Let me start by thanking all my fans for questioning my whereabouts during these past few months. It s nice to feel wanted and missed. (Mom and Dad, the employees at Grainewshave kindly requested that you simply call me directly rather than contacting them. I believe the words gauche and awkward were used.)
Over the past few months, rather than experiencing the joys of writing this column, I was in the throes of passion, panic, pain, pure bliss as we welcomed our third child into this world. For those of you who have not experienced the miracle called childbirth, please allow me to summarize. I imagine it could be likened to getting hit by a semi and having certain body parts and functions rendered useless temporarily, if you re lucky. And I don t exaggerate. EVER. But then the good news is, just as you gain the strength to raise your head and open a puffy eye to survey the carnage, you get handed a child. Kind of like compensation for damages rendered. A beautiful raw, purple, slippery, wet, hairy, screaming heap of a blessed infant gets placed in your arms one who immediately stakes claim to every waking, and non-waking moment for the rest of your life. Did I use the word bliss yet? If so, I m in clear and present danger of repeating myself.
Needless to say, here s a list of things I won t miss about being pregnant:
The won t miss list:
1.Wondering if the sudden onset of loose bowels could be the start of labour.
You re told to keep an eye on this, as it could be a significant indicator of things to come.
Doctor: Could it be something you ate?
Me: I can t think of anything outside the ordinary.
Doctor: Well, what did you have for supper last night?
Me: Supper last night was leftover broccoli and cauliflower. But then I put back a family-size pack of peanut M&Ms, or was it a party pack? Whatever, the bag was as big as my head. That, and a box of Old Dutch salt n vinegar chips. Something there made me feel a little sick so I washed it all down with a root beer. I m thinking maybe the broccoli made me gassy. It often does.
Doctor: So you think the broccoli did it?
Me:Silence& I could tell he was trying to trick me into shaming myself, as doctors often do. I will not miss these clumsy discussions about gas.
A day later, I visited my other doctor (OBGYN) and after checking my vitals he declared, Well, I must say that you re the picture of a perfect pregnancy! Whatever you re doing, keep it up. This resulted in my husband striking his head against the back wall and muttering something motivational like, Please don t tempt the beast.
2.The incessant urination.
I wasn t aware that you could go every 20 minutes. And to add insult to injury, when you suspect that your water has broke, your doctor will inevitably ask if perhaps you may have simply peed your pants and mistaken that for your water breaking. Is this what it all comes down to? The assumption that you re suffering from brain rot and can t tell for certain if you ve soiled yourself? Good times, proud moments.
3.The ridiculous advice and questions.
Are you rested?I haven t felt completely relaxed and rested since 1987.
Have you made arrangements for your pets or other children?I ll assume this isn t referring to flower or funeral arrangements, so no.
Is your hospital bag packed and ready?Come do my laundry and find out.
Are you hydrated and have you eaten properly?See above-mentioned discussion with doctor.
Are the baby supplies available for when baby arrives?Laundry basket will be dumped and appropriately lined.
4.Kissing of the baby belly& post-pregnancy.
In the weeksfollowing the birth, my daughter was constantly lifting up my shirt to kiss the baby. The fact that she preferred to do this whenever we were out in public provided ongoing self-esteem boosters.
The will miss list:
1.Having complete (and cute) strangers come up and rub me.
Really, when s that going to happen again? If someone were to come up to me and rub my belly now, well let s just say it wouldn t illicit feelings of warmth and gladness.
2.Being the proud owner of D-cup breasts.
The fact that they were due to blocked ducts and only lasted for 27 hours is not important. I had them. Put that in your pipe.
3.Being part of the greatest miracle on earth.
Being in that delivery room when another human being enters the world is a defining moment in a split second, your life changes forever. I know without a doubt that it s one of the most beautiful moments of my life, and I ll remember it always. It saddens me to think that I will never experience a moment like that again that first cradle with a newborn, nestling my head right into their scalp, drinking in that baby smell, that tight grasp when they first discover your finger and grab hold like their life depends on it for an instant, you re permitted a tiny glimpse of eternity.
It feels like I m closing a colossal chapter in my life, although I suspect the most significant accomplishments still lie ahead. Bearing children is one thing; the true test will be raising them to be pillars of the earth to be the ones who stand up for themselves and for those in need, to have compassion and empathy in abundance, to be the peacemakers, even in times when it would be easier to sit back and criticize. Yes, building that character is where the proverbial jewels in the crown rest, and I m looking forward to the challenge. For a very short while, they re with us. But one day the world will get to have more of them, and I want it to be a better place because of it. In my eyes, it already is.
JanitaVandeVeldegrewuponafarmnear Mariapolis,Man.Sheholdsabachelorofscience degreeinagriculturaleconomicsfrom theUniversityofManitoba,andhasworked forafinancialinstitutionsincegraduating.She livesinRegina,Sask.,withherhusbandRoddy andtheirchildrenJack,IslaandJames.Her firstnovel,PostcardsNeverWritten,wasthe recipientoftheSaskatchewanReader sChoice AwardandalsolistedbyCBCasoneofthetop funnybooksin2009.Shedonatesaportionof proceedsfromthesaleofherbooktoWorld Visiontohelpthoselessfortunate.Formore information,ortoorderherbook,visitherweb-site at www.janita.ca