Growing up, I was never really exposed to pregnant people or babies. I don’t have many aunts or uncles and the ones I do have live in a different country. So my experience and my understanding of pregnancy is probably a little skewed. I was already twenty years old by the first time I held a baby and boy was it weird. This little human was thrust into my arms by one of Rachel’s trusting cousins who had also only just met me but for some reason had the utmost confidence in me. I stood there motionless just trying not to drop it and begging Rach to take it out of my hands. As I said, growing up, my exposure to pregnancy was limited to what I saw on tv and in movies. From what I understood, pregnant women were hot then cold, incomprehensible, inconsolable and nearly intolerable. There was nothing a man could do but quietly say “yes dear”, massage her feet and rub her back. He was supposed to bring her whatever outlandish craving she desired in that moment and hope she still wanted it by the time you got back. The media’s portrayal of pregnancy in shows like ‘Friends’ and movies like ‘Look Whose Talking’ were my only source of understanding pregnancy and I was about to learn just how outlandish they really were.
You can imagine what I was thinking when Rachel and I found out we were pregnant. I was nervous and scared!! I thought that the woman I fell in love with was about to turn into this unrecognizable force of impossible requests. I was scared that for the next nine months she would have an unending list of needs and wants that would change from moment to moment. For the first couple months I was just holding my breath and waiting for the ball to drop but it never did. Another couple months passed and Rach got bigger with our baby girl and still nothing really changed. She hadn’t asked me to get her pickles in the middle of the night and hadn’t started crying when the batteries in the tv remote died. What I thought would be an impossible nine months turned out to be very exciting and rewarding. There were some very normal requests for foot and back rubs which are very understandable considering the extra weight and pressure! But nothing out of the ordinary, no outbursts or hysterics, no atypical cravings other than Perrier which is apparently pretty normal. All of the build up had been for nothing, everything I had been led to expect couldn’t have been further from the truth.
If I’ve learnt anything over the past nine months, it’s that everything that Rach has been feeling and everything she’s asked for has been completely justified and expected. Her being tired, sore, having acid reflux and getting hotter than normal are all things that seem like the natural course during pregnancy. There is no baseline portrayal of what pregnancy looks like. Everyone is different and hormones effect everyone a little differently. I feel very lucky to have fallen in love, married and gotten pregnant with Rachel, she made nine months pregnancy feel fun. We had fun photo shoots, joked about all the ways she has changed, we’ve laughed and cried in joy at how beautiful the whole experience has been and at the end of it all we know that we will have brought a baby girl into this world.