I had always heard people talk about "pregnancy brain", and honestly, I kind of thought it was made up. That maybe women were just acting a little more ditsy to be cute or funny. (Sorry, women). But nay, once again, I have been proven wrong in all things pregnancy related. Pregnancy brain is real. It's why I say things like "the head bone" instead of skull. Or why it takes me about 27 seconds to finish my sentence with a simple thing or place like laundry room. It feels like I'm inventing these words. I swear, they didn't exist 2 minutes ago. I am bringing them into the English language for the first time, which is why it's taking me so long to speak.
Those aren't the only proofs of "pregnancy brain" in my daily life. I think the workings of my brain are forever altered. In a very real way, my heart and mind are changing. Aspects of selfishness and fear are chipping away. When I'm faced with the fear of giving birth for the first time before this year is over, instead of cowering in a corner (which has been my normal response for the past 10 years), I'm filled with an overwhelming determination to meet my baby boy. Because it's no longer all about me. He's here now. I know him, and he knows me. He's not some distant future idea, he's a person. He's my person. It's so weird but it's real and it's powerful. No matter what it takes, I'm going to be there for him. He and I are suddenly a team, and I am no longer alone or afraid.
When I look at myself in the mirror and see the distortions and changes in my body glaring back at me, instead of crying in loss, I find myself crying in joy at the freedom I feel from no longer having to force myself into some non-existent state of perfection. Suck that stomach in, shave everywhere, get a tan, buy a padded bra, get that body bikini-ready.
I think back to the day I found my first stretch marks, sobbing against my husband as he said, "Hey - can I tell you something? When we were just kids in high school, this is the you that I wanted."
These are the important things. I'm more vain than I ever thought I was. How little the body matters. It all fades away. It's the life, the soul, the living. Right now, I'm letting my belly lead the way. I run into things with it sometimes. And drop food and coffee on it alarmingly often. But I'm healthier than I've been in ages. I feel very intentionally and purposefully me. I'm growing a human. I never have to wear a bikini again. I'm going to wear maternity pants for the rest of my life because normal pants are stupid and uncomfortable, and maternity jeans are like wearing butter. I'm able to look at myself and see and feel this resounding truth that life actually isn't all about me. I can let go. Pregnancy is a sanctification process. So is motherhood. Hallelujah.
I don't think anyone would hesitate to have a baby if they could somehow feel what it's like to have their little human dancing around within them. It's impossible to explain. It's a foreign language until it's yours. All I know is that when the jumping drumbeats of his life wake me up at night, I'm never mad. I can never tire of those midnight conversations. These past few months have eaten away at the deepest parts of me and made room for new growth in every direction, full of all of these thoughts and bits of understanding that I couldn't possibly fathom before. That nebulous and universal mystery, the pregnancy brain. It's real.