1. The love handles that haunted me pre-pregnancy are now cleverly disguised beneath my baby bump. Ergo, they have failed to exist.
2. I’ve gained thirty pounds, waddle when I walk, and am still being referred to as “adorable.”
3. The bowl of hot fudge topping I am presently enjoying sans ice cream (or anything hot fudge topping should actually go on top of) at ten o’clock at night. (Chocolate makes happy babies – it is well-documented; therefore, consumption is guilt-free. Besides, what are prenatal vitamins for?)
4. The daily sink full of dishes being done (if inexpertly) by my loving husband. Who got me into this mess in the first place. (Just kidding.)
5. The tummy kicks and tickles that thrill, shock, and sometimes knock the breath out of me. It sort of reminds me of whichever Alien installment Sigourney Weaver births a, well, baby alien. (I’m assuming I didn’t make that part of the movie up.)
6. The tiny clothes. And diapers the size of my hand. And all things lace, ruffles, pink and pastel. (A welcome change from the trucks, army men, fifteen light sabers and Lego pieces littering my home.)
7. Baby blankets with a softness that puts Snuggies to shame.
8. Invincibility. No one asks me to do anything (that requires physical labor, that is), things get done for me, without question, and if I lose my temper, or feel like mouthing off, or need a good cry, I can blame it on the hormones. (Not that I have ever taken advantage of that…Can I use “lack of chocolate in my system” as a valid excuse postpartum?)
9. Having an instant ice breaker when encountering strangers, whether it’s the lady at the dry cleaners, the guy outside the coffee shop taking his smoke break, or the waitress at lunch. (But please don’t touch. I’m a hands-off kind of girl when it comes to strangers and my personal space.)
10. Hearing Hubs call her by name, Bug kissing my belly and saying, “I love you, baby sister!” and watching her slide effortlessly into our family without even knowing her face.
All of that, and knowing that, despite how infinite my heart feels right now and not possibly understanding how it can grow, I’m in for a world of swelling when she’s actually born.
There is a certain viciousness to loving your child, and try as I might, I just can’t imagine it twofold. It has grown steadily over the course of these last thirty-five weeks, but I know (as I found out with Bug) that, come June, there will be an emotional explosion that I am not prepared for, no matter how many baby books I read.
Come June, this quiet fracture that has been slowly growing over the last seven-and-a-half months will finally give, and a piece of my heart will break off and fall into the fragile hands of a newborn who might have her daddy’s hazel eyes and my black, black hair, or my nose shaped like a button and his thoughtful mouth that always seems to be pursed in subtle brilliance, or who might be the spitting image of Bug, the very best of both Hubs and me combined in one beautiful, imaginative, hilarious, perfect child in spite of our very imperfect contributions…
The eagerness to meet her, the fear we might not be able to handle this burst of ferocious love, the danger of having yet another significant piece of your heart wandering around apart from you, apart from the safety of your own knowing, the panic and anxiety in cradling innocence in a dark and scary world, the tiny slice of God’s own jealous and tender love we get the divine privilege to sample as the givers, the mighty weight but ample reward of being a parent…
I guess you could say these are the perks of pregnancy.