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A Womb of One's Own

A Womb of One’s Own: Pregnancy as a Pair

A big part of the pregnancy experience thus far (for both me and my husband) has been faith.  Not religious faith, but faith in what we can’t see or experience.  He has to take it on faith that I really do feel like I want to die, and we both have to take it on faith that this experience is going to be worth it.  Oh my God, what if it’s not worth it.  What if we hate the kid?  What if he hates us?  What if we drop him?  What if we can’t support each other the way we need to be supported?  These aren’t sometimes-during-the-pregnancy questions, these are everyday questions for us.

For me, I had a hard time feeling like I was pregnant for the first trimester.  Mostly, I just felt like I was in the middle of the worst depressive episode ever and like I had a very long-lasting flu bug.  I was resentful that I couldn’t have what I was craving (the first few sips off of a tallboy of Rainier), and I was resentful that I felt so bad.  For Josh, it was different.  He says he sensed a change in me that made it more real (see the aforementioned depression and nausea), and that his first thought was that he had to protect both me and the baby.  Thankfully for both of us, this meant that he was incredibly supportive of me when I needed it, and willing to give me a kick in the butt when I needed it.  (Or, as he put it, “It’s just about being aware, and knowing you’re not always DTF.”)

Part of the pregnancy experience for me has been frustration.  I get frustrated that I often don’t feel as good as I’m used to feeling, and I’m frustrated that I can’t do everything I want to do.  Josh has been the one who deals with the brunt of these feelings, letting me talk them out or helping me find an alternative to my original plan.  Some days he’ll come home and I’ve cooked a healthy and balanced meal, some days I’ll IM him at work complaining about how I feel and he’ll offer to make dinner or tell me to order whatever pizza I’d like.  I get frustrated that while the mind may be willing to have sex, the body is too tired or in too much pain to make it feasible.  While this is frustrating to him as well, he’s been great about being supportive in these situations.  In some ways, the sexual situation is like when I was on birth control pills–I’d want to have sex, but my body just wouldn’t be interested.  I’ve learned to take what I can get as soon as I feel like I’m up to the challenge, but it’s still not as often as I’d like.  This principle (“take what you can when you can”) has gotten me through almost two trimesters thus far, and hopefully it will carry me through one more.

While the actual physical act of sex may have become less common, we are more physically close than we were pre-pregnancy.  I’m not shy about making him put his hands on my stomach to feel the kid move around, and we’ve both become more physically affectionate, even if it’s just holding hands or a touch on the back.  It’s a small way to let each other know we care and that we appreciate them.  I think it’s a good habit to get into now, before the kid comes and our attention is focused elsewhere, at least at first.

Up until recently, I feel like we were both experiencing the pregnancy separately.  It seems like now that we can feel the kid moving around (and boy howdy, can he move), we have a more concrete focus together.  The little dude, while not born, is a very real part of our lives–I don’t hesitate to tell Josh when he’s moving around, or what he’s doing, even if he’s not able to feel the action.  I know he can’t feel every flip and punch, but I hope that by discussing his activity and making it a part of our everyday life, I’ll be able to make his transition from my womb to our world that much easier for the three of us.


By Jessica Werner

Free-range librarian in Seattle. A sucker for happy endings, teen angst, and books that make me want to sell my possessions and travel the world. Incurable homebody and type A. Send love letters and readers advisory requests to jessica.werner@gmail.com

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