The Unicorn Effect

Thursday, October 4, 2012

2009, pregnant with Matilda
Let's just clarify something right off the bat so there is no confusion about this post:
I'm NOT pregnant.

Okay.  Just had to get that out of the way before people start texting me and posting confusing/excited comments and before I know it my mother is shopping the newborn clearance section at Target before I can tell her there has been some massive misunderstanding.  No, I'm not with child.  I have two daughters only 20 months apart, and that is plenty for my pocketbook, my sanity, and my blood pressure.  For now, anyway.

But, there are plenty of friends around that are walking-wonders-with -bundles-of-joy and ever so occasionally I will glance at their expanding bellies and get a slight dose of awe sinking down into my gut.  It's not exactly the "baby fever" I once experienced prior to having children (you know, that all-consuming, gotta-get-pregnant, totally frenzied, inner overachiever in us that sparks up at the sight of chubby cheeks and little toes...that feeling of something missing in your life that you never even knew you wanted so badly until you couldn't control whether you got it or not...that glorious phase of wanting a little, mini-combo person of you and your spouse who would bring endless hours of joy and entertainment).  No, no...I'm afraid "baby fever" is only really a one-time disease, because once you know what motherhood is truly like, you know better than to symptomize something so insane into such perfect ideals.  I mean, the "baby fever" phase was fun...just like falling in love with my husband was fun before we got married...but, it's just not something you can emotionally or physiologically sustain for an extended amount of time!  Whew.
Awe and wonder

I'm just talking about getting that little inner glimpse into feeling a glimmer of the memory of being pregnant.  I'll just say it - sometimes I miss being pregnant when I see my beautifully, glowing, waddling friends who are growing live humans in their bodies.  I don't look at them and remember the back pain, the nausea, or the sanity-shattering-irritability that drove me nuts for 9+ months.  No, I look at them and think about how my crazy, loud-mouthed, whine-machine children were once part of me, silently and perfectly developing from cells into actual, living, thinking, moving persons.  I remember the wonder, not the work.  And I remember how people would stop and stare and notice me for simply being a vessel of that wonder.

And that's when it struck me - do I actually miss being pregnant?

Or, do I kind of, maybe, sometimes just actually miss being that wonder-carrying-miracle-vessel that people noticed???

As a dear (and currently with-child) friend of mine put it, "When you're pregnant, people stop and stare like you are a magical unicorn".  Bingo.  Not only that, but she and I agreed that people actually go out of their way for you!  You score free stuff, move up spots in line, doors get opened for you, and strangers tilt their heads in sympathy and awe of how lovely you are...all because they, too, remember the wonder and spectacular specialness of it all.

Yes, maybe that's what I miss!?

2011, pregnant with Daphne
It might sound superficial or silly or even selfish...but, the truth is, when that baby pops out of you, you no longer can play the I-am-sorry-I-can't-do-such-n-such-because-I'm-so-pregnant card.  And the but-I-just-had-a-baby card expires shortly after.  Months and months of people caring for you, asking how you are feeling, reaching out to meet your needs and accommodating your every comfort...and then, BAM, done.  You immediately fall back into the shuffle of normal people, regular Joes, and total suckers, having to fend for yourself again.  You've gone from magical unicorn to boring stable mare all in one night.  Shucks, that stinks.

Of course you are so glad to get that baby out of you.  As pleasant and wonderful as pregnancy is, I can still recall the final weeks of utter discomfort taking their toll on my body and life.  Definitely, by the end of the pregnancy the last thing I wanted was to remain that way forever.  But, there is something confusing and shocking about losing that unicorn effect.  Suddenly, you've returned to your normal skin (albeit, forever changed in your heart and soul by parenthood) and people don't look at you as if something surreal and supernatural just happened to you.  But, IT DID!

There are all kinds of novelty shirts out there for pregnant women.  You've seen them/worn them/given them as gifts.  We laugh at how adorable they are with "Baby on Board" and "Here's my Bump" with arrows and hearts and smiley faces branding the bellies.  Those shirts always draw attention and questions and smiles from anyone who takes time to notice them.  But, there's no t-shirts for the new mother!  There's no "High Five Me Because I Just Had A Baby" shirt.  I've never seen a "Wonder Woman = Mother" tank, or a "Not Pregnant, Just Awesome" polo.  Nope.

Hmm.  Maybe us moms could start a new business here?  Just kidding.

This is not to say we shouldn't revel in the wonder that is the pregnant-woman.  On the contrary!  Let's continue the encouraging glances of awe!  Just don't let them stop when the baby is out.  The next time you see a new mom, especially one with a tiny, fresh baby who is possibly unknowingly-sad that doors are no longer being opened for the door for her.  Compliment her.  High five that lady and marvel at her for a second.

I'm not ready to be pregnant again just yet.  I mean, as much as I have a say in these things, I'm fine with waiting and enjoying the two crazilicious girlies that I've got.  Still, I do look forward to being pregnant again someday and walking around like a magical unicorn, partaking in the privileges that only a short-lived sliver of time offers us.  But, I hope, until that time comes again, I can bestow a little bit of wonder-ful-ness to us normal, non-pregnant, types.  We might not be as blatantly, obviously, miraculous as our child-carrying friends...but, we are all carrying rainbows in our pockets.  Memories of miracles, countenance of courage, stomachs of strength, and guts deep down in us that can recall in an instant how we were once growing actual human beings in our very own bodies.

You just don't turn that kind of wonder off when the baby leaves.

High five, mamas.  You remain wonder-ful.


  1. Emily,

    I was just talking to Aaron about this last night. I told him that I have become a celebrity again...everyone looks at me. I love it :-) I just know how hard it is when no one gives you a second glance and you haven't lost your baby weight and you didn't do your hair or take a shower and you have spit up on your shirt...rude awakening.

    But I'm enjoying celebrity status while I have it!

    Sarah Scantlen

  2. I knew that all I had to say would spark your inner writer. You're so talented and it's like you wrote straight from my brain. Thanks for the always funny encouragement. Love you.

    Yours for 6 more weeks,
    Magical Pregnant Unicorn


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