7 Months

I'm now 7 months knocked up. I'm in my third trimester and June 10th cannot come soon enough, I think. I've struggled a bit in writing about my pregnancy because like I've mentioned before, this has been no cakewalk for me.

There are so many layers to that sentence above that I hardly know how to coherently begin peeling them off. One realization I had weeks ago was that though this is my first pregnancy, this is my third child. When most women are pregnant for the first time, they aren't working full time and raising two very active, verbal, and opinionated toddlers. During a first pregnancy, women have more of the "luxury" of paying attention to every bodily change and responding accordingly to it. I imagine them napping regularly, nurturing their changing bodies, and making lifestyle adjustments to accommodate their changing body. I don't feel like I've had any of those privileges. "Enjoying my pregnancy" as I'm often encouraged to do, truly seems like a luxury that I don't have time or energy for.

I feel pregnant and it affects every waking - and sleeping - moment of my day.

I stand up and feel the pain in my hips and lower back. Waddling is becoming my walking style. I wake up in the middle of the night due to a sharp kick into my ribs. First thing in the morning, I wiggle my fingers try to regain feeling in my fingers due to the onset of pregnancy carpal tunnel. I weekly feel like my stomach is going to stretch to snapping like a too-taught, old rubber band. None of my shoes fit, but I'm still squeezing into them every day and Brian has to help me get them on. Walking up from my garage into our second story condo causes me to lose my breath for at least 5 minutes. I can't rock Addise before bed anymore because my belly is too big. I have to be careful bending down to pick my kids up. And once I bend down, I fear not being able to stand back up. My skin has sucked since being pregnant. Generally speaking, "exhaustion" is my life's most defining word. Brian is doing WAY more than he should and is also wiped out. Shaving my legs is becoming a joke. I will say: I do not have hemorrhoids or stretch marks. Yet. Thank you, Jesus. I can't regulate my own body temperature. I'm my own easy bake over and ice cube tray. My son insists his most active times being while I'm trying to fall asleep, and his favorite position is forcefully pushing against every rib. The stretching of my belly and his movements inside me are painful most of the time. Fashion is becoming a cruel joke. The smell of pork causes my body havoc, mainly resulting in puking or loss of appetite. I've thoroughly blown it a few times at work and have let down my team as a result of my new limits. I've been asked multiple times if I'm carrying twins. Awesome.

And I still have 12 weeks to go!

Last night I burst out to Brian, "Am I just going to be exhausted for most of 2012?" His gentle, reluctant "probably" was all I needed to sink into a deeper funk.

I've struggled to write about how I've struggled in this pregnancy because I do not want to be misunderstood as ungrateful. My lack of enthusiasm about pregnancy is not a reflection of my love for our son. I do not want a woman struggling with infertility or recent miscarriage, which I know full well, to hear a pregnant woman "woe-ing" about how hard it is. I used to hate those women. I haven't wanted to share my honest feelings about being pregnant because I haven't wanted to seem ungrateful for this miraculous life growing inside of me after 5 years of "trying" to get pregnant. My discomfort, unease, and general loathing of these 9 months is purely about how hard it's been for my body and our life.

And the thing is: I KNOW many woman have much worse pregnancies than I do. I know women who would give anything to be in my place right now. I know the Ethiopian mothers who carried my first two children, did not have the kind of care or resources I've been given these past several months. So, my own discomfort and melancholy attitude, makes me feel even worse for not just being grateful. Double-edged sword.

Maybe the last reason this pregnancy has produced such a tension within me is that I feel like I should enjoy pregnancy and marvel at it like the rest of womanhood. The lie I can believe is: "a good woman would treasure these nine months." I normally do not "should" all over myself, but my femininity has been attacked over the past 6 years: a woman should be able to carry a baby and when she does she should revel in its miraculous nature. I'm already not "feminine" in many ways [though I adore MAC makeup and a kickin' pair of heels] and do not fit society's description of a woman so this has thrown another kink into identity. These are the lies that creap in during hormone attack or a bad case of heartburn.

At the end of the day, would I change my circumstances? Absolutely Not! I've followed Jesus long enough to know that his ways are not my ways and are always better than mine. I've experienced the deep transformation that only occurs in pain and struggle. And I've come to chuckle at his humor in how's he's chosen to grow our family. I accept his ways. I surrender to his plans. But it's not without my full-on struggle within trust and submission.

So there it is. I hope you don't judge, but if you do at least you know the whole story. And even in your judgment, maybe you'll find some desperate words to pray for that crazy Diaz family and their growing brood.

Oh, here's what 7 months pregnant looks like on this momma...and please don't ask if I'm carrying twins.


April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, sheโ€™s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.