Womanhood

The Pregnancy Alien

Sometimes I wish I was more prolific so that I could accurately describe what I am experiencing. Pregnancy is not one of those times. The following description is for all you pregnant ladies who may need a  little help explaining what you are going through (especially to those of the opposite sex.)

Below you will find a simple explanation as to why you are watching Mary Poppins while bawling and taking a break to get the pickles out of the fridge…even though you just finished off a whole half gallon of ice-cream. After reading, they will hopefully understand better that you really aren’t trying to make their life a living hell….it’s not your fault…it’s the fault of the alien that they implanted deep inside your brain.alien

It all started one night (or day, if you are that kind of person) when nothing could be wrong in the world. You and your loved one (or one night stand, if you are that kind of person) were enjoying one of the most beautiful things to experience in this life: sex. I hope it was good because if it wasn’t, you are really going to be miserable for a long time to come wondering why you allowed it to happen.

What you probably didn’t take the time to think about (or maybe you did, if you are that kind of person) was that when you let this loved-one (or stranger, if you are that kind of person) make an installment into your cervix an alien was coming with the package. I can’t tell you if the alien is attached to the sperm or the egg (but I’m pregnant so of course my opinion is that it was in the sperm.) Once the sperm combines with that one lucky egg to form the baby that you will love forever, the alien gets permission to release itself into your brain and wreak all kinds of havoc. You see, mother nature has a plan, if your body and mind can hack 10 months with this alien, then you are deemed  worthy of motherhood. There is no other way to pass the test…unless of course you adopt, which I highly recommend.

And so it begins.

It starts with a tad bit of nauseousness and the feeling that you have to pee all the time, but it progresses and it progresses fast.

From your brain, your pet alien spreads into every single one of your body systems. It constantly sucks from your cardiovascular, skeletal, digestive, and neurological. You can’t shake it. No matter what you do, you are forced to just surrender to it or else your brain will surely explode. Let’s face it, you are already borderline insane, even when just weeks before you were perfectly normal.

You have crazy dreams. They may start with something as innocent as Ronald McDonald stealing your baby without a face, but they will continue to get scarier and scarier until before you know it you are sleeping with the Hamburglar and he’s a woman. And just prepare yourself for the really scary one that is yet to surface….you are in labor, and out pops a Big Mac. You may or may not take a bite of it…..and that may or not be ketchup. Trust me, if it’s not this exact same scenario, something very similar will happen to you and you will wake up covered in sweat in a panic attack, and realize that you really just peed the bed.

You are overly emotional and sensitive.  Remember how you used to watch the news and be bored? Now you can’t get through it without bursting into tears. Even if all the stories are positive (which they rarely are) your over-enlarged heart just can’t seem to get the happy face of that man who received his meal on wheels out of your tear ducts. Oh, and that poor weatherman…no one listens to him. His mother must be so distraught. And then you will realize that you must be this man’s mother because you are ridiculously distraught. But how can that be because he is thirty years older than you?

And then as the worst thing that happened to you all day, your hubby will hand you a box of kleenex, and all you will want to do is yell at him and tell him to stop making fun of your state. It’s at this point that you will run into the bathroom to escape it all, but don’t be too discouraged when you realize that the alien followed you in there. Because when you look at your face in the mirror, you aren’t going to recognize it. It will be bloated and red and stained with tears.  I would say that you will have mascara running everywhere but everyone will know that’s impossible because you smartened up and quit wearing it a few months back.

You are over-analytical. It will be completely normal for you to have thoughts such as: If Barrack Obama would just hurry up with his socialistic agenda, then we could all just move on with our second Civil War, and oh by golly the Republicans will get all the military on their side, but that could be bad because they would have to fight against the left’s hoodrats and butch lesbians. [thinking in run-on sentences will  be acceptable of course because aliens don’t know grammar] Wow, this could get really interesting. Oh, no this can’t happen, unless the war is over before my baby is born. I hope they all kill each other so we can have a peaceful society with the really smart people who hid out in their state of the art bomb-shelters. (Which by the way, you know exactly where are located because of your  most recent Google searches on how to survive Obamageddon.) Oh yeah, and hubby, I know exactly what those Broncos need to do to win the super-bowl…let’s talk about their defensive strategy….And it just won’t stop. If I were a mailman, I would be so much more efficient by doing…..see what I mean.

You CAN’T stop nesting. If you start filing that box of papers that have been sitting there for a few years, you are just at the beginning. You will know when the end is near when you have changed the organization of your pantry for the 15th time and it’s exactly the way it was when you started.

