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35 Weeks

35 Weeks

Even though I’ve only completed 34 weeks, I’m supposed to say that I’m in my 35th week. And 36 weeks would actually be 9 months of pregnancy according to the lunar calendar, because pregnancy is actually 10 months, not 9. Of course, this confuses a lot of people, so it’s easier to say that I have 6 weeks left. Of course, that requires some simple math of counting backwards from 40, and if you can’t do that, I can’t be bothered to talk to you anymore.

I’ve been getting asked if I’m excited yet. And I’m not sure how to answer that. Is it wrong to not be excited?  Is it wrong to just feel content that everything is going ok so far? Babies are hard work. We didn’t plan this because we wanted babies, but you need to get pregnant to have babies, that turn into kids, so you can have a family. It’s a change of lifestyle that we’re willing to make to have a family. We didn’t get pregnant because we wanted babies, and I guess that sounds like a horrible thing to say. Babies are not always full of rainbows and bunnies and unicorns. Sometimes they will be, when you first see them smile, learn to crawl, laugh, sit up, smash pureed peas all over their face because they can’t find their mouths, walk, say their first word, or poop in a toilet. But most of the time, you’ll be changing diapers, sometimes 10-12 times a day, breastfeeding every 2-3 hours throughout the night every night for months, cleaning explosive diarrhea off your clothes, try to stop them from crying, or figuring out why they’re crying, worrying when they get sick, if they don’t put on enough weight, if they’re reaching all their milestones on time.

It also doesn’t mean we’re not going to like having a baby either (since it will be our baby). But I don’t have to love babies in general to love my own baby. Which is why I don’t listen to people anymore when they say to me, “No offense, but I can’t imagine you being a mother.” Which I’ve heard more times than I cared to. Am I going to be a bad mom because I don’t go gaga over other people’s babies or children? Because I don’t like changing diapers? Of course not. First of all, I don’t think anyone enjoys changing poopy diapers. And if they say they do, they are delusional. Secondly, why do you HAVE to like other people’s babies/children? I mean, I like some of them, and I don’t like others. Just like grown-ups, I like some and dislike others.

I just read a great comment from a reader replying to my last pregnancy post. She was talking about what she calls the ‘Pregnancy One-Upmanship’, where women seem to compare how much more awful their pregnancy was compared to yours. Even if you haven’t experienced pregnancy, you probably experience the one-upmanship in your everyday lives. “Oh, you only got 4 hours of sleep last night? Well, I only got 2 1/2, so beat that!” “Um…ok, I guess you win….?”

Along with the Pregnancy One-Upmanship, there’s the infamous ‘Labor & Delivery One-Upmanship’. Which can go both ways depending on how the game is played by the two opponents. Women can compare how awful and painful and hellish their L&Ds were (“I was in labor for 36 hours.” “Oh yea? I was in labor for 40 hours!”), or they exclaim how easy and stress-free and painless it was (“My labor only lasted 4 hours, and it was so easy, the baby just slid out of my body!” “Well, I was 10 cm dilated and didn’t even notice.”).

Last but not least, there is the ‘Motherhood One-Upmanship’ game. This will probably last your entire life if you bother to play it (which I don’t). Mothers are pressured to show the world how perfectly effortless motherhood is for them. There are the Stay at Home Moms vs. Working Moms, breast-feeding moms vs. formula moms, cloth diaper moms vs. disposable moms, vaccinating vs. non-vaccinating, feeding on a schedule vs. feeding on demand, and so on, and so on. Why do women feel the need to top each other? It doesn’t prove whether they’re a good mom or not. All it proves is that these women compare themselves to other women in order to justify what they believe they’re doing is right. In the end, who cares? Push aside all the unnecessary drama and do what you think is best for your children. That’s what a good mother would do. Sometimes I think this competitiveness is used to fill in all the gaps from the shock of acclimating to a new (sometimes boring, or redundant) lifestyle. Or because we’ve been going through life competitively because that’s what we’re raised to do. We start early in school; rather than getting an education, sadly we get trained for jobs. Therefore, we treat motherhood as a competitive job rather than a rewarding life experience.

It did bother me that so many people had the gall to tell me they didn’t think I’d be a good mother, or that they couldn’t imagine me being a mother. Of course, this is from people who aren’t parents either, so I know not to take it too seriously. But I asked my husband if he thought I’d be a good mother. Obviously, he thought I would, since he married me. But he did make a good point. Since my usual disposition is content, or neutral…indifferent even, I tend to look at things in more of a realistic rather than idealistic way, even before pregnancy. That doesn’t make me cynical though. So he thinks the transition will be smoother for me more so than, say, someone who expects certain things from motherhood but gets something overwhelmingly different, or maybe even disappointing. I expect to get very little sleep, to be utterly exhausted, to break from stress, to ask – ‘what did I get myself into?’, to be overwhelmed with cooking, cleaning, getting groceries, performing the once simple tasks that now take 10x as much time with a newborn, to cancel plans with people because things just aren’t working out at home, to look like a slob, to not shower as much as I’d like, to stop wearing makeup, etc. Hopefully, it won’t be like THAT all the time, but I do plan for it. Being a good mom doesn’t mean you need to be ecstatically joyous and happy 24/7. It doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes.

And that’s ok.

11 thoughts on “35 Weeks”

  • Aww – you put into perspective for me!

