I am now working on my fifth pregnancy, which I personally find unbelievable. People who are pregnant for the fifth time are responsible, mature, and obviously capable of doing a great many things. I am not. I still feel like I'm about a decade younger than I actually am and still worry that one day someone's going to show up and ask who's really supposed to be running the show.
Having done this four times before, I am pretty familiar with the way things go during pregnancy. When each of the six medical practitioners I've visited with have asked if I have any questions I've waved them all off with a smile. "Nope, no questions here. It's pretty much the same each time."
So by now I'm fairly familiar with all of the stuff that comes with (normal) pregnancy. Getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Feeling the baby kick. When the pants stop fitting. How to deal with heartburn (I will forever love the person that invented omeprazole). How much weight I gain (not telling). Being tired a lot. Having sudden and random cravings for guacamole. Waiting for nine months for everything to creep downhill until I'm big, unwieldy, exhausted, and ready to get the baby out.
I am, unfortunately, not one of those women who just love being pregnant. I really wish I was. I would feel like a less nasty person if I was - after all I am growing a new life inside me and I should feel at least some awe about it. But fortunately, I am also not one of those people who are sick for nine months straight either. I would have a hard time going for repeats if that were the case.
So I'm somewhere in the middle. And although I don't have anything particularly horrible about any of my pregnancies - no vomiting, no bed rest, no painful contractions for months on end - I still have a lot of things that I just don't like. Bending over. By the end when I'm carrying around a watermelon I will do just about anything to avoid bending over which might explain the state of my house. Sleeping. Actually, I like sleeping. What I don't like is not being able to sleep through the night because no position in the world is comfortable for more than an hour and it takes a major effort to roll over. Exercising. I have grown weird enough that I actually enjoy having exercised in the morning (I still don't enjoy the exercising) and so I like to exercise until the bitter end (okay, and maybe I am a little prideful too). But boy howdy does it get really uncomfortable by the end. I'm not a fast runner normally, but these days I can't run any faster than four miles an hour and running that for half an hour makes me feel like I want to die the entire time.
But most of all, more than the physical discomforts and repetitive wardrobe and and everything else, I hate how grouchy I am when I'm pregnant. I hate how I lose my temper at the drop of the hat and take it out on my children. I hate that I start off my morning looking forward to a good day and by lunch everything is in smoking ashes and the children tiptoe around me so as to not set off another forest fire. I hate watching myself yell at them and knowing that I'm being a bad mom and not stopping myself. I hate sending Joseph and Edwin to naps without their story time because I just can't handle being with my children another minute. And I hate that it lasts for nine long months.
Not all days are bad of course. Some days go swimmingly well and everyone is practically singing songs at each other during lunch and Joseph and Edwin get tickles and kisses after their stories. Most days are somewhere in between with maybe a brief flare-up or a persistent gloomy cloud that never quite breaks into a storm. But some days are just plain awful and on those days I can barely make it to lunch.
I've gotten better over my pregnancies, better at keeping the schedule under control and myself in good order that the opportunities for flare-ups are less often. I try harder to look into Edwin or Sophia's eyes as they smile to cheer me up and let that smile melt my anger. I send myself into five-minute time outs. I let irritating things slide right by me without touching.
But I know all along that the anger is lurking underneath, waiting for a crack in my control to flare out and crisp everything around into cinders. And sometimes it isn't there lurking, it just comes out of nowhere which scares me even more.
I also remember, however, a time before I was pregnant when the anger just didn't exist. It had to be called for and sought instead of lurking in wait. And I know, after four long pregnancies, that that time will come again. In spring the flowers will come out and the birds will sing and the warm air will caress my toes and the grass will tickle the backs of my knees and a baby girl will come to nestle in my arm. And the anger will be a distant memory, gone with the endless dark cloudy days of winter, only a memory in the warm strong spring sunshine.