Monday, May 5, 2014

It's almost Mother's Day and everyone is pregnant.

I don't know if you knew this, but right now? Everyone is pregnant.

It's true. I know because I went to Safeway and saw nothing but pregnant women. I went to work and the new dishwasher is pregnant. Yes, I know she already has 8 kids, and sits outside on her break smoking cigarettes, but I asked someone else just to be sure and she is definitely pregnant. I went to the bank and the teller was pregnant. I went to get coffee and the barista was pregnant. I went to the gym and there was a pregnant lady exercise class going on. I went to Home Depot and even the MEN looked pregnant, but my husband assured me it's just beer that makes them look that way.

I get it. I don't have a uterus and you do, and what else are you supposed to do with that damn thing besides grow babies in there?

Sigh. I know. I get it.

Every Mother's Day I remember to be very grateful for my two healthy beautiful children, for the opportunity I have been given to celebrate this day, no uterus required. But it can be really hard to feel all the way grateful, because the fact is that I was never that glowing pregnant lady with sparkling eyes and apple cheeks in yoga pants and a cute little tank top at the grocery store. I was the one outside the grocery store in a pair of overalls and her husband's hoodie, with her head in the trashcan puking because of that horrible smell in the meat department.

Every so often I wish I could be given a do-over, and be able to appreciate the experience as the miracle that it was, instead of complain about it as if pregnancy was the plague it felt like.

That moment passes fairly quickly, because I remember all too well how sick I was, and how much my body ached, and how having a baby moving around inside of me totally creeped me out. I remember how I couldn't poop, and couldn't stop peeing, and couldn't eat and couldn't stop eating, and couldn't sleep and couldn't stop sleeping. I remember that I didn't feel like myself anymore. I looked and felt like a different person.

I was a different person, even before Max was born. Being a mom is like having multiple personalities. One part of you is suddenly responsible for someone else all the time, even when you are brutally hungover or "have the flu". You have to suck it up every day of your life, and though sometimes the facade might crack and a little bit of the real you shines through, like when that little shit on the playground takes your kid's truck, or when that girl breaks his heart, you are always the mom. Mom should be plural as far as I am concerned, because when you are a mom there is no "you" anymore. There is always a + one. As soon as I knew I was pregnant I instantly went from "Me" to "Mom". I put on big cotton panties and white cotton bras with wide straps and comfortable shoes and everything had an elastic waistband and voluminous amounts of fabric. It happened Just. Like. That. The real me, the "just me" version of me, became a closeted, secret personality. My heels were put high on a shelf. The shot glasses and soft cheeses disappeared. The short skirts and low cut blouses of "just me" couldn't contain the two of us. It's bizarre that, at the one time in my life when everyone could clearly see I was not a virgin, I started dressing like a nun.

Now that I am of a certain age, and the short skirts are getting longer, and the low cut tops are creeping upwards, I still look at pregnant women and think "lucky girl". And then I look around and remember that I have become a mother a dozen times over, and only once because I was pregnant. I need to be grateful for all of the paths that have led me to motherhood.

May is National Foster Care Month. If you are hoping to become a mother, please remember that it might not happen the way you expect it to, and it might not happen when you hope it will - but it can happen no matter what. You don't need enormous cotton underwear and mom jeans to be a mom - but you might want to wear them anyway because they are actually pretty comfortable.

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