So, I've been priding myself on losing a bit of weight, especially when I look around the office and see these enormous bellies everywhere.
But then, I must stop and remind myself that all these women who have suddenly developed a serious need for elastic-waist pants aren't fat--they're pregnant.
We're experiencing a strange baby phenomenon at the office: stomachs sprouting, baby genders being pre-announced, maternity leaves being scheduled. (Ha! And how many of these women will use up vacation days toward this leave of absence? "Vacation Time" will become an oxymoron once they live through a few nights of three-hour feeding intervals.)
Yes, I remember the trials of pregnancy and the torture of labor and delivery. My favorite tale of torture? How about the failed epidural that was officially declared to be on the fritz only after the doctor started my emergency C-section and made the first, oh so not numbed by medication, SLICE IN MY ABDOMEN?
God only knows why I was willing to have a second child.
The reality, cliche' and all, is that time does make you forget the pain of childbirth. Or perhaps you don't truly forget it, but are willing to do it all over again, for the joy of giving birth to another child.
That unmatched joy (along with rampant lust and ineffective birth control) has kept the earth populated since the beginning of time.
I'm past my prime child-bearing years, and my sons are both young adults. No more babies for me, and I'm OK with that realization.
Yet, I eye these mothers-to-be with a bit of envy. I experience their hopes and dreams vicariously. I have to hold myself back from touching the baby-filled bellies of my co-workers, as well as total strangers. I have an uncontrollable urge to ask to feel their babies kick.
Though I'll never again feel the sensation of a baby doing somersaults within me, the memory still causes me to have butterflies in my stomach.
Pregnancy--as fleeting and frightening and fascinating as it is--isn't just the beginning of a new human life. It's the beginning of a new world for that tiny human's parents.
At some point, of course, we're too biologically old to simply forget the trials and torture of pregnancy and childbirth, and to instead simply choose to do it all over again.
Although we're likely to thank God for that, once our older children become teenagers.