You are tired. You can’t stop yawning. It comes at the most inconvenient of times. In the beginning, before you’ve told anyone your news, it’s all you can do to fake your way through lunch with the girlfriends. You have discovered that yawning is actually contagious and seeing the back of that friend’s mouth for an hour straight was difficult for our overly sensitive gag reflex. You can hardly get out of bad. And you no longer make it through the nightly news. You’ve been on Chapter 14 of your book for at least 12 weeks. You slap yourself whenever you get behind the wheel to heighten your slow reflexes. Sex is completely out of the question, unless it only involves…well, I better stop there or my Mormon friends will be offended.

Your morning breath could burn down buildings. And is actually totally screwing up your dental hygiene.

Your boobs hurt. Once again, sex is completely out of the question. So is spooning, if your hubby has wandering hands. Putting on a bra is pure torture partly because it doesn’t really fit anymore and mostly because your nipples are constantly raw. Why do your boobs have to hurt? Oh, because this is nothing compared to when your milk comes in or the first three weeks of nursing. (You first timers will have to trust me on this. I told you adoption is a beautiful beautiful thing. So is bottle-feeding.)

You are cranky. Oh, you think I’m cranky, huh? Well, you are a #($&#^H@ that @&#%%* your @&#&$&. Remember, it’s not you, it’s the alien. And boy do aliens have attitudes and potty mouths. They must have been raised in a barn with a bunch of sailors on Mars. You don’t have to attend confession for anything you think while pregnant because you are being controlled and manipulated by an alien who only watches rated R movies.

You are nauseous. But mostly you are terrified that cake will never taste good again. The smell of cooking meat will put you over the edge as well as pumpkin spice candles, bath and body works, and your mother. When your hubby’s deodorant starts in with its assault on your sinuses, you will know that round 2 is on it’s way. Do you know I still about barf anytime I smell pumpkin spice candles and that aversion happened during my first pregnancy 15 years ago?…it has NEVER gone away.

You are starving, even if you just ate. This would normally be a great excuse to pig out on whatever you want. It’s too bad nothing sounds good anymore. You may have to resort to a cup of warm ovaltine a few times a day. And then when you feel up to it, eat a whole bag of chips or whatever else you get a hankering for…just be prepared for the uncontrollable sobs that will most definitely follow. WHY? Why can’t I control myself? It’s the alien. You must have gotten the fattest one.

You have cravings that are brutal and unrelenting. Nothing sounded good a minute ago before you sat down on the couch with your cup of ovaltine, but now if you don’t get a teriyaki bowl from Panda Express AND a pralines and cream milkshake from Baskin Robbins and a pickle, you may go ballistic. When your hubby gets home with all three in hand a half an hour later and after taking one bite, you puke everywhere. Then you cry and tell him it doesn’t sound good anymore and that your birthday is ruined forever more. (This is a hypothetical, I’m absolutely NOT speaking from experience here because if I was then that would also rat out my husband who then refused to make any food runs for the duration of my following eight pregnancies – this too shall pass, he would say)

Think about the alien and pretend you already birthed him out of your body. Smile at your man and apologize before bursting into tears. While he holds back your hair as you puke up that one bite that somehow multiplied by fifty into the toilet, soothe your soul with the thought that at least he is sticking around – the husband silly – of course you don’t want the alien to stick around. But try to be understanding. Once in a while you may find the alien asleep and that’s when you can give your hubby a break from pregnancy and tell him go play ball with the guys…..as long as he brings you a 12″ sub on the way home….without pickles.

Your whole body feels exhausted You don’t understand why you just want to sleep all the time. In fact if you don’t get double the sleep that you used to get you start getting shaky. Just know that the alien is using your veins and arteries as roller coasters and your organs as skate parks, and your heart as a trampoline. Your brain makes a perfect corn maze and your digestive track is like the most awesome water slide park ever. Your bones are teething toys and your muscles are just doing their best not to completely disappear from fear. Take that nap and that day or week off work if that is what you have to do. The alien is not going away. Your only consolation is that the baby and uterus is off limits for this alien and soon enough it will trap the alien in your upper body while the baby starts using your ribs as a punching bag and your bladder as a soccer ball.

You have to drive everywhere because if anyone else drives your upchucking will be at high alert.

You should really buy stock in cold cereal because that is all you are going to eat for a while especially when you just have to feed that alien every night at 3 a.m.

You have never had heartburn like this. The alien gets really mad after being trapped in your upper body and he starts throwing up acid in your esophagus. You are just going to have to deal with it because your baby won’t appreciate you taking most over the counter medicines.

You feel like you will never be yourself again. And you won’t, but once the alien is flushed away with the after-birth, your new you will be a huge improvement.

You feel hopeless. But when you look into the eyes of the person you protected from said alien for ten months, your world will be consumed by hope.

You feel defeated. And this will progressively get worse until your child is a teenager at which point your defeat will max out.

