There is nothing normal about pregnancy. Everything, I mean absolutely everything, is out of whack. Today, I was running late for a flight and for a second I forgot I was carrying a little person inside me and began to run. Soon I realized running is not something that comes easy anymore and heavy breathing becomes an automatic reaction. Who the heck am I? And why the hell am I breathing like I just ran a freaking marathon? This sucks. This is not fun and is certainly not warm and freaking fuzzy all the time. I adore my kid and everything he makes me feel but I must be honest- I do not love pregnancy.
Just last week I had one of the most embarrassing moments of my career as I approached a podium to present an award to the Houston Chronicle at an event. Just before my turn, a survivor shared her story and her words, like those from many other survivors who I’ve worked with, touched me. No difference there except this time around I’m pregnant. As soon as I reached the podium a knot began to form in my throat and yes, you guessed it- I began to tear up for no damn reason. I was in shock because I’m not a person who likes to cry in public and in my nearly 5 years of working with survivors this had never happened. Embarrassment is an understatement. I kept looking down at my belly and wanted to say, “WTH Kid, seriously? This is when you decide to make me cry?”
Crying in public becomes a big deal when you work with a group of women who rarely share their emotions out in the open. No, this doesn’t mean we are dead inside but we just rather share those emotions in a different forum and comfort. For some I think it’s embarrassing, other may associate crying with weakness and vulnerability. I rather do in the privacy of my home, with my pillow or on a friendly shoulder but definitely NOT in front of more than 50 people. I don’t have a problem with crying but I’m used to controlling when and where it happens. I believe crying can help us heal, cope and survive. It makes us feel more human. It just sucks when you cannot control it. This is the first time hormones (the emotional crappy ones) take over and I’m afraid this will not be the last time.
I’ve always had respect for women in general but now that respect has been taken to another level. The changes a woman must go through during pregnancy are beyond comprehension and truly remarkable. I think of my grandmother who gave birth to 7 children, my mother who raised my brother and I on her own, my sister who lost her baby Malaya, my friend Concepcion who had several miscarriages before giving birth to her little girl, my friend Roxy who had a rough pregnancy because of her health, my friend Jessica who gave birth to twins, and all the women who wish more than anything to have a child but are not able. I also think of those who chose not to. I have so much more respect for every single one of them.
There are so many other things that make me feel so far from normalcy but if everything was normal I wouldn’t be able to feel the kicks and flutters inside my stomach. Calmness takes over when I see my belly move and the kid reacts to my touch. I imagine a voice saying, “Everything will be okay Mommy.” I smile and suddenly abnormal doesn’t feel so bad after all.