You Should be the Happiest Person on Earth
This post originally appeared on our old blog Born to be a Bride.
There have been many points in my pregnancy at which someone has said something inappropriate that made me want to throttle them. Or race home and write an angry blog post. I’ve often written these in my head, teeth grinding, as I drove sped home with Lloyd Banks turned up as high as my Durango’s speakers will allow. It seems once you get pregnant (or for that matter, are in any way “different” from the general population), other people feel they have the right to impose all sorts of character, milestone, and other judgements on you. From comments on your weight (you’re too thin! your bump is high! be prepared to gain weight in those skinny legs, too, sorry!) to mandating an answer on whether or not I intend to breastfeed.
Now, I understand that this is a temporary situation, but it’s also one that’s inherently rattled with anxiety, exaggerated emotion, financial stress, physical discomfort, the list goes on. So every once in a while, these “friendly” comments from others can really piss me off. For example: When I was 12 weeks pregnant I went to a skin doctor for my annual body scan. As a lifelong sun worshipper and former tanning bed addict, it’s my responsibility to take care of this every year. Sure enough, the doc found a mole he didn’t like and swiped it. It was later determined that the mole was a 1 on a scale of 1-10; 1 being the tiniest chance of a threat and 10 being a red alert. I decided to just go ahead and get the deeper surgery to have it extracted while pregnant; once there’s a squirming ball of love in my arms 24/7 and I haven’t seen a full night’s sleep in as long as I can remember, there’s no way I’ll have the time or interest in booking a mole extraction.
I arrived at the office and it was like Grand Central Station, minus the ceiling art or fancy clocks. There were so many patients waiting that half didn’t have seats. Babies screamed, old people quivered, it looked like the inside of a nightmare. Sure enough, it was 45 minutes before they would even let me check in. At 6 months pregnant and not quite as spry as I was at my last visit, I felt my heart racing. I broke into a sweat. The anxiety from the crowding, noise, and lack of bathroom was setting me over the edge. I also didn’t have enough cash on me to pay the massive copay they were asking, and they wouldn’t take a card. Head throbbing, I approached the desk to cancel. After a battle of epic proportions, an RN came out and ushered me into the back where I could wait for the doctor quietly. I was now crying. It was just too much. A rush of anxiety washed me over from head to toe — I was about to get cut into with no pain repellant by a doctor whose office had dirty floors. My daughter was technically with me, potentially affected. I’ve had a rough go of it medically ever since I was a little kid, but I’ve always had my mom there to make me feel taken care of. Now I was the mom and it absolutely terrified me. I just wanted to get out.
When the doctor finally came in, I told him I didn’t think I could do it. I was now sitting with my head between my knees trying to keep myself from throwing up. He changed the subject. “How’s your pregnancy going?” I looked up at him, eyes rimmed in red, still shaking and sweaty from the anxiety attack that his damn waiting room brought on, and said in a wavering voice, “It’s good.” His eyes did that thing that says, Tell me more. “It’s hard not having family nearby,” was the best I could muster.
What I meant, I realize now, is that the entire past six months was spilling out into this moment. Being so far from my parents, my tight group of girlfriends a phone call away but not able to come by and rub my back or let me watch them drink wine and complain together. Our life has been disjointed and a bit chaotic, Josh’s work a central focus and our weekends a beautiful extra. But the reality is, day to day, I am totally alone. And in that doctor’s office, it all spilled out. I just wanted to go back and be 12 again, letting my mother swiftly remove me from an uncomfortable situation. Or at least have Josh there by my side, to say, “You know what? You don’t have to do this today. F*ck the cancellation fee. We’re leaving.”
Do you know what my doctor said to me?
“You’re pregnant! You should be the happiest person on earth.”
I wanted to smack him but what I did was quietly head toward the stupid table and lie down to have my f*cking mole excised. In a couple of months, my little chicken will be here and I will have someone to take care of all of the time. For now the best I can do is try and take care of myself, and telling him about himself was not going to get me in that direction. But removing any tiny shred of danger from my body sure would.
Tears rolled down my cheeks as I felt every puncture, every stitch. After, I called my mom and told her I missed her. And that I was supposed to be the happiest person on earth. And like mothers do, she knew what to say. I had every right to be anxious and scared; they shouldn’t make anyone, let alone pregnant women, wait standing up for 45 minutes; the doctor is a presumptuous prick; and now it’s over.
Move on I will, but I didn’t go back to have the stitches taken out. Thanks to a YouTube video and a pair of nail scissors, my caretaker of a husband did it for me. And I’ve made the first move in being the kind of mom that I have — people who stress me out can step to the side. If you want to judge me or tell me how to feel, you can do so in your own head. But I’m doing a good job. And I am very happy indeed. It doesn’t mean that every once in a while I won’t need a hug. I’m just glad I have the right people in my corner for that, too.