Dear Future Not-Pregnant Me,
I've seen you eying those baby bumps on other women. Romanticizing what it was like to be walking around with another life growing inside of you. Recalling with fondness those times you were expecting Faith, Gabs and Rob Jr. (not the actual name). Before you do anything drastic, allow currently pregnant you to offer you some advice. And future Rob, if you're reading this now, ruuuuuuun! Seriously, go lock yourself in a hotel room until future me finishes reading this letter. (Wow, this is getting all Matrix-y.)
Repeat after me: Pregnancy is HARD! Really really hard. A positive pregnancy test result is quickly followed by immediate worry for you. You tend to fret about everything and then some, going so far as to Google things like"in utero seizures." Once you've managed to calm the hell down, you typically turn your attention to Enemy #1: food.
The mere mention of meat makes your gag reflect activate. Bread and cheese seem to be your only two friends, hence why you gain close to 40 pounds each time. For the record, you once at a bagel with refried beans on it when pregnant, which proves knocked-up you cannot be trusted . Do the words "Flamin' Hot Cheetos" ring a bell? Even present you judges you for that.
Moving on from the nauseous phase, you start showing incredibly early. Which means maternity clothes come on at about 14 weeks. The same frocks you were excited to buy at Target in the beginning are still the same ones on the rack six months later. (Come on Bullseye, work with me here.) While that elastic band in most prego pants is nice to have on Thanksgiving, your jeans constantly slip, leaving you wondering if you might be able to pull off suspenders. The answer is no.
Remember the other day when you bent over to pick something up and didn't think anything of it? That is purely impossible when you're "with child." At not even 30 weeks, the act of dropping something on the floor angers you to the point of yelling out almost-obscenities like "SHIPS!" The former you may have told her husband not to bother even bringing in the newspaper if he was just going to throw it on the floor. This may have been said in a raised voice on the brink of tears, I can't remember.
Wine. Yeah, a little glass of red vino at the end of a long day sounds nice, doesn't it? Pregnant you can only stare a little too long at the Valentine bottle display and go home to water laced with a fiber supplement. And all those yummy craft beers Mr. Lindquist so rudely drinks in front of you during pregnancy? Yeah, you can go down one of those right now. And damn if they don't pair perfectly with sushi, another no no for preggies.
Girl Scout cookies - ha! You are borderline diabetic when pregnant. Watch those carbs and sugars girlfriend, which by the way, are in everything that tastes good. Don't worry though, you can still have all the veggies you need, but not too much fruit. Dairy is hard on your weak stomach, and meat proteins, well, you know how you feel about pork.
You ever watch hot dogs rotating around in a rotisserie? That's how you sleep when you're pregnant, except you don't go all the way around. You just toss and turn approximately 47 times a night. Surprisingly, you only get up to go to the bathroom about once a night. The worst is when you can't "go" if you know what I mean. And I think you still remember what that leads to...
Working out just isn't possible for you when you're pregnant. This being the 3rd go round, your bones, joints and muscles south of the border ain't what they used to be. Other than yoga, you're limited to walking and it's usually cold out when you're pregnant. If you can go for a run right now, do it. Just try not to pass by anyone with a jogging stroller.
You have three awesome kiddos, and the truth is this body of ours has done its fair share. Hopefully by now your boobs are your own again, you're back to your pre-pregnancy weight (whatever that means) and you're sleeping through the night. Why ruin a good thing, girl?
Oh. I know why. Those baby kicks are the absolute best. His movements in the middle of an important meeting remind me that I'm never alone. All that deprivation and stress fade to the background when he gets the hiccups. Before I know it, he'll be here, and I'll miss this part immensely - the adorable way my belly looked like a basketball in my clothes, the way I'm eating as much as you want and how I don't even care, how I park in the expectant mother spot anywhere I go, the smiles from strangers, the leeway from my husband to be lazy, it's what we remember long after the other things are distant memories.
So, future me, know that while it was hard and sometimes I envied you, I did appreciate this opportunity to the fullest. I'm grateful to have this experience for the last time. You really don't need to come back and do it again. So go sleep on your stomach, drink wine at will and when you walk by the maternity section at Target, smile when you see it's still the same clothes they had back in 2017.
34-year-old pregnant you