Between then and now, life has completed half of the U-turn that I have been repeatedly told about.
The pregnancy is at the stage where i can finally start counting down in days, and not months or weeks, eagerly awaiting the second part of the U-turn.
Was it easy? No!
Would i do it again? Nope!
Would i change it / redo it, if i had a choice - probably a question best answered in another few years.
It has been a roller coaster. The constant, persistent nausea of the first trimester, the sudden burst of energy of the second trimester, the slowdown of the third trimester. Unless you experience it first hand, you can never know the many different ways in which popular media portrays pregnancy and just how wrong it is!
Let me start with a few examples -
1. The "glow" - Unless by "glow", you mean acne like a teenager on hormone booster shot, spots, darkening of skin or eruptions of a varied hue, pimples - THERE IS NO GLOW. It is a daily fight to hide this pimple or that mole. The one item in my make up kit that i never had to use - the concealer, came out of hiding and became the king of the make up empire. Researching on "how to apply concealer" took up a lot of time, ending with "this can't be right"
2. Cravings - You hear about weird cravings and mid night snacks and making your husband rush out for that particular brand and flavor of ice cream, i was especially looking forward to the last part of actively involving my husband in the running about bit, but again - NEVER HAPPENED. I stuck to pretty much what i liked and enjoyed when i was not pregnant. Chocos with milk, or chapatti with milk and sugar felt like heaven as a mid night snack. Nothing fancy, nothing difficult to get, nothing that wasn't already in the kitchen.
3. Being fat and being pregnant is different - NOPE, it is not. Till my 7th trimester, people would ask me why i was putting on so much weight. There is no pregnancy weight gain that is different than just being fat and people will get confused. And your vanity and ego will take a fall, what with all the acne and pimples - you would think people would notice something out of the ordinary was afoot.
4. Maternity clothes - comfort over style - In India, if you are even slightly conscious of what you wear when you step out of the house, or even if you are not, maternity range of clothes is abysmal. I scoffed at clothes i wouldn't be found dead in. You would think someone could have tapped this market by now - but no, you get the boring maternity pants and unoriginal maternity shirts, and that is it! Comfort over style makes sense, but imagine how comfortable a clown is in its loose pants and uncoordinated loose fitting top - that is how you feel, till the day you stop caring.
5. The two extremes of the sympathy spectrum - Very rarely you are lucky to be surrounded by women who are pregnant with you,who understand exactly what it is you are going through and can help you through it. Other than this set of pregnant women, all other people fall in two categories - ones who are extremely, overly cautious and will ask you every time your grunt or fart if everything is ok and will refuse to let you get up, walk about, do any of your own work, pecking abut you like a mother hen, thinking their job is to make you eat, and sit and lie down and eat some more.
The other extreme are the completely unsympathetic ones - who either tell you, you have no tolerance and that it is all in your head, or tell you horror stories of their own pregnancies and how heroically they went through it and conquered all pain. How they measure your pain against theirs is unknown, why they think your pain would be any less is to be wondered at.
6. Staying positive and happy - Ask a normal person on the road - are you happy? How do you aim to be happy everyday? And then ask a tired, pregnant, nauseous lady to stay happy and positive. And if she doesn't slap you, consider her to be one of the mild, meek ones. The number of times i have been told to stay happy and positive (which is what exactly and how to go about it is never discussed) is directly proportional to the number of times i had to run to the bathroom to throw up.A happy mother means a happy baby. I would rather have a grumpy baby, but let me just crib, cry and complain about my troubles right now.
7. My husband - my equal partner - No matter how nice you are and how stable your relationship is, there comes a point, quite soon too, in the pregnancy when you are going to resent your husband and his carefree, healthy days. He doesn't puke, he has no mood swings, he can drink and party and go camping and generally it looks like he is living in a spectacular retreat on some island, while you are stuck in a war torn country with attacks coming from all sides, even internally! And you have these silent, viscous thoughts, which can no longer be contained within you, but have to be poured forth on your husband's island retreat like a dormant volcano. There is nothing "equal" about the pregnancy. It is all you. Your life is going to change and compared to that change your partner's is going to be seem as stable as a boat on still waters. But, in saner moments (few and far between) you realize theirs isn't a dream run either - imagine wanting to be involved but not knowing how, the feeling of helplessness watching your partner go through emotional and physical upheavals, dealing with mood swings, so basically feeling anxious just like a pregnant woman, but not being able to express it. Well, it is not definitely "equal", but take some joy in knowing that it isn't all easy for them either.
Now, even if popular media gave us a true picture of what pregnancy would really be like - i don't think we would still be prepared for it. It is something that changes you - for better or worse, something that makes you ponder, wonder about the joy of nurturing some life within you, of watching the sonography of week 4 - where you could just see the sac, the tiny home of the baby, over a course of 9 months transform into a 6 pound baby, a baby you nourished and cared for and now can't wait to hold in your arms.