After my last pregnancy, I said I was done. I didn’t think, at the time, that I would want to go through another pregnancy and birth, and I was looking forward to the possibilities of adopting our next baby instead. In the three years since then, I came to realize that adopting a newborn would be even more difficult and unlikely than I thought, and while adopting an older child is something that appeals to me in the future, I still wasn’t done with the baby stage. I wanted another newborn, another opportunity to breastfeed my baby and co-sleep and do all of the things that aren’t usually possible with an adopted child.
And so, after much deliberation, we decided to go for a third pregnancy. (I say third, but really, it’s my fourth because of my first pregnancy loss). I hoped that this time, I could find something to make my pregnancy more pleasant by combatting the debilitating nausea that I’d suffered through previously. It’s possible that if that had worked, I would have wanted to get pregnant again after this! But, unfortunately, nothing that I tried helped with my nausea, and in fact this has been my most unpleasant pregnancy yet. That’s why I can say with confidence that this is my last pregnancy—as far as I have control over it, I will not be bringing any more children into the world.
Knowing this is my last pregnancy, I’ve been thinking about the things I will miss—and to be honest, even more so the things I won’t miss! So here is my list of five things I will and will NOT miss about being pregnant.
1. I will not miss feeling sick.
Some women have wonderful pregnancies and feel great when they are pregnant. Others have mild discomforts, often most pronounced during the first and third trimesters, but still feel good overall. And some women just feel like crud during pregnancy. You might guess which category I fit into!
For this pregnancy, I was extremely nauseous from about 5 weeks in through 17 weeks, and after that it improved slowly but never fully went away. Even now at 36 weeks I feel somewhat nauseous on and off most days. I never feel fully “well.” In truth, I can’t remember what that even feels like! On occasion, I worry that I will never feel normal again, because somehow I didn’t realize that this is normal. (Welcome to my weird mind).
At least I am glad that my pregnancy sickness hasn’t been worse. Pregnant women with true Hyperemesis Gravidarum (which I suspect I have a very mild case of) typically vomit excessively during pregnancy and suffer from intense nausea, sometimes throughout the entire length of their pregnancy. I have been fortunate that I haven’t experienced any vomiting at all this pregnancy, and while my nausea has lasted the entire time, it hasn’t been severe in the second half of my pregnancy. So at the very least, I am grateful for that!
2. I will not miss having heartburn.
Aside from the nausea, my other biggest complaint has been heartburn. It’s something I experienced with both of my previous pregnancies, and this one is no different. The heartburn isn’t severe or constant, but it’s very frequent and unpleasant. It also limits the kinds of food I can eat, which is no fun. I can’t enjoy some of my favorite things like spaghetti or pizza, because of the tomato sauce. If I do decide to indulge anyway, I pay for it. I am definitely looking forward to being able to enjoy a big bowl of baked ziti shortly after my daughter’s birth!
3. I will not miss being physically restricted.
Some of my favorite activities are things I cannot enjoy during pregnancy. Horseback riding, hot yoga, bicycling, rollerblading, kick-boxing… most of those are unsafe during pregnancy, or if not, quite unappealing. Prenatal yoga just isn’t the same as an hour-long butt-kicking yoga class that I would normally enjoy. Even walking isn’t something I enjoy during pregnancy, because of how sick I feel. My exercise right now mainly comes from cleaning the house! While I do actually enjoy cleaning, I still miss my normal physical activities. And aside from that, being pregnant makes everything physically harder, because maneuvering with a bowling ball strapped to one’s belly just isn’t easy. Simple tasks like picking up a box or bending down to pick something up are now herculean efforts. Suffice to say, I will not miss having to share my body 24/7.
4. I will not miss the endless waiting.
Nine months may not be a long time in the grand scheme of things, but it’s still long! I know many people, myself included, feel like COVID has been a huge part of all of our lives for a long time now—this pandemic feels very long. But guess what? It’s only been affecting most of us since about March. That’s six months. I’ve been pregnant longer than that. So yeah, pregnancy feels very long to me.
All of that to say I will not miss the endless waiting that is part of pregnancy. Building a tiny person is a huge project, for sure—and it’s pretty miraculous we can do that in only nine months! But it can feel very slow, waiting for a baby to be formed in your body and finally be born. At the end, I seem to enter a time-warp in which every minute feels like an hour and my “due date” approaches slower by the day. Waiting for birth to begin, having no idea if it will happen at 37 weeks or 42, is challenging for me. It’s a huge life event, adding a new person to one’s family and meeting one’s child for the first time! And we don’t get to know when it will happen. That’s a recipe for anxiety.
