This weekend I had a rather genius revelation. I revalation-ized that we all start out as a solid ball of Silly Putty – a nice, solid hunk of mass capable of being thrown and caught and bounced, yet still retaining its stability. We are sturdy and up for any challenges life might toss our way. Let’s pretend that one of those life challenges is pregnancy, shall we?
At the beginning of it all, life doesn’t change too much, and everyone is so thrilled for you. You haven’t done any serious thinking about how much diapers will cost, when you’ll have time for girls nights out, or how much time you will be able to afford to take off for maternity leave. You pretty much retain your normal, everyday lifestyle…minus the liquor and energy. The first trimester you’re still that same old molded ball of sanity with few restrictions and a sensationally sexy mom-to-be glow!
Around week 15, some reality sets in and you and your partner start discussing daycare options, nursery decor, and name choices…still, of course, just for fun. No need to get serious until much later in the pregnancy. But, at the same time, you start to feel a little of the push – checking your bank account more often, trying to figure out a budget, visiting the doctor, struggling to carry on a conversation about your life pre-pregnancy. In the second trimester, your solid ball is starting to flatten. That positive sense of control might start to leak out the sides a bit and some of those much-needed air bubbles may pop at times when you need them most, leaving you momentarily breathless. I’m not saying you’re deflating (in fact, physically, you’re INflating), but you’re starting to feel emotionally squished.
I am currently in the first week of my third trimester. THIS is when your already-slightly flattened ball of sanity gets squashed and converted into a Stretch Armstrong action figure. All of the sudden, you realize you have about 12 weeks before life will change forever. There are no more air bubbles to rely on. Instead, you are being pulled in 500 different directions and your brain is oozing out your ears, and the worst part is, your Silly Putty was made with a pinch of progesterone, so being stretched that thin takes its toll on your emotions. You want to plan a few last romantic nights with your husband, but still want a few last evenings of quiet by yourself. You know you need to focus on your job those 8 hours a day you’re there, but the laundry list of “nursery items to buy online” won’t shop for themselves. You need to find time to run to the bank, clean your car, call in-home daycares, buy your neighbor a 1st Communion gift, get fitted for your brother’s wedding, dust, finish putting photos in that album you’ll “get to some day,” go grocery shopping, change the sheets, pick up a birthday gift for your husband (tomorrow – crap!), shower, shave, and find an outfit that still covers your stomach…all on little sleep because, even when you ARE able to crawl into bed before midnight, those 7 pillows aren’t de-kinking the backpain you developed from running around like a mad woman all day. And the cycle continues.
We’ve all seen what happens when Silly Putty gets pulled too tight. Sure, it hangs on for awhile…holes form, it gets all loose and stringy…but, eventually, it falls apart. At least in the third trimester, that little human growing inside you has a mind of his own and is able to kick your ribs until they bruise if your stress levels shoot through the roof. He is feeling just like you right now, trying to enjoy his last 3 months of silence and coachless amniotic swimming lessons before he gets (literally) pushed out into the world, surrounded by new faces, sounds, and sights. Talk about stress! So, why bother him now? Why not let him pretend he’s living in a well-formed ball of sanity before he has to experience this all on his own!?
Although it’s darn near impossible for me to turn off the “go-go-go” switch that controls my chaotic everyday regime, it does a body good. Nothing that was ever created with emotions can ever feel like everything is as it should be. There are always more people to see, places to go, and errands to run, but just understand that you’re trying your best. What good are you to the world if you’re a crumbling, broken, over-elasticized string of nothingness? I know I wouldn’t buy a red egg full of that. My Silly Putty needs some substance – to be able to flatten, stretch, pop, and roll up again when I need it to. It might not ever be at full-strength like when it first came out of the egg, but as long as it can stay together until its baby Silly Putties turn 18, we’re in business. I’m sold.