It was my son’s 6th birthday the other day, and as most mothers do…I happily trotted down memory lane. First, I visualized the delightful delivery, as posted prior to this entry. Then, I started to think about all the disgusting and glorious challenges of my pregnancy. I searched through some of my letters I wrote to my son, hoping to find the one I was looking for. (I have been writing letters to both of my kids as soon as I knew they were cooking inside of me.)
I found that one letter I remember writing so vividly (funny, can’t remember any others…but I remember this one!). After reading through it, I wondered if my son would ever heed my direction on this subject. In my eighth month of pregnancy (or so, actually I lost track around then…second child syndrome), I decided I needed to educate my fetus about the fulfilling, yet ‘turn your world upside down and shake the hell out of it’ journey of growing a human being within one’s body. I assume at some point in his adult years, he will be married with a pregnant lovely wife (that I hand picked). I visualize him frantically flying through my letters, desperately looking for my expert advice and perfect wisdom on the matter at hand. The urgency will be intense, as his adoring perfect wife will suddenly…out of nowhere… turn into a raging hormonal mess of a woman.
With that said, the letter went something like this:
Dear precious crazy kicking kid,
It is my great desire to share with you all the wisdom of the most miraculous and maddening journey you and your wife will ever endure, experience, and embrace.
Creating a child.
Please read these tips very carefully, and very slowly. Then memorize them. Then stick them in your wallet as a reference when you find yourself in an urgent situation. I may not cover all of the issues that your adoring wife experiences, because every woman is different and has their own battle of the baby to fight. I will, however highlight those issues that I believe are of great significance to your perfect princess….no more.
I will make this clear and to the point, as I am well aware of a man’s mind. Stay with me, dear son. Stay with me.
1. You have lost your wife, and you will never find the woman you married again. Pregnancy changes women. PERIOD. You must find it deep in your heart to accept this and support her. You must also find a way to change with her. Do NOT fight it. She will transform on a daily basis, and within hours or even minutes you will not know the woman you married. These tweaks of marriage are the grooming of a fundamental shift in your wedded bliss. Two very powerful things will control her actions, thoughts and feelings: Her hormonal fluctuations and her desperate need for survival. You will NEVER understand this, so please don’t tell her you understand! Oh don’t you dare.
2. Now that we have established that your wife is no longer who you thought she was… lets look at who she will be. You must be her rock. You must allow the waves of the trauma tide to flow in and out, and hold her through it all.
- She will loose sight of everything that is rational.
- She will need odd food choices and will demand them immediately.
- She will be angry and sad and happy at the same time.
- She will often find herself in a state of future planning terror.
- She will be selfish and believe there is nothing more important than her and her growing baby within.
- She will cry at every Hallmark and Folgers commercial.
- She will get irritated at the smallest things.
- She will hate you and love you and freak out quite often.
- She will put you second to her baby for the rest of your life.
3. I’m sorry to share that her body will be changing as well. Please, please, PLEASE do not acknowledge this unless she does!
- Her oh so tender voluptuous breasts are off limits unless she says so. (May be a good few years, if she nurses)
- Her weight will go up, as you would expect, however the weight will not be just where the baby is. DO NOT acknowledge this! Only compliment her, even if she bites back.
- She will have the following physical issues (but not limited to): Headaches, backaches, breast tenderness, severe nausea, cramping and growing pains, constipation, utter fatigue, leg cramps, skin issues, varicose veins, swelling (anywhere), tender gums, constant hunger, and complete insomnia.
- Hemorrhoids. They will stay with her. Sorry.
4. As the pregnancy continues, she will get worse. I never really experienced that “comfort mid-trimester zone” so don’t count on it. She will need the highest of maintenance through out the entire pregnancy. Please, see to it that she is your priority! You have to step up and be the rational, healthy, stable one. It’s all up to you… during this nine month gestational time period, in no way shape or form are you allowed to complain of anything.
5. TIMES YOUR DAD SHINED!
- When he talked me down from my emotional ledge, as I was convinced he was having an affair with a lady at work that can wear heals. He held me while I sobbed.
- When he came home with daisies and donuts.
- When he held my hair while I violently vomited.
- When he stayed up with me all through the night, only to have the pain go away by morning. (Just in time for work)
- When he JUMPED every time I said FOOD
- When he didn’t tell me how horrible “down there” looked, and loved me just the same. (Please see: THINGS I WISH YOUR DAD DID)
- When he exemplified great patience, endurance, and tolerance every step of the way…. when he was there. (Lets face it, you get breaks, she doesn’t. Remember that!)
6. THINGS I WISH YOUR DAD DID…
- Carry the pregnancy.
- Tell me when my shaved bikini line was off. You see, your wife won’t be able to see herself “down there” by her later months. That is when “guesswork happens in the shower”. After I delivered your sister, much to my surprise… I found a forest and a desert all in one spot. (Please see TIMES YOUR DAD SHINED) (I know this is embarrassing to you, for that I am sorry.)
- Worked a job for both of us, because packing 5 grocery bags a day full of food to go to work, was quite laborious. Not to mention, some mornings I couldn’t get off the kitchen floor.
- Held my hair back EVERY time I puked. Not really fair to him, but damn I wanted him to “go there” with me every time.
- Came home with more donuts…and daisies.
And son, if you could remember anything out of this letter… know her favorite food and her favorite flowers. (Both can change in an instant)
And bring them home regularly.
***I believe you probably only skimmed through this letter quickly with the attention of a child on red food dye, so I did what any wise mother would do and put the urgent instructions in bold. Praying they popped out and you caught one or two. Good luck dear son! Godspeed…