Pet peeve? More and more people ask me how I’m feeling. Even in passing people no longer ask me, “How are you?” but always, “How are you feeling?” There’s a struggle here to answer authentically. In passing, there’s not really a chance to explain how I actually feel, but honestly?
I’m counting down the days to the due date because, yes, I’m excited to meet my daughter, but I’m just tired of being pregnant.
I miss sleeping through the night.
I wish people would stop rubbing me. Or acting like I can’t do anything for myself.
But most of all I’m tired of people writing me and my tiredness off. If you ask me how I’m feeling and you get a real answer (as opposed to, “GREAT! OH MY GOSH ALL THE HEARTS AND RAINBOWS!!!”), don’t write it off, don’t tell me I shouldn’t feel that way or that it will only get worse. Nobody wants to hear that, especially the lady who is waddling more than she’s walking.
The truth is that, yes, I am tired. I know that I’ll be tired when she’s born. I know that sleeping through the night won’t happen for a long time. I know all of that. But that doesn’t mean I’m not tired now, here, in the present. It gets really old when, time after time, I do my best to be more authentic and am met with scoffs. More often than not, the conversation goes like this:
How are you feeling?
Tired, but good.
Oh, you think you are tired now? Just you wait. This is nothing.
Frustrated, I let the conversation end there. What I want to say is that this IS something, this whole growing a human being is something – something beautiful and miraculous and yet totally exhausting. Sleep doesn’t come easy for any number of reasons. Things that used to come easily – simple things like unloading the dishwasher – now tire me in ways I never thought they would. That’s not something to be written off just because I’ll have a baby on my hands soon.
Do I think I am tired now? Yes, I
think know that I am tired now. Am I naïve enough to think that I’ll get more sleep or be less tired once Monkey is born? Of course not. I don’t live in a bubble or under a rock. I’m well aware that I’ll still be tired once she’s born, but that’s no reason to undercut what I’m feeling now. All that does it set the stage for me – or anyone else, for that matter – to never be validated in what they feel now.
In a sense, we’ve got a big case of “If you give a mouse a cookie…” on our hands. Oh, you think are you tired now? Wait until she starts teething/crawling/walking/talking/becomes a teenager/dates/etc.! Suddenly whatever we feel isn’t validated and isn’t real simply because it could, maybe, someday in the future be worse. What a tragedy to undercut what someone feels in the present for how things may or may not be in the future.
So I’m taking ownership of it: I do feel tired now. Physically, mentally, emotionally, I’m tired. And that’s okay. I know it could change someday. It might be worse, or it could be better, but for right now I’m tired. That’s where I’m at in the present, and I’ll deal with the future as it comes.