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SALT LAKE CITY — I'll just come right out and say it: I am pregnant. Not only am I pregnant, I am PREGNANT … well into my third trimester.
Each morning, I wake up with the urge to do much of what my little newborn will be doing shortly: Eat, sleep and go to the bathroom … repeatedly and in varying orders. It isn't bad enough that I wake up needing to do these things, but in order to do anything other than sleep, I literally have to “roll” out of bed due to the lack of abdominal muscles that have now been overrun by my growing child.
I often find myself whining to my husband about such things. I will tell him about the back aches, the bladder pressure, the rib and pelvic pain. I complain that my clothes don't fit, I feel chubby, and I can't tie my shoes. Many of these complaints and more are often followed by that all-too-familiar phrase: “You'll never know how this feels,” making it so that he can say, well … nothing.
Why can't he say anything? Well, because it is a fact he will never know what it feels like to be pregnant.
Earlier this year, a video was posted on YouTube showing two men who were given some pain simulators to mimic what it feels like to be in labor. I will proudly announce that neither of them could handle what we women go through because they had to cut the simulation short due to their inability to withstand such pain. This is more proof that men will never know what it feels like to be pregnant or to give birth.
However, as I sit here and type, with my back padded with a pillow, needing to shift positions every few minutes, I feel bad that my husband will never experience what I am right now. Despite all the pain and discomfort, there is so much more to being an expectant mother. The rewards outweigh the negatives.
This realization was pointed out by my dad the other day while we were on a family vacation at a lake. I was sitting on the back of the boat as I watched my whole belly shake as my little boy would kick each time he hiccupped. Many women can attest that as annoying as hiccups are, having them happen inside of you can be even more irritating because there is nothing you can do about it.
As I sat there, rolling my eyes and sighing, I said, “He has the hiccups again,” adding, “You'll never know the feeling.”
The next time you have the urge to complain, and then to follow it up with "You'll never know how this feels," stop yourself and take time to enjoy it. Know that it is all happening for a purpose, and a wonderful one at that.
Rather than allowing me to wallow in my misery, my dad responded, “What a neat thing to be able to feel, and I will never know what it feels like.” Although the statement was never intended to put me in my place, it did just that … and more. With that simple observation by my dad, my whole attitude and perspective changed. I spent the next couple of minutes feeling (and enjoying) each hiccup and kick that my baby made. When the hiccups were gone, I found myself feeling a little sad.
Since that day on the back of the boat, I have found myself looking at things a lot differently. When I have difficulty getting out of bed and needing to go to the bathroom often, it is a reminder that my baby is growing. When I feel elbows and toes moving across my belly and poking me in my ribs, it lets me know that he has the ability to move. And when I get that awful heartburn after eating a bowl of ice cream, it may just be my baby telling me that I should probably stay away from the Rocky Road.
Being an expectant mother may have its share of challenges, and yes, men will never know how it feels. However, with every move, kick, feeling of nausea, hiccup and yes, even the feeling of childbirth, know that these are all wonderful, memorable and vital experiences that are unique to an expectant mother.
So, the next time you have the urge to complain, and then to follow it up with “You'll never know how this feels,” stop yourself and take time to enjoy it. Know that it is all happening for a purpose, and a wonderful one at that. Arianne Brown is a graduate of SUU, mother to five young kids and an avid runner. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, go to her blog at timetofititin.com or "like" her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/WriterArianneBrown?ref=hl)