You lose all bladder control. Yeah, I’d like to tell you this will go away too, but it won’t. From now on whenever you sneeze or cough or laugh, you will have to cross your legs for extra safety.

You just want to curl up in a ball and wake up after 10 months. I actually recommend this route.

You want to be babied, but you don’t want to need to be babied. And this feeling will continue for approximately 12-24 months until you start getting regular sleep again. If you are lucky, you will get a husband who will trade off between the fierce oscillating babying and needing to be babied.

Don’t worry when you catch him on the verge of tears after work one day because of a totally overwhelming panic attack caused by his inability to deal with all the changes that just keep happening daily and the fact that his wife is not the person he married. Remember as you asked him to remember for you that it’s the alien’s fault. Remind him that it will be o.k. It’s just that he never had permission to express his emotions while the alien was around. He was so good at being strong for you and you love him for eternity. He’ll recover, as will you, it will just take about five years for full recovery and meanwhile you will have a ball of energy to feed, change, bathe, and keep alive, as well as teach to walk, talk, sleep, and potty-train. You are both going to be too busy to stay overwhelmed so keep the nervous breakdowns brief and hope that you both can trade off between healthy and crazy.

Of course, if you have another baby, your recovery time will double. Don’t even think about it right now. The alien may decide to increase its test efforts for you and you really don’t want to hear about what that sounds like…it may include you pooping on a doctor while in delivery. (Really, I never did that. I swear. I just heard it happens. And yes, I made my husband watch to make sure. It’s the least he could do after implanting that alien in me for 10 months.)

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Mom, I’m here. Don’t forget me.

I sounded so crabby at the therapist’s office the other day while explaining my mixed emotions about being 40 and pregnant, “I’ve never been the kind of woman who was like, ‘Oh, please let me bear children. It’s my life dream to have a whole houseful of darlings. My only ambition is to be a mother.’ ” In fact, even though I’ve always assumed I would have a large family and was even quoted in my high-school yearbook that I planned to have a dozen kids, I have also been quite conflicted about it ever since I can remember. I love kids. I came from a large family that I also love. But, I have always also been full of dreams and ambitions that had nothing to do with family. In fact, I knew kids would just get in the way of a lot of what I wanted to do: graduate from college, serve in the Peace Corps, write a book or two, travel, and have a successful career in one thing or another.

I further explained to the therapist, “I’m a willing vessel, I’m just a broken one.” LeGrand and I both chuckled. Ain’t that the truth! He knows it even more intimately than I do. I am a very spiritual person and I try to live my life in communication with God. This is a good thing and a bad one. Because I listen to the voice of God, my life is always full of conflict. What He wants for me always seems to be in direct opposition of what I want for myself.

I remember when my hubby and I had been married for just a month. We went to the temple together and separated to do some work. I was 24, he was 22. We were both in college and working full-time. After we were done with our service in the temple, we walked out to the car hand in hand, both very quiet. Something was up. You could cut the dark sky in front of us with a pocketknife. My newer-than-new husband turned to me and said, “Alice, I felt it too, we are supposed to start our family now, and have joy in our posterity.” Nooooooooooo. I couldn’t keep the spiritual impressions I had felt in my own heart a secret like I had planned. This was crazy, but it was also undoubtedly what God wanted for us. I knew that this family business would rob me of all if not most of my own dreams. It took me six months to even become willing to go off birth control and then I was still resentful. And pregnant.

So, bring us up to the present day. We have four kids. I’ve had four miscarriages. I am forty and pregnant. Four seems to be an important number for me right now. This is my fourth and final blog. I know many people are reasonably questioning the child growing inside of me. Heck, they can’t question any more than I am. I am questioning. My husband is questioning. The only ones who are not questioning are our four children. They couldn’t be any more excited. Kids are really good at instinctively knowing what is most important…plus they don’t have to worry about paying the bills or losing three years of sleep.

I’d like to take this chance to explain and write down this little tale so that I will always remember it. There is one reason and one reason alone I am pregnant. The reason is that this child spoke to me from its pre-mortal realm. In August of 2012, my hubby and I found ourselves again at the temple. I had just suffered a pretty brutal miscarriage at 18 weeks. As we sat in the chapel, I turned to my husband and said, “LeGrand, I am not praying about this today, but I just want to be done having kids. I’m 38. I’m so tired, and I don’t think I can handle it emotionally anymore.” LG answered with his full support, “It’s up to you Alice. I don’t blame you. I don’t want you to have to go through that again either.” I wasn’t going to pray about it because I didn’t want any other answer from God besides my own.

mom im here

But something miraculous happened. Something I couldn’t deny. God sent a messenger to the temple that day. In the spirit form of a child. My child. The one I hadn’t yet given birth to.

