Recently, now that I’m visibly pregnant, I’ve had lots of people ask me if I have enjoyed being pregnant. That’s such a complex question….
Pregnancy seems to be one of those things that some people long for with an almost unnerving passion….sort of like marriage. I’ve always maintained that being in a healthy marriage is overall no happier, better, or more fulfilling than being a healthy single person. It’s sometimes easier to cultivate a healthy lifestyle when married…but that’s a whole other post. It annoys me to no end when my single friends assume that my life is perfect, fulfilled, and better than theirs, simply because I’m married and they’re not.
Pregnancy seems to be one of those other stages of life that some people long for and assume that those who are able to experience are somehow more fulfilled or happier. Yes, being pregnant is an interesting, life-changing experience. But at this point (and maybe actually giving birth will change my mind), I don’t see that my life is significantly better, more fulfilled, or happier because of this experience. It’s just different.
I mentioned this to the Wunderhusband, and he said, “But you have the MIRACLE OF LIFE growing inside of you!”
“But EVERY child is miraculous,” was my response. I don’t need to be pregnant to better appreciate how miraculous it is for a child to be born. Every time I see a friend’s child, or even a passing infant, my heart leaps at how extraordinary it is to see a brand new human. When I adopt a child, I expect that I will feel the same wonder and astonishment. Children are simply extraordinary, whether or not they’re biologically connected to me. That’s why a healthy adult’s response to seeing a child is a desire to nurture and protect that child.
And that’s why I think that longing for pregnancy rather than parenthood is like being hungry and reaching for a bowl of aspartame rather than a bowl of food. Or like longing for love and settling for a one-night-stand. Pregnancy is simply one means to parenthood (adoption is another awesome way)….And it seems that a person’s longing to be a parent and raise a child can be mistaken for a desire to simply reproduce.
I don’t want to sound ungrateful for the experience….feeling River kick and roll inside of me is pretty darn cool. And knowing that I get to raise this child with the man I love most in the world is also awesome. But mostly, being pregnant has given me some profound spiritual insights to ponder (nice!), and lots of physical discomfort (NOT nice). I think that I will enjoy being a parent….but have I enjoyed being pregnant? Well, let me put it this way: I’ve had a textbook, boring, healthy pregnancy, and I can’t imagine ever wanting to repeat this experience and definitely don’t plan to. Since we (think we) want at least 2-3 more children, we look forward to adopting the rest. :)