The first time this took me by surprise was before I even confirmed I was pregnant. I was working with some folks on a church project last summer, which should have been a fun experience. But there were disagreements about how things should go, and while normally I would shrug off small disputes like that, I got mad. Like, really mad. I drove home from a day of preparing for the event and felt a rage I'd not felt in a long time. I was so irrationally mad about this situation, that I had to pull over to a gas station and take a few deep breaths. I remember questioning myself about this rage, and jokingly wondering if I was pregnant.
Funny how anger was my first clue I was pregnant.
I've been angry more than usual lately. I've gotten mad at the wetter than usual winter we've had. Even though it is helping with drought relief, it is delaying our house remodel by weeks. I've gotten mad at church politics and how after thousands of years, we still can't figure out that mutual forbearance thing. I've gotten mad at the Gospel writer Matthew and his need to add fire and brimstone to the end of stories, just for kicks and giggles. I've gotten mad at my husband and muh dawg for completely irrational reasons. And I've gotten mad by comments people make about my pregnant body. I find it so bizarre that pregnancy creates an open season for people to say the most inappropriate things about your weight or insisting that you're having twins.
The weirdest exchange happened in the grocery store: I walked in and approached the produce section. A woman came up to me and asked if I knew the secret to getting pregnant. I wasn't sure if this was leading to weird joke or if she was serious. I was about to say something about sex being a good place to start, but then she revealed that she and her husband have struggled to get pregnant and are giving up hope. She asked me for advice because she said I look about the same age as her. She then said, "You're about 45 years old, right?"
Cue the anger.
Not only did she make me feel awkward and guilty about being pregnant when she is struggling with infertility (or maybe just going through menopause?) but then she had to overestimate my age by 16 years. This mad, pregnant woman could have gone bananas right there in the produce aisle, but fortunately the chaplain/pastor side kicked in and I told her I would keep her in my prayers and wished her the best. I then spent the rest of my grocery shopping experience, angrily trying to avoid her as we weaved up and down the aisles in a similar pattern.
Other than anger, I've experienced a range of emotions. Mostly extreme joy and extreme sorrow. It's like pregnancy takes your hormones and injects a bunch of steroids into them to play with your head. I've learned that unless I'm in need of a good cry, I have to avoid certain things like watching Steel Magnolias or reading the news. Pretty much all of the news. Topics like ISIS or child abductions or black children being killed by police will all set me over the edge. I don't like that I'm avoiding the news, especially as a preacher who needs to do her congregation a favor by staying informed about the world. But it just gets to be too much.
Like last week when a pregnant woman in my hometown was stabbed and her baby stolen from her womb. The tears just kept rolling. I have been so angry and sad for this mother whose child was stolen from her body. I have been so jolted by the reality that my hometown isn't Pleasantville, a safe and utopic refuge from the world. I have been back and forth emotionally regarding the woman who committed this act, realizing that she has her own trauma and grief which likely led her to do such or horrendous thing. And I've had Gloria Estefan's "Get on Your Feet" stuck in my head because in 2nd grade I stayed the night at a friend's house, which is located down the street from where this stabbing took place, and I have a vivid memory of dancing to that song with my friend on her parent's coffee table.
I can't say I've done the best job of processing all of these emotions, but I have found that pulling weeds and going for long walks are conducive for getting some of it out. I'd like to believe this will all be relieved by childbirth and the end of pregnancy, but I've heard parenthood brings on a whole new wave of emotions.
Guess I better get used to this for the next 60 or so years.