5. I will not miss the monumental task of giving birth.
Birth is amazing. I am a birth educator, and I am passionate about childbirth! But for me, birth has not been easy. It has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I approach it with positive anticipation, not fear—and yet I know it will push me to the very limits of myself. It’s a big undertaking, plain and simple. Worth it completely, but still at times overwhelming to consider. And while I am not afraid of the birth process, and I trust that all will work out according to God’s plan, that doesn’t mean I am above complications. Facing the inherent risk of pregnancy and birth takes courage. I will be glad when I no longer need that courage. Of course, all of life has inherent risk, and so my courage will still be needed to face other things… but at least this one will be checked off of my list.
And now, onto the things I will miss about being pregnant.
1. I will miss knowing my child from the start.
Pregnancy is an incredible honor. The ability to be a vessel for the creation of another human being, an eternal soul—it’s mind-blowing! Parents come to be parents by many forms, and pregnancy is just one of them, of course. One of the blessings of having a biological child is that they are with you from the very start. I will not have to wonder what my baby lived through before I became her mother, because I am already her mother. As I look forward to the adventure of adoption one day, I know that I will not have this privilege for my future children. I won’t know what they were exposed to or what they experienced before me. I won’t be able to protect them from harm until they are in my life, and that is going to take a whole new level of trust and dependence on God to work through. It’s a new stage of growth that I look forward to… all the while, being thankful that at least for this child, I get to be intimately involved with her life from the moment it began.
2. I will miss feeling my baby move in my belly.
There are few better feelings in the world to me than the feeling of my unborn child moving inside my belly. It’s a constant reminder that she’s in there, getting ready to meet me on the outside. From the very first tiny flutter to the biggest wiggles near the end, those movements are a promise that my baby really is in there, that she is real. Sometimes, those movements are the only thing that makes my pregnancy feel worth it; it means that I’m doing this for my child, that I’m not just sick and tired and growing a huge tumor on my abdomen, which is what it can sometimes feel like! Baby movements are one of the best parts of pregnancy, for sure.
3. I will miss my baby bump.
Now, some pregnant women dislike the “getting bigger” aspect of pregnancy. They are certainly entitled to that opinion! But for me, I’ve always enjoyed watching my body change and my belly grow during pregnancy. I think pregnancy is beautiful, and pregnant bellies are a sign of the amazing life forming within. It’s a joyful thing, for me! I love catching a glimpse of my bump in the mirror as I walk by, or noticing my shadow has a different shape. Despite everything, I still sometimes forget that I’m pregnant and the visual reminders make me feel excited again about meeting my baby soon.
4. I will miss the special attention.
At few other times in life is an impending blessing so noticeable to others. It’s impossible to hide the fact that we are welcoming a new child into our family soon, and as such, people often feel free to congratulate me or otherwise show interest in my pregnancy. Some pregnant moms hate this, but I find it fun. It is something to celebrate, and I appreciate the kindness of strangers to share in my joy. The knowing smiles when I see other pregnant moms are also fun, like we’re in a special club… which we are!
5. I will miss the experience of childbirth.
Yes, this one is on both sides of the list! That’s probably the most accurate way I can encompass my feelings about birth. Because I truly will not miss it when I am done, but I also will miss it terribly. It has been the most amazing experience of my life, giving birth twice so far. I try to explain it to my birth education students sometimes, but my words are always inadequate. For me, birth is the highest moment of life. That moment of triumph, holding your baby for the first time, seeing his or her precious face finally out in the world; it’s amazing beyond words. The birth process, for me, is incredibly challenging, but it’s also wonderful in its unearthly way. I go to a place that I only get to go during birth, and I find things about myself and about God that change me for the rest of time. Wow, what an experience! This is why I love birth, and why I am so looking forward to doing it one final time. I want to treasure the experience as much as I can, because truly, there is nothing else like it on earth. Of course, the very best part of birth is the end result—a precious child to love and cherish.
So there you have it! I am incredibly happy to say that this is my last pregnancy, and I am ready to move on to other experiences in life. At the same time, there are things I will miss, and I have truly enjoyed the experience despite the challenges.
I may be meeting my daughter in just over a week! Or, it may be almost six weeks until I get to see her precious face and hold her in my arms. Either way, I’m ready for what comes, as much as I can be. Please pray for my birth to go smoothly and safely, and stay tuned for my birth announcement coming soon! Amelia will be here before we know it. ?