Great Expectations: Elizabeth @ 21 Weeks

IMG_1707.JPGHello from week 21! (Or, by the time this is posted, almost 22 – time flies.) This post is going to seem off-topic for a bit, but bear with me. Years ago, I discovered that a woman who had been using my computer didn’t sign out of her email account. We were both teaching abroad and had only known each other for a few weeks, and I was beginning to suspect that she didn’t actually like me but was instead using me for my beachfront apartment. So, I did something I have only done twice in my life – I snooped. (The other time was the quintessential childhood Christmas present sneak peek, which predictably ruined the fun of Christmas that year.) I searched her sent emails for my name, and found several scathing reviews of my character. I was shocked, but I didn’t regret it. First, it saved me from playing host to an ungrateful and inconsiderate human for the next nine months. Second, it revealed how others – not all, but some – interpret me as a person. I have used this revelation to inform my actions many times in the years since then, so perhaps I owe her a debt of gratitude for helping me grow in this particular area, despite how unfair it felt at the time.

Basically, she thought that I was a complainer. A big, fat, annoying, woe-is-me complainer. I was shocked! I have always considered myself a glass-is-half-full person; I love seeing the bright side of things and I’m quite good at grinning and bearing things when I have to. However, I am also a very practical person and I can see both sides of every equation, usually dispassionately. I don’t see any reason to sugarcoat things, and it’s common for people with my personality type (ENFJ for you Meyers-Briggs lovers) to lay it all out there. So, what I think of as making observant statements about the reality of any situation, others see as complaining. Fair enough. I have worked to keep this tendency in check – one of my many efforts toward being a more graceful person – but it doesn’t always work.

It occurs to me that I have not handled my pregnancy very gracefully so far. Although my 19 week rant about the obnoxious questions I faced from a particular individual was valid, and possibly even humorous, in retrospect I feel embarrassed that I didn’t express more grace in that situation. Also, I have been pretty vocal about my various symptoms, because they are the most obvious effect of being pregnant to me, but I’ve been relatively silent on the positive. So I’d like to spend the rest of this post expounding on the top ten reasons being pregnant is awesome.

1) My body is amazing! I am literally building another human from scratch right now, and when she’s complete my body will shift and open to let her out. We don’t generally think of bones as being particularly flexible, so let’s all take a moment to hail the mighty pelvis.

2) My skin and hair and nails are the best they have ever been.

3) I not only feel comfortable wearing clothes that hug my stomach for the first time in forever, but I actually feel like it’s a fun and flattering look. Who doesn’t love a baby bump?

4) I have the perfect built-in excuse for everything. No one questions a pregnant woman who says she’s tired, or who is a bit grumpier than usual, or who eats a bucket of sweet potato fries with a side of ranch for lunch. (I actually did this with very health-conscious colleagues the other day; they not only didn’t bat an eye, they encouraged it!)

5) I know for sure that Carson is stuck with me forever now, or at least for the next five years. (During pre-marriage counseling, the therapist said something that I LOVED: “If you have a kid, neither of you is allowed to even say the word ‘divorce’ for five years. Those are five crazy years, and they will sometimes be miserable, but they don’t last forever and you owe it to yourselves and your kid to stick it out.”)

6) I can rub my belly with abandon and no one cares.

7) I have gotten enough positive love and attention from all walks of life to fill my coffers until they are overflowing. I don’t know if pregnant women are this celebrated everywhere in the world, but I hope so.

8) Pregnancy has accelerated the urgency of our home remodel, so things are getting done quickly.

9) Being pregnant and thinking about becoming a mother has encouraged me to do a lot of work on some unhealed past trauma, and I have never felt healthier emotionally.

10) At the end of it all, there’s a baby! We are so excited for her, not only as a daughter but as a granddaughter, niece, cousin, and friend to add to our growing family tree. There are a lot of people waiting to love baby Mae.

Photo: I was at a conference in Austin all week and I got a colleague to snap this super awkward picture to document me at 21 weeks… you know, just chillin’ with the street art.

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