As I write this, I’m six weeks pregnant. It’s the sweetest little secret, like carrying around a diamond in my pocket. Already somewhere deep inside me, the tiniest of hearts is fluttering. And even though this is my third go-round, this quiet miracle stuns me every time.
My head can never get too far in the clouds, though. “Morning” sickness keeps me planted, usually on my knees on the bathroom floor. When I’m not vomiting I’m trying ridiculous remedies like walking around holding a lemon to my nose. Some of my lousiest parenting days are unfolding right at this moment, like the other day when I laid down the whole afternoon and let my kids gorge themselves on Netflix videos. I’ve also perfected parenting from one place: hide-while-I-seek-you-from-my-chair and let’s-read-a-story-here-on-the-bed.
The first time, when I was pregnant with my eldest, I felt guilty that I was doing pregnancy wrong since I didn’t enjoy it. And then I felt guilty that my little lima bean would sense my negativity and grow up emo. The second time, I felt guilty that my one-year-old would be forever scarred by the days I spent hunched over the toilet instead of creating stimulating fine-motor activities. And now, with my healthy and well-adjusted preschoolers as testimonies to grace and resilience, I press play.
I have no energy, I have no appetite, but I also have no nagging guilt. Not much, anyway. So, there’s that.
This, too, shall pass. Meanwhile, hello again, Caillou.
I’ve heard people say morning sickness is a good indicator that the body’s producing enough hormone. I found it when I googled, so it must be true. But in my searching, I found something even more interesting: some scientists theorize that morning sickness and food aversions exist to protect the baby by preventing moms from eating toxins. Morning sickness usually abates after the first 14-18 weeks, which is when the organs form. Moms usually have aversions to meat, fish, eggs, spicy foods, certain vegetables – foods that, especially in the pre-refrigeration days, harbored a lot of bacteria that could damage fetuses.
I like this theory. In the past, morning sickness has been one of the many things rising against me first trimester, along with craving empty carbs and crying every time I read Tina Fey’s thoughts on motherhood. But now I’m realizing this ol’ body is with me, not against me. I’m praying each day for this sweet baby. I’m doing everything I can to be a haven for this child. And physically my body is doing the same thing, protecting even now, sheltering from danger. It’s a little unnecessary in these days of at-my-fingertips knowledge about listeria and nitrates and proper food handling. But still, I understand, this body fighting like a warrior for something worth defending.
Even at these early weeks, Baby, this truth is clear: I will always fight for you. I will always protect you. Even when it’s primal and a little violent and my eyes stream and my legs shake. Even when it’s undignified and messy.
I will be weak so that you can grow strong.