“Who am I?” and “Who do I want to be?” were, for me, questions that weighed heavily on me before, during, and after pregnancy.
I celebrated the coming of the last New Year by crying because I had stumbled upon the following words in my reading of Nietzsche: “become who you are”. I was dramatically weeping all around my flat because I had not yet become whom I had wanted to be at this specific stage of my life. After a few hours of research on this genius, I discovered that I was no better than one of those repulsive pompous human beings who thinks they know, but actually don’t. I had misread Nietzsche!
He is actually quite clear on this: your ultimate goal should be to become who you are, but oh, too bad you can’t, because you are not free in this world. I felt worse…
I covered myself with the blanket of mediocrity that I deserved.
Now that I think back on it, the way last year started was a prophecy for the year to come: feeling intellectually mediocre and constantly crying.
Ah, the incredible power of hormones to make life feel like an endless cold grey winter day, where joy and hope have long since departed to make way for this hormonal diktat that forbids any fantasy. In other words, you become a frigid December day in Geneva around the period when Calvin had banned all theatre plays and closed all theaters.
All my life, depressed male philosophers had soothed me with their answers to all my existentialist interrogations. Except on the subject of pregnancy.
Indeed, “my” philosophers had no inspiring perception to give me during the most determinant moment of my life. Well, because most of them were males, and the rare females, like Simone de Beauvoir or Arendt, never had kids themselves.
Therefore, I had no choice but to form an opinion for myself, a raison de vivre, and why not a joie de vivre from my new status.
I remember years back when one lady was telling me, “I have never felt more like a woman then when I was pregnant.” Back then, I was absolutely fascinated by this comment. Now, I feel like I should send her Prozac in a basket with a bow on top. She must have hated life as well as herself if she thought pregnancy was the turning point for her to embrace her womanhood…unless for her, the defining feeling of womanhood as feeling as if your body doesn’t belong to you, you can’t control anything, and at the same time you are required to follow strict rules. I mean, I know that in certain countries or states in America – hello Alabama – that might be how womanhood is perceived to be, but that is not how I see womanhood.
Her comment made as much sense to me as when I hear people saying: » Oh she is pregnant, she is glowing! » What?! Non. They deserve to be punched in the face for making such a ludicrous remark. I did not glow. My friends did not glow. The truth is that no pregnant woman glows. We are human beings trapped in our own body.
Don’t get me wrong – I hated being pregnant as much as I felt blessed for being able to get pregnant in the first place. However, no woman entering her third trimester feels likes she has been descended upon by angels; arrived to bestow upon her the kiss of beauty and womanhood itself.
After I had given birth, these three things made me happiest: the first one was kissing my baby, the second was to kiss my baby again, and the third thing was to call my pregnant friends and tell them: I am not pregnant anymore and then hang up. Needless to say that the fun of this call was one-sided.
We women endure these dreadful months because we know who we want to become: we want to become a mother. But is that really me becoming “who I am”?