You have no control over, well, anything. Spoiler alert: I am apparently a control freak. It was news to me.
For someone who is used to driving the bus (you know – make a plan, work hard towards the goal, results, etc) it is damn near impossible to fathom what is actually happening to me. Because it is happening TO me, my plans be damned.
Intellectually, I believe I am being given the lessons I need. Not only to be a mom, but to be a better person. My head knows this. But my ego is fighting like hell. To the death. And maybe in some ways it is ‘to the death’. The death of my former self. The death of who I was so certain that I was. I’m not a mom yet, but I’m not the old me either. This inevitable fact is being held up to me like a cracked mirror that I can’t look away from. It’s right there, in my face, every day. My body is changing. Gone are the days of – go for a couple of runs, take a few yoga classes, eat right, and voila, I look like an athlete (and feel like an athlete). Gone are the days of chipper, enthusiastic, “can do attitude” Maggie. Some days I am so tired, I can’t get off the coach. Some days I intend to go for a walk (running is no longer an option with this belly!), instead I take a nap. Then I berate myself for “being lazy”.
I have zero control over what I look like.
Beyond having a less than ideal body type (unless you are into women with beer bellies), it’s more than that. People don’t tell you. Or maybe they do tell you but you don’t listen b/c you can’t conceive that any of this will actually happen to you. Your hair changes – my blonde highlights have taken on the hue of Hot Cheetoes. Your skin changes – during the first trimester I had dermatitis (lovely red dry patches) on my face. The list goes on.
I have zero control over what I feel like.
Your back hurts. Your feet swell. Your stomach muscles make room for the baby, but not without some excruciating growing pains. You can’t lie on your back when you sleep b/c you’ll block a major artery that runs down your right side. Which brings blood to your legs. And to the baby (no guilt there!!). And sleeping on your side brings no relief b/c there is this giant stomach attached to you, pulling at you. You wake up in the middle of the night with Charlie Horses so insufferable, you begin to think you can bear the actual labor.
And then the mental abuse starts. Everyone knows about how we go half crazy every once in awhile from the hormones (My alter ego has a name: Cruella de Vil). But it’s more than that. I beat myself up for even having any of the above complaints. I tell myself I should simply be grateful that I’ve got a baby coming (and I am beyond grateful). I tell myself I should just go with the flow. That I should intuitively know how to do this. Mother’s instinct and all that. I beat myself up for anything and everything. For not being in control. For being a failure. For being so clueless & incapable (even though I’ve never done it before, so why WOULD I know!?). For not being good enough. Not Perfect enough. Not Proficient enough. Magically.
But the honest truth is: I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to be pregnant, much less a mom. I’ve never known less than I do right now. I’m not trained for this. Need a business plan? Need a spreadsheet forecasting how we’ll get to budget? Need management skills? Need tips on how to write an essay or a blog? No problem. No sweat.
But this? This is the ultimate test of giving up control. Getting me ready for what comes next – a real live baby, which will definitely let me know I am not in charge. But Damn it! I like to feel in charge. I like to believe “I got this”.
I don’t got this. I seriously don’t got this. And that leads to self-doubt. Which leads to more self-loathing. Which doesn’t serve me, I know, but that’s intellectualizing it again. My heart knows I’m not in charge. My body knows I’m not in charge. But my ego, and my intellect are not going down without a fight. Cage Match style.
And then suddenly, the baby inside me kicks me HARD, like he/she is kicking my ass across the ring. It’s a little reminder – “hey You! Stop being hard on yourself. It’s a waste of time. All you can do is go along for the ride. B/c I’m in charge, you see?! And from where I’m sitting you are growing me just right. So chill out.”
The mental chatter recedes and I put my hand on my belly and wait for another kick. Oof. It makes me smile. I am learning lessons from this child already.