I just gave birth for the third and final time. The last few weeks of the pregnancy were frustrating, uncomfortable, and exhausting. I couldn't go for a walk around the neighborhood without pausing to catch my breath. I survived on a couple of hours of sleep each night thanks to acid reflux, leg cramps, and fetal hiccups. On top of that, I was really impatient to meet my daughter: to inhale her sweet skin and feel her warm little body across my chest. Still, I tried to remember that pregnancy is truly a profound journey, one I'd never get to experience again. So in one of those really difficult moments, I decided to focus on all the things I'd miss about being pregnant. And then, of course, I wrote this list in my daughter's Letterbook:
1. No Scooping Kitty Litter. Did you know that contact with kitty litter can lead to contracting toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease that can be harmful to unborn babies? We have two cats. I'm not really sure how or why they make their litter box area so disgusting, but I was delighted to have an excuse not to deal with it for 9 months.
2. Cravings and a Great Excuse to Indulge Them. Maybe at some point in my life I will again crave cinnamon bun pancakes and a side of avocado with hollandaise sauce every day for a week, but I'll never have a socially acceptable reason to make that happen again.
3. The Parking Spot for Expecting Mothers. I once waited 25 minutes outside a Michael's Craft Store to confront a senior citizen in a Bentley who had wrongfully parked in the Expectant Mothers spot. It's safe to say I will miss using it.
4. Bringing Joy to Strangers. When you're pregnant, you bring genuine joy to people's faces on a daily basis. It's really lovely to make people smile without doing anything more than waddle down the grocery aisle. True, strangers continue to be delighted by babies and toddlers, but at some point this will stop happening and I'll miss it.
5. Sexy Dreams. During each pregnancy, I had a baffling crush on a celebrity I don't find all that attractive when I'm not with child. Jake Tapper doesn't do much for me these days, but we had a memorable love affair in my head for weeks during the 2016 election cycle.
6. Chivalry. Everyone opens doors for you when you're visibly pregnant. Yes, in theory, this should happen even when I'm not pregnant; we should all be considerate of each other all the time, but that's not how it is.
7. A Reason Not to Ride the Carousel. Do you, too, have a toddler who wants to ride the local carousel ad nauseum? And a husband whose tendency toward vertigo usually means you're the chaperone? No? Well, "I can't because I'm pregnant" also works for any number of unpleasant activities. Make the most of it.
8. The Flutter. This one's purely sentimental. There's absolutely nothing in the world like feeling another human life inside you for the first time.
9. The Baby Shower. Really, when in my adult life am I going to have another party just for me - my 40th birthday, perhaps? Will it be able to top the tea party organized by my friends Mariela and Olivia, who unironically wore an enormous hat and pearls and white gloves? I think not.
10. Maternity Jeans. These are jeans with an elastic waistband, and as soon as I found them I wondered how I'd gone 28 years without them. (Who am I kidding? I intend to wear these in perpetuity.)