”Rain, after all is only rain; it is not bad weather. So also, pain is only pain; unless we resist it, then it becomes torment.”
~ the I Ching
Pregnancy is often portrayed as an illness.
Pregnancy “symptoms” fill our Google searches and horrific movie labor scenes, our brains.
Yet being pregnant is glorious—it’s something to worship and feel reverent and excited about—not nervous and annoyed with.
And it’s true—it’s absolutely true that it comes with bodily side effects, changes and new experiences.
I’m within my second pregnancy and, already, it’s nothing like my first, but there is one thing that’s exactly the same—my enjoyment of what I’m moving through.
Yes, I have nausea (although not as badly as my first) and fatigue (a little more challenging with a toddler hugging my legs), but I’m also feeling my abdomen swell—and my heart swell too—because growing a tiny human within your own being is nothing short of miraculous and blissful.
So here are a few of the lesser discussed pregnancy “symptoms:”
1. A total captivation with the perfect person being created, without an official introduction.
2. A fun obsession with saying names you like aloud when no one else is around; noticing the way it rolls off your tongue and the way it chimes with your last name.
3. Placing hands over expanding belly and knowing that the impressive growth of your beating heart is what you should be measuring.
4. Some might say you glow because a pregnant body produces 50 percent more blood—you say it’s because you’ve never been happier in your life.
5. Does it really matter if you’re bloated? There’s a person inside of you.
6. There’s no complete way to describe the elation a mother feels when she hears her baby’s heart beat for the first time at the doctor’s office.
7. You might feel exhausted during your first trimester, but, hey, your body is also developing a placenta to nourish and support your baby while you share your body.
8. Not every pregnancy is wonderful—just like not every delivery or early parenting experience is easy—but the reverse of this is true: some of us like being pregnant.
So, expectant mamas, know that we’re not all doomed to agonizing over every physical change, and, equally, that labor isn’t always like the movies.
Actually, I was in labor with my first child and didn’t even realize it because I anticipated the screaming and drama I’d witnessed in films.
Nope, my labor didn’t look like wailing; rather it was more like grilling dinner outside with my husband and taking recycling to the drop-off center and, when my water broke in what is apparently a more typical movie-like gush, I took a shower and calmly packed my bags afterward. (I actually tried to go back to sleep, as it happened in the middle of the night.)
And, who knows, maybe this time around will be vastly different—I’m definitely going into this with a wide-open heart and mind—but I’m taking with me the knowledge of generations of women before me, and of friends and their unique stories too.
Because pregnancy is not an illness and it’s not something to complain about and seek sympathy for.
Each and every individual on this planet, past and present, is an added piece of a rich history of pregnancy and childbirth and humanity, and, because the loudest, squeakiest wheel frequently gets the cliched grease, we hear too much about the difficulties and trials—and too little about the joyful, round women walking among us.
There are many who have smooth, uncomplicated pregnancies with nothing but pure awe pouring out of our hearts and mouths (when people ask us how we are)—although this isn’t to pretend that there aren’t occasional grievances or disruptions, but for many of us, these aren’t the focus.
Like life, attention can be mindfully given to all of the benefits happening inside of your world—and your body—during pregnancy.
“Giving birth should be your greatest achievement not your greatest fear.”
~ Jane Weideman
This article was first published by elephant journal.