Most pregnant women are pretty vocal about not wanting their bellies touched. I know this all to well because not too long ago, I was one of them. I mean, you don’t touch random stranger’s bellies, so why on earth would you touch a pregnant woman’s? I remember cringing as someone in the grocery store proceeded to touch my round stomach, without even asking. She was so joyful over my belly. The belly that was causing me to pee every 5 seconds. The belly that was giving me stretchmarks. The belly that was making me more uncomfortable by the day. That belly made her light up with glee, and I it made me think she was a little nuts.
I get it now.
I started my journey to motherhood in 2008. In just over three years, I went from having no children to having three. Before I knew it, my youngest child turned four. Watching my children grow up is the most bittersweet thing I’ve ever experienced. I am 100% finished having kids, but there is something about the finality of it all that makes me long for the chapter in my life that is behind me. Most of us experience a wide array of emotions knowing we will never again feel baby kicks or bring a child into the world. By now the memories of the morning sickness, having to pee all the time and pregnancy exhaustion have faded, but the memories of sweet baby kicks, anticipation, the joy of finding out the sex – those memories are vivid. And that’s what I think about when I see you.
I know you’re exhausted and swollen and all the things. I know you don’t want your belly touched or to be annoyed by strangers like me. I get that. But oh my word, all I want to do is rub your belly and tell you I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!!
You are in season that you will only experience once, but the memories of your pregnancy and birth will stay with you for the rest of your life. If you are a first time mom, everything is about to change for you in ways you cannot comprehend. No matter how many books or blogs you’ve read, no matter how many nieces and nephews you have, nothing can quite prepare you for the overwhelming emotions you have once your child is born.
I look back, and though I savored every moment possible, it still went too fast. Time is so fleeting, and yes, there were and still are plenty of hard days, but the good days are the ones I cherish and remember, but I feel them slipping away. It has only been 4 years since I was pregnant, but it may as well be a lifetime.
When I see a pregnant woman, I reminisce about my own pregnancies and births. When I notice her belly, I want to share in her joy, not invade her personal space. I want to connect, just for a moment to the new life that will soon enter the world. I never will though, rest assured. I can contain myself. But frankly, I don’t want to.