babies will be like. Once they’re here, the dreaming will end. For now it’s exciting to imagine what they will look like, what their little personalities will be like, and how wonderful it will be to hold two little ones in my arms.
4. Watching my belly grow. When I’m not pregnant, I do not enjoy watching my body grow and change as I get older, but that is not the case when there is a purpose (and a foreseeable end) to the change. I’ve enjoyed seeing my belly expand and am thankful for the ability to document its growth with weekly pictures. I’m sincerely shocked at how big it has already gotten and am excited—albeit a tad nervous—to see how much bigger this belly will get in the coming weeks.
5. Wearing fitted tops. I have one goal when selecting clothing for my non-pregnant body: conceal my stomach, which I’ve always considered my “problem area.” But when I’m pregnant, I’m more than happy to show off the bump, and I embrace the opportunity to wear tops that aren’t oversized. (I think this is also Luke’s favorite part of my being pregnant, as he’s always pushing me to stop dressing like a “hobo.”)
6. Not having to worry about a “food baby” after I eat. It’s the one time when a bloated stomach is not only socially acceptable, but desirable!
7. Experiencing first-hand the strength, stamina, and downright “weirdness” of the female body. I’ve spent most of my life fighting with my body—either because I was trying to make it smaller, or because I’ve wanted it to do things it couldn’t or wouldn’t do (like get pregnant). During pregnancy (and also in breastfeeding), I find myself making friends with my body as it shows me how strong and capable it can be. Pregnancy is such a bizarre yet beautiful phenomenon, and it’s amazing to get to be part of it.
8. Watching Charleston talk to his brother and sister, singing to them and giving them hugs and kisses through my tummy. He’s wanted a brother and sister for as long as he can remember and I love that his dream is finally coming true. I realize this might be the only time he gets along so well with his siblings, so I’m enjoying it while I can!
9. The excuse to take it easy. I’m not good at slowing down and resting, but when it’s doctor’s orders—and when my body literally won’t allow me to do as much as I normally do—I find myself relaxing, asking for help, and simply doing less. . . and it has been surprisingly nice!
10. My pregnancy brain chemistry. I discovered during my first pregnancy that something about the shift in hormones has a calming affect on my brain. When pregnant, I still have plenty of pregnancy-related fears, but I experience some relief from the non-situational anxiety, depression, and OCD that are normally my constant companions. Although these psychological bullies don’t go away completely during pregnancy, they are much more manageable. It’s as though my brain knows it can’t handle the stress of being pregnant while in its usual chaotic state, so it makes adjustments—for which I am very grateful.
11. Seeing a chiropractor. This is an indulgence we can’t financially justify under normal circumstances, but weekly chiropractic sessions have become a necessity this pregnancy. They feel amazing, and I’ll miss them once the babies are here.
12. Feeling zero guilt about asking Luke for a back massage. Thanks, Love! You’re the best!
13. Carrying an instant conversation starter (in the form of my expanding stomach) around with me at all times. I generally dislike smalltalk, so it’s nice to have a default topic of conversation with strangers and people I haven’t seen for a while. When people learn I’m carrying twins, they always have a story to share—either they are a twin, or know someone who is. They can’t wait to tell me about it, and I can’t wait to hear!
14. The opportunity to talk about pregnancy and share birth stories with other women. These were sensitive issues for me during our period of infertility, which is sad because I actually love discussing everything related to pregnancy, birth, and life with a newborn. It’s so nice that these topics are no longer taboo. From weird pregnancy ailments to gory birth stories to funny baby anecdotes . . . I enjoy hearing others’ stories and sharing some of my own.
15. Knowing I can keep both my babies safe and with me at all times. I’m a little terrified about all that caring for twins will entail. For now, it’s nice to know that they are both safe and sound inside of me. An added bonus is that I can “hold” and love on all three of my children at once which will likely be a lot harder once the babies are on the outside.
16. Going into Nesting Mode. We’re having fun setting up our nursery, sorting through baby clothes, taking birthing classes, and getting everything ready for the twins. It’s the calm before the storm and I’m savoring every minute.
17. The feeling of empowerment that comes with knowing I’m doing something few women have. A lot of women have babies. Far fewer carry and give birth to twins. Every time I find myself frustrated with how hard this pregnancy has been, Luke reminds me that it is hard, that it’s supposed to be hard, but that I’m doing a good job. Hearing him say that—and believing it for myself—feels really good.
18. Participating in the miracle of growing new life. God is the creator of life, and in carrying His precious ones inside of me, He is allowing me to participate in the act of co-creation. That thought is simply mind-boggling to me, and more than a little humbling. I recognize what an immense gift it is to be able to carry ONE child, let alone TWO. Many women never get to experience this blessing. For a while, I didn’t think I would get another chance at it myself. But here I am, at the center of this miracle, and to view it as anything other than a gift would be arrogant and ignorant, the ultimate act of ingratitude. Even now, without ever having laid eyes on my beautiful babies’ faces, I already love them with all that is in me. And I love that I get to enjoy life with them before they even enter this world!
If you are pregnant, or have ever been pregnant, what is your favorite part of carrying a baby? What is the one thing you will miss when your pregnancy days are behind you?