It’s hard to explain the special place that are Mormon temples. They are very sacred. God is always there. They are a place where the veil between two worlds is very thin. In the temple I’ve felt the presence of many of my deceased loved ones who have gone on before me.  They have been there with me often, telling me that they are watching over me.

I never expected to be visited by someone who had yet to come to earth, but somebody had an important message that day. One that I really didn’t want to hear. In fact it was the last thing I wanted to hear.

I felt a tap on my shoulder and looked behind me to see no one there but to feel someone as assuredly as if they were standing there. There was no doubt someone was there. I then heard an audible voice, “Mom, I’m here. Please, don’t forget me.”

I instantly started bawling. How selfish I am! How easily distracted I become. I so willingly forget that this earth-life isn’t about gaining the adventures that I want to have, but is all about being willing to take on the ones that I already promised God (and others) that I would achieve. My most important calling in this life is to be a vessel, even if I’m the most broken one that there ever was. I answered with a pledge in my heart, “I won’t. I promise. I could never forget you.” It took me sixteen more months to get pregnant again. Every day I was haunted by the pleading of my child. I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to get pregnant or stay pregnant. I convinced myself that it was just the miscarried kid talking to me. I would maybe get to meet him at a later day in heaven. I told God that if he wanted it to happen, forty was as high as I was willing to go. Miraculously, I got pregnant on the first cycle after my 40th birthday, almost as if God wanted me to know that he got the message. But also in typical God-fashion..in the 11th hour…after we’ve been tested to the limit.

I’ve vacillated between anxiousness, depression, and elation. I’m only four months in and I’ve already had to give up my running,  my plans to go back to school and work, and a portion of my sanity. A big chunk of money that was put aside for our new home will now be used for doctor bills and baby items. I worry every day that this child will have special needs, but one thing dismisses my many worries. There is one thing that I will always know: this child is special. More than anything, this child wanted a chance to be mortal. He knew that for that to happen I had to be his mama. He traveled from wherever he was all the way to the temple to remind me of my promise long ago to not forget. I smile at his bravery and his audacity because he chose the day that I least wanted to hear it to remind me.

And then I cringe at what is in store for him. He’s going to be stubborn. He’s going to be brave. He’s going to have his own ideas. He will also have a mother to remind him that more than anything he wanted to come to earth because that is what God wanted him to do. I will remind him as much as I will myself: We might as well keep on listening to God…no matter how much harder it seems to make our lives and how much it robs us of our own dreams and ambitions. Ultimately we both will have to answer for how we used our time on earth and every single one of our choices. God will never be concerned with how much we traveled or achieved, His main concern is for the immortality and eternal life of all of His children. For that to happen, He first has to get them to earth….even if the vessel is forty and all washed up. All we can hope for is our own willingness to say, “I am a vessel, God. I am broken but I am here and I am listening.”

* I say “he” because I have this secret wish that the lucky number five will be the son for which I’ve prayed for my husband, but we are 99.9% sure that “he” is really Vivienne. There is always that .01% though, I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks.

Sunday Pin – Afrian Proverb – Sisterhood

african proverb

I’m blogging during Sunday School to the utter disgruntlement of my hubby. Any minute he will look over to the screen of my I-pad, read this, and shake his head at me. I think God’s o.k. with it as He knows I seek Him in my life and understands my struggle to pay attention in this class. (Oh please don’t get this back to my Sunday School teacher). I almost just made a comment so I guess I am really safe because apparently I can multitask.

Heavy on my heart today is the topic of sisterhood. In our last meeting we got to hear from the beautiful young women of our congregation and to my pure delight my daughter Abigail was among them. She’s so beautiful and has grown up strong and insightful. I’m so proud of my girl. She took my breathe away today. How did this struggling mom raise such an absolutely amazing creature? God is good.

Abigail shared a little story about her girls’ camp experience. They went geo-caching and she was so frustrated when she couldn’t find a cache and was disappointed in her intellect when another girl found it before her. (I chuckled as this girl relies on her smarts and believes in them 100% – just like her dad – I wish I could have that intellectual confidence) She talked about how she had realized through the experience that Rachel (the girl who had found the cache) had served as a reminder to the importance of the Holy Ghost. Abigail realized she would never know everything, but God would be there and send her the Holy Ghost to help her when she didn’t. With the help of the Holy Ghost, she could get from where she was stuck to where she needed to go. What more could a mother ask for her daughter to know? I can’t think of anything. I was so so grateful for all the leaders who helped Abigail to have this experience.

Here you can find the touching song that Abigail and her fellow sisters in the gospel learned this week. When they sang it today I bawled like a baby because through this music, sung by women alone, my daughter had the opportunity to learn of her capacity for good. And so much good she and her sisters in the gospel will do.