I’ve been pregnant two times in less than two years. The physical and emotional demands of being a stay-at-home pregnant mom have been staggering, but one thing is clear and keeps me focused amid all the chaos: God put me on this Earth for a reason, and that reason is to vomit.
When He looks out at the entire world of people who use toilets by sitting on them with their gross butts, or dangling their gross penises over them, God turns to me and says, “no, Julia, not you. The primary body part with which you will have toilet contact will be your face – the beautiful, delicate, unique identifier that you use to eat, smile, smell, and kiss.” I wasn’t expecting this to be my calling, but, sometimes He surprises us in the most wonderful ways.
As I’ve written before, the first trimester of my first pregnancy was a deluge of puke. During my third trimester, we went mattress shopping and all the repeated laying down, standing up, and general jostling triggered a special blend of heart burn and spit up that I like to call “heart barf.”
I threw up during labor. After the pregnancy I was so excited about margaritas that I drank a bunch of them really quickly and then barfed. Breastfeeding sapped all my iron so I took iron pills, which make you throw up unless you’ve stuck the pill inside of a whole cooked turkey, wrapped it in a pizza, and swallowed it all down with a milkshake. I did the margarita thing again because “this time, it will be different.” And then I puked.
Then there were a couple months where I didn’t really throw up that much. This was a weird time for me. I struggled on the toilet, and often fell off because I wasn’t sure how to use a toilet without staring it directly in the face at eye-level. My teeth were covered in functional enamel, which felt frivolous. I instigated conversations with my husband that were about his day, his work, his hopes… without ever once requesting that he please suffocate me in my sleep.
Then I got pregnant again and I realized the one true thing that had been missing in my life: chronic, relentless vomiting. When the first trimester hit, I would lock my one-year-old daughter in the bathroom with me for hours so that I could stare at the toilet water while she watched endless YouTube videos and dismantled the nose hair trimmer with her mouth. My dentist told me to stop brushing my teeth, which made sense to me: If I were to become one with the toilet, my breath must smell like a toilet as well. After 10 weeks of sickness, it all stopped one winter’s day.
And then, two days later, I got food poisoning from the yogurt sauce I consumed from Indian takeout we had ordered to celebrate the return of my appetite (note: I still love yogurt sauce). Then I got the stomach flu a few months later. These afflictions were of minimal concern to my doctor. “Call us when you’re so dehydrated that your pee is dark brown.”
I’m currently in my third trimester, relishing the chronic heart barf that explodes every time I bend down to pick up toddler toys and clothes.
Being put on this Earth exclusively to barf has really altered my worldview. My role on this planet is no longer to pursue a fulfilling career but to quickly stop what I’m doing, walk away with my finger in the “hold up” position to whomever is speaking to me, and proceed quickly to the bathroom. There was a time in my life when I would’ve thought that such a gesture was silly or stupid, but now I know that it’s a really effective way to signal that I’m gonna barf without prematurely opening my mouth. What a gift.
It’s not my place anymore to discuss current events or talk about my dreams for my children. Instead, I choose to say things like “my throat burns” to a stranger in the elevator, or, “there’s a small leak behind your toilet that you should check out” to the manager of whatever McDonald’s I sprinted into at full speed. It’s these small moments and connections with strangers that make my purpose and mission so clear.
I hope this serves as an inspiration to those of you who have not yet found your “calling.” Just get pregnant a bunch of times and then go mattress shopping – it’ll come to you!