Thursday, May 12, 2011

In Theory and In Practice

For some reason, my husband and I were discussing Yogi Berra quotes the other day, and we agreed that one of his best is, “In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.”

In theory, I love being pregnant. Bringing a new life into the world, feeling a baby grow and move inside my body, watching my own body change and ready itself to sustain a new life – it’s amazing and humbling! In practice, being pregnant can be pretty miserable. Nausea, heartburn, constipation, headaches, incontinence, mood swings, hemorrhoids, itching in places that should never itch, swollen ankles, skin turning dark in weird places, stretch marks, skin tags – it’s amazing that any woman volunteers to go through it more than once.

But here I am, one of those women who voluntarily, intentionally, and determinedly is going through it a second time. And if you’re wondering why, after that list of symptoms, rest assured that at times I wonder why myself. But here’s the answer that I come up with every time: pregnancy may be nine months of misery interspersed with moments of joy, but motherhood is a lifetime of joy interspersed with moments of misery. From that first moment in the hospital when they laid Ryan on my chest and I looked into that tiny, perfect face, I forgot about any of the sickness and pain I’d gone through to reach that point. And even now, as I’m in the midst of the unpleasant symptoms, I can look forward to the moment when I meet this baby for the first time and know that once again, all the memories of my current discomfort will melt away.

Everything is always easier in theory. It’s predictable, it’s fixable, it’s all laid out and nothing is unexpected. But in practice, life throws you curve balls. The symptoms that responded to medications last time don’t respond this time. I have symptoms I never had before. My expectations of what I’d encounter and how I'd deal with it are completely off target. With a second pregnancy, theory gave me a false sense of security about what I was in for, and practice deflated my confidence and made me start all over again from the beginning. But with a second pregnancy, I also have the foreknowledge of exactly how amazing motherhood will be – with the first pregnancy, I only had the theory, but with this one, I have the practice. And in this case, the practice is so much better than the theory!

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