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Gifts in Pregnancy Can Include Autonomy

When you become pregnant, you immediately surrender your personal autonomy to some degree. My body’s primary purpose at the moment is to nurture and protect my baby, without ceasing, until I deliver.

Gifts vertical side And that’s okay! Most of the time, the things that are best for baby, like a nutritious diet and regular exercise, are also good for me. But sometimes it feels like my personhood is also lost to this earliest form of motherhood.

This was particularly apparent during the recent holiday season. Many of my dear friends and family purchased me gifts, clothing, and accessories for the baby. I love the baby gifts I received, and I know that they are all things I will need for the baby. But at the risk of sounding ungrateful, there is another part of me that goes, “What about me?” I can hardly bear to say those words because they make me feel like a terrible, selfish person, but in talking to my friends who are also expecting, I know I’m not alone.

And I’m not even scratching the surface of the sexism inherent in only gifting me baby items, while my husband has received none.

I know that ultimately, the things that improve baby’s quality of life will also improve my quality of life, and vice
versa. But no matter how excited I am to be a mom, I still want to be me, too. So it’s not that I don’t need or want things for baby, but I do need and want to still be acknowledged as a human being, even when I’m also a human incubator.

Erin Bowling holds a Masters in Folklore, blogs casually, and can bake a wicked batch of cookies.

The views expressed in this guest blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the organization.

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