Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pregnancy: The Ghost of Christmas Future

I am writing this entry at three o’clock in the morning. No, I’m not up with a sick child. No, I wasn’t out partying and am just getting to bed. No, I didn’t have a four-hour nap yesterday. No, I’m not even having trouble sleeping because I can’t get comfortable. Yes, I’m exhausted. But one of the joys of pregnancy (for me, anyway), is periodic bouts of insomnia.

It seems to me that a lot of the symptoms and discomforts of pregnancy serve to prepare a woman for having a small child. Pregnancy insomnia is practice for those long nights when the baby just won’t stop crying unless you’re walking up and down the hall with her in your arms, or for those nights when he wakes up every hour on the hour and wants to be held. Those funny leg twitches you get in the middle of the night give you practice jiggling a colicky baby on your knee for hours on end. Not being able to find a comfortable position to sit in gives you practice for finding the exact position in which the baby will finally relax and stop crying.

But above and beyond all those practice skills you’ll need in a few months, there are lots of discomforts that give a mother sympathy for a baby. What are the biggest complaints of a small baby? Gas and diaper rash. The boxes of Prilosec and giant bottle of Tums on my nightstand are proof that I have sympathy for any digestive issues, and between the hemorrhoids and the constipation, you’d better believe I have sympathy for any disorders of the “undercarriage”. Even the difficulties of eating – like feeling starved, but just not wanting to eat – are often echoed from pregnancy to newbornhood.

So instead of letting myself get frustrated at the heartburn, the soreness, and the exhaustion, I’m trying to think of everything the new baby will be going through and trying to fix this moment in my mind to give me patience when he or she is dealing with upset tummy, sore bottom, and tired crankiness.

And then I’m going to get myself some warm milk, sit in the rocking chair, and turn on some soft lullabies. After all, it works for the baby.

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