Our resident night soil specialist Karen Wong dishes on all things parenting and such finer things below in our Mama Musings column!
By the time you read this, I’ll probably be wiping some newborn crap off my three-day-worn shirt with said baby on the boob and toddler in tow. Yea, “bright yellow and seedy,” I remember that all too well (how I would fret when it wasn’t the right shade of yellow!). But for now, I’m still 38 and a half weeks preggers and definitely feeling it.
I had come to the conclusion that there was absolutely nothing positive about being pregnant, save for the baby that comes at the end of it—and even then, you’ll have yourself wishing sometimes that it hadn’t.
If you’ve been pregnant any number of times before, you’ll understand. The ‘morning’ sickness that is a big fat lie (as we all know it’s an all-day wretched nausea), which is only followed by hip pain, back pain, indigestion (the baby’s gassy!), cramps, bad sleep, more nausea, and the overall impression of awareness of feeling like a bloated whale. Oh, and let’s not forget about the pushing-a-small-watermelon-out-of-your-lady-parts bit. Welcome to the joys of pregnancy!
Yet as I approached the last few weeks, it hit me that with us living in Hong Kong and its confines of space, schooling and finances, this second bump might very well be our last. The last time I feel these kicks and hiccups that keep me up at night. The last time we get to banter back and forth about silly name choices (Willy Wong. Imagine!!). The last time I can eat that last cupcake without guilt. Okay, maybe not the cupcake one (i.e. there will still be many more rationalisations over cupcakes to come). And all of a sudden, I was overwhelmed by this feeling of loss. Kind of like when I look back on my first son’s first few months and regret not savouring those moments and understanding how precious they really were.
Must be the hormones messing with my head.
But really, we’re guilty of it all the time, myself included. While we’re pregnant, we complain incessantly of the discomforts and aches. Then once the baby arrives, there’s the lack of sleep and the crying, only to be followed by picky eaters, bad sleepers, headstrong children and rebellious teenagers.
Those first few months with our first son, my husband and I actually had to remind each other, “Yes, he’s very precious to us, we love him,” as if willing ourselves to believe it. Because it’s just so freakin’ tough, isn’t it!
But at what point will we stop and remind ourselves, this is the miracle of life! After 18 years, when they’ve gone off to school or work or life and officially left us empty-nested? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss it again and look back and regret not treasuring those moments, as difficult as they can be (when the cats meow and the dog barks and the baby is woken up cranky and overtired).
Yeah, the miracle of life: it sounds cliché, but how incredible is it that there’s something alive growing inside of me (other than the microbes from that burrito that I left in the fridge a few days too long). A life is growing from a single cell to a complex being with thoughts, emotions, and feelings! And this being is to be our son!
How incredible it is that he will be born and will likely double his weight before he’s half a year old. That he will go from flailing infant with absolutely no control of his neck or limbs (he doesn’t even know they belong to him!) to gaining mastery of said limbs to crawl, stand, walk, and kick a ball!
And glorious speech! My toddler is at the incessant chatterbox stage that is very cute and yet I’m sure we’ll soon wish he would just shut up once in a while. But incredible!
So maybe I’m getting a bit too far ahead of myself. But I hope with the remaining days that are left for me as a bloated whale, that I can treasure the uncomfortable kicks and hiccups and the life inside me. And when he comes in all his sticky placenta-blood-and-amniotic-fluid-glory that I can treasure those sleepless nights when his tiny precious breathing body is curled up next to me. And even when he becomes an obnoxious kid or a rebellious teen, that I hold him in my arms and count my lucky stars for his willful little heart. Because you know as they say, it all passes by too quickly (except when it doesn’t).
Love you forever, my baby.