My First Pregnancy Changed Me

Let me just rip the band-aid off and tell you: I loved being pregnant.

Not just because of the whole miracle of birth/I’m carrying a human being inside of me/OMG, what a miracle! part, although that was certainly a bonus.  I loved being pregnant because, for what seemed like the first time in my life, I felt calm and hopeful.

I haven’t always been like that.

As a matter of fact, I used to aspire to pessimism. I envied people who belonged to the Glass Half Empty tribe because I was committed to the Glass is Not Only Half Empty, But What’s Left In the Glass Is Poison Without An Antidote school of thought.  Pessimism would have been a pleasant improvement over my usual state of mind.

Before my pregnancy, I was a hypochondriac. Every headache was a potential tumor (and no, not benign), every twitch a blood clot racing to kill me.  It was exhausting being me. And being around me.  I  was worried about everything all the time, including, of course, the effects of worrying on my health.

When I got pregnant, despite having convinced myself that I would have trouble conceiving (which I would, years later),  I was scared.

Come on, a hypochondriac pregnant? Two people to worry about for the price of one!

I was terrified that going through a pregnancy would be too fraught with opportunities for my anxiety. Would I think of every bout of morning sickness as dangerous? Would I time every kick?  Would I have a moment’s peace when I was pregnant?

I was surprised by the answers.  Without any sentimentality whatsoever, I can say that being pregnant was the most tranquil time in my life.  Tranquil.

I, who could get seasick in the shower and had flirted with motion sickness on the treadmill, did not have one second of morning sickness.  My prenatal-vitamin enriched hair glowed like an Irish Setter’s coat, and I did not worry about health–my own, or my baby’s.

The calm that I felt was unprecedented and I basked almost as much as I did in the pregnancy.

When I found out that I was Rh-negative woman carrying an Rh-positive baby, I had a brief glimpse of panic.  Rh-negative mothers can produce antibodies against their Rh-positive children, creating a reaction as though the mother’s body were allergic to the baby.  The consequences can be terrible, of course, but the fact that my mind did not settle on the what if for very long was unprecedented. I had the prescribed shot and moved on. I did not worry.

I wish I could say that pregnancy had changed me forever and that I am now a pool of calm, counseling others who seek to recreate my tranquil ways.  I am not.

Being a mother means that I walk through life with a fragility about me, worried about my children, about the world and what to make for dinner. And yet there are times that I stop mid-worry and think about my first pregnancy– the confidence, the calmness, the against-all-odds-and-my-personality-traits feeling that it would all be okay.

Remembering makes me feel hopeful. And, at times, even calm.  I’m grateful for my pregnancies every day.

Becoming pregnant changed my life, and I’d love to hear more about your best or most difficult pregnancy moments. By replying, you will be entered to win an exclusive Million Moms Challenge Gift Pack, which includes an all expenses paid trip to a conference on mothers hosted by the UN Foundation in DC (Jan/Feb 2012), an iPad2, a custom-made Million Moms Challenge pendant and $50 donation in your name to Global Giving.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs September 19 to October 16, 2011. A random winner will be announced by October 18, 2011.

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