    As for the people who have the balls to say that you won’t be a good mom or imply anything like that – off with their heads! From the way you describe yourself, it sounds like you’ll raise one confident, secure, and witty human being.

    The one uppers are all over the place. Pregnancy and motherhood definitely bring them out of the woodwork though. (Moms also love to brag/shove their potty training stories down the throats of newbies too.) I threatened to smack some girl at the grocery store a few weeks ago… oops! (She did say how miserable I looked though.) I haven’t found a great way to deal with them yet as it really drives me nuts.

    We’re scheduled for a Csection on September 2nd my kid is breech and seems to have no interest in turning head down. When others find out about this, I get all kinds of pity looks and comments. “Oh, I’m so sorry.” etc. I’m NOT sorry!! Why are they sorry? I guess they figure that csections haven’t evolved at all and also you’re not as womanly unless you’re in the stirrups?

    Anyway, I appreciate your post. I’m feeling the same way. I’m excited for September 2 but please no sooner! Even though the last month for me (36 weeks and on) have been the least awesome – its the last me time for awhile, and I’m soaking it up!

  • You have the right attitude ! I have always said that babies are not all “butterflies and rainbows” … and it is a lot of work … and it is a lot of poop ! My youngest is just now about to turn 2 . I am just now finding myself in the position where I can start being kind to myself again. I can now take an extra few minutes to style my hair and put on makeup. I can dress a little cuter and carry a little purse instead of a big diaper bag (my oldest, who is five, carries a backpack with a couple of diapers for baby brother and some snacks for them both) … I can shave my legs, I can do my nails ….. I love my boys and my family. I am glad my boys are becoming more independent, able to walk, feed themselves … and the oldest is potty trained and can dress himself … Yay !

  • Sheila – I’d just smile and nod, and not continue those conversations any further. Sometimes I make the mistake of pretending to care about a topic and ask a question, in which I’m inundated with a plethora of advice I don’t care to take….so smile and nod. 🙂

    I hope everything goes well for you in the next couple weeks. C-sections don’t make your labor any less ‘womanly’. Anyone can end up in the same position as you and sometimes you just can’t control how your delivery goes. Hey, at least you know the exact day and method you’ll deliver, and can prepare for it. Good luck and enjoy your new baby! 🙂

    Lady P – Sometimes I wish I can just jump 5 years into the future and skip the diapers and all the extra work. I’m sure you must look at your boys and feel that all that hard work was worth it though. I guess I have to take the unpleasant experiences in order to witness the good ones, eh? 🙂

    Selena – I’ll check into that grocery delivery thing, thanks!

  • Can I just say I loved this post? It all rang so true for me. I am not pregnant and have no kids, but we’re headed that way and while I’m sure I want a family, I’m not at all sure I want a baby, or that I’ll be able to handle a baby, or that I won’t just get terrible buyers’ remorse and wish I could just put the baby back and forget the whole thing ever happened. Thanks for telling it like it is.

    And I don’t know what the deal is with all those mom one-uppers, but I do know just what you mean. Before I even thought of having kids I had a lady take one look at me and tell me I’d have a hard time in labor because I don’t have good baby-making hips like hers. Come again?

  • Jen – Oh really, you don’t have big enough hips?! I was told I had good child-bearing hips from numerous people, so I don’t know what’s worse 😛 Either way just know that nobody knows what they’re talking about. My MIL just told me about a 4’8″, 90 something lb. (pre-pregnancy weight) woman who gave birth to 4 kids and had easier pregnancies than people who were taller and bigger. So everyone’s different.

    Catrina – I’m glad to help! 🙂

  • I felt that same way you did. I’m not one of those women who ooh and aah at babies and never was much of a nurturing type and never gravitated to little kids. I felt that I would be fine with or without ever having a child. When the time was right, we made the decision to try but if I didn’t get pregnant, there wasn’t going to be any intervention. I now have a 5 year old who I absolutely love and adore and can not see my life without but that first year was total hell. I felt like I was in jail with no escape in sight. I usually tell people that it is the best and worst time of your life. The extreme in your emotions will be astounding. Now that she is older and more independent, life is better than ever but it is truly a sacrifice. If it is possible, make some time for yourself. And as far as pregnancy goes, I understand why people use surrogates! 🙂 Good luck with everything and prepare for the roller coaster ride. I didn’t think of freezing food! You are already so much more prepared that I was!

  • i’ve been reading your blog for months now and i just had to comment on this post…first of all congratulations on your pregnancy and i loved your post…it’s about time someone told it like it is, instead of making it seem like some kind of fairy tale. thanks.

  • Helen – ‘Best and worst time of your life’ is a good way of saying it. I get worried when people say they want life to go back to ‘normal’ eventually. What’s normal? It definitely will be a rollercoaster, and that’ll be the new normal.

    Designdiva – Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Definitely not a fairy tale…

  • YES!! YES!!! This is the most fantastic post EVER, Candy. You are soooo spot on about everything, from the one-uppers to the reality of what it’s like to have a baby. I wish I had your disposition, ideas, and feelings about motherhood when I was pregnant with Emma.

    And for what it’s worth, I think your baby is so lucky to have you as a mom and Chris as a dad. Not that it matters what I, or anyone else, think…but I think you’ll be an amazing mom.

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