Where this comes from: I am starting my 31st week pregnant. I have gained 19 kilos but this is not just about the body but about the soul as well.
On the rare occasions that I thought about being pregnant, back in the days when becoming pregnant was near to unthinkable, I always wanted to be one of those ladies with a big belly but otherwise completely untouched. One of those women with great skin, no double chin, no extra fat around the belly, the hips perfectly untouched. I wanted to remain unaffected by it all and still get the benefits, the cookies, the baby, the pats on the belly and the peaceful consideration.
Of course what we want and what we get isn’t always the same thing (actually it rarely is). I feel like an expanding blue whale. I see a woman staring at me in the mirror that I don’t know from before. She is bloated, has dark circles around her eyes and the roots of her hair look like they are preparing for a color we all dread. The fear in her eyes is tangible.
Of course I fear that the fears I see in her eyes are apparent to everyone. I fear that anybody who looks at her sees the entire spectrum in her gray-blue eyes. Some of the fears are silly, some are vain, some are real and some look almost surrealistically like make-believe.
I’m sore and disappointed in myself for not achieving the wishful image. The impossible hopes. I fear that I will not be enough. I am disappointed in myself for gaining the extra-extra weight. I fear the after effects this will have on my body. I fear the effects this will have on my entire being. It’s not just the feared stretch marks this might leave on my body but the stretch marks this will undoubtedly leave on my soul. Will I be good enough? Will I do? What kind of a mother will I be?
I tend to embrace changes. There is nothing like the realization that you’ve grown and that you are someone better today than you were yesterday but in today’s society something more dire always comes with this realization. You don’t just grow wise, you grow old and old is always bad. It doesn’t matter if it’s the soul that is growing wiser, it’s always bad. And then there is the risk that you will become someone you never wanted to be.
The female face should be without wrinkles, it should be peaceful, relaxed, innocent and beautiful. And what happens when these things vanish from our faces and something else takes over? Will our spouses still admire and love us? Will they still look at us with that look in their eyes and whisper “you are so beautiful” or will the phrase change? Will the look change? Will the attitude change?
What is it that takes over? What is the wisdom this life brings us? What is the quality that comes with the wrinkles around the eyes and the mental stretch marks?
Of course I know something already about the love I have for this little life. A smile enters my face each time I feel her move. I want to curl up and surround her already, protect her forever from everything that I know is out there, that I know will eventually make her grow up, make her wiser, not to mention the things that will hurt her. I know something already about the joy she will bring. I imagine mornings in front of the cartoons, laughing at a crazy yellow figure in top-hat or what have you. I know a little about the joys but the fears lurk there as well and some days it’s hard to banish them into oblivion.
A child does not make you old. In fact it might cut off a few years of your back. I see it in my beautiful sisters and in the all women around me. A child might make you wiser, it might make you open to new things that life has to teach you but it doesn’t change who you are. It doesn’t change who you are.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I wish I was perfect. I wish I could have been that magazine model of a perfect woman in real life but they do not exist. There is not a single person that time doesn’t pray upon one way or the other. And the knowledge of that isn’t schadenfreude but a sweet condolence that life treats me with as much love as it treats anyone else. The image I have of myself is not the image others have of me and that in itself is a condolence as well. It’s a good thing to know that people don’t only see my outsides in a different way than I do but my innards as well (heart and soul).
I still have fits and am angry at myself for not living up to my wishful dreaming. I blame it on the hormones because, lets face it, this is the only period in your life when you have a given excuse for everything you feel (for good and for bad). I fear that I will not be the perfect person I intended to be, inside and out and the fear is real and tangible and I see it in the eyes that face me in the mirror in the morning.
But essentially I see the lovely ladies all around me. I know that they have shared my fears and that they have not only fought them but won over them. I see fear in women around me, fear in the eyes of women so strong that I can only congratulate and dream wistfully, wishfully. And I see the fear beaten down, I see them win over it every day, I see the uselessness of these feelings that only serve to undermine. All these beautiful women wasting energy towards a struggle that shouldn’t be so painful or bring such fear (or in some cases loathing). Because we are enough. We aren’t all changing into evil old hags with a pimple on our noses. We can tackle what is to come, whatever it is. We can. I promise. And I am determined to continue to strive to be perfect but I promise to forgive myself when I’m not.