Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Life translated by a pregnant person

I get it. We have hormones that are off the charts weird. We have a tiny being that looks like a tadpole, then an alien, then an itty bitty human growing inside of us while siphoning food, drink and I'm not sure what else. Our bodies are ebbing and flowing in a way that does not make sense. Everything seems to be popping out: my stomach, belly button, acne, boobs, I hear some ladies' feet grow. But what I'm about to talk about has nothing to do with a pregnant woman's perception or a pregnant woman's brain. It has everything to do with erybody else.

What you say to a pregnant person: "Wow! Are you sure there is just one baby in there?"

What we, pregnant people, hear: "Oh wow!! Move out of the way! Shamu is coming through. Could you get any bigger?!?" I realize this is always said in a manner where the person is trying to show empathy toward the pregnant person. Bad move. Just back away slowly. Now you made hormonal Shamu angry.

What you say: "I see you got Starbucks. I bet that baby is kicking today."

What we, pregnant people, hear: "Why are you trying to do permanent damage to your child? Caffeine
is a no no."

What you say: "You look great! I couldn't even tell you're pregnant."

What we, pregnant people, hear: "You don't look pregnant, you just look like you've put on some pounds." Cuz let's face it, my scale and clothes aren't lying. So if you think I don't look pregnant, you've definitely been wondering if I've been eating too many DQ blizzards. Oh yeah, I have.

What you say: "Are you planning on getting an epidural?"

What we, pregnant people, hear: "If you can't have a child naturally you obviously aren't a real woman."

What you say: "Are you planning on delivering without an epidural?"

What we, pregnant people, hear; "Girl, you're crazy! What's wrong with you?"

What you say: "We should hang out!"

What we, pregnant people, hear (especially in 3rd trimester): "I would like to make you shower, get ready and be nice to people in a space that is not your bed or couch."

What you say: "You've got that glow. I'm not sure what it is. There's definitely something different in your face. I could tell."

What we, pregnant people, here: "Your acne is really noticeable, and I think you're already bloating. Oh yeah, you look REEEEALLY tired too."

I remember compiling some thoughts after pregnancy number one. I then had an ah-ha moment and told my husband, "I'm going to write a book about things you shouldn't say to a pregnant woman." His response, "that's gonna be a short book and it'll go something like this, 'Things not to say to a pregnant woman: everything. Don't say a thing. They'll interpret it wrong.'" Maybe there is something to be said for the hormonal changes...nah...we're right, the rest of the world is crazy. :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The pictures you see. The moments you don't see.

A photo of my son on a bike. A snapshot of him playing with his cousins. In a lake. In a boat. At the zoo. Eating frozen custard with Grannie. Tossing a ball to Grandpa. My husband playing basketball with our son. My mother-in-law watching a parade. The older nieces hanging out a music festival. Mini golf. Sand castles.

As I went through countless photos from vacation (okay about 121) I worked to mark the very best images so I could then make one massive post about our week-long trip. My non-Facebook-loving husband even said to me, "where's your Facebook post about our trip? I'm looking forward to all the pictures."

You get to see these photos. They will be proudly displayed on my Facebook page with a caption about the week spent visiting family and friends. There are no lies in these images. They all happened. The smiles are real. But they aren't the complete story. 

My husband and I recently had a conversation about the rose-colored world that is Facebook. I know we've all felt it. I certainly have. I scroll through the photos and posts and see happy families. Kids who never cry. Husbands and wives who never fight. Parents and adult children who never struggle through the changes of an aging relationship and differing roles. 

On Facebook, people have awesome lives. 

We can sit here and complain about how it can taint our perception about how life should be and make us feel inadequate or we can just accept it and enjoy it. When you walk into my home I have pictures framed on my walls. They're of happy times. They make me smile. They make me feel comfortable. That's why I hang them. But wanna know a secret? Before that first professional photo shoot I spent hours in a postpartum state trying to find the perfect sweaters for my husband and I to wear. There were tears. (We went with basic black. This should not have been an emotional, stressful endeaver). My son's one-year photo shoot lasted about 15 minutes. He broke down rather quickly. 

And this Facebook post is no different. It occurred to me as I paged through the smiling faces that our vacation seems perfect. I could post them and let you all believe that. But let's be real. There were fights before and during. At one point we had five adults and four kids staying in a three bedroom home. There was bickering. My pregnant self cried. The pictures don't show that. Does that mean that Facebook is false and unfair? And harmful to people? 

I don't think so. I think instead we should simply see Facebook as a written record. Like pictures hanging on a wall or a photo album, they do not tell the whole story. They are snapshots taken to freeze a moment in time. But as we know, life is much more fluid and sticky than that. Still it's fun to share the good and remember these picturesque moments.