Dare I say it? I miss being pregnant.

Shortly after I delivered my son, I found myself rubbing my tummy. At first, I thought it was a tendency I was subconsciously repeating. After all, I was pregnant for over 40 weeks and grew an affinity for my rather large bump. But when you aren’t pregnant, circling around your stomach that’s still swollen and large isn’t the best idea publically.

“Maybe it will take some time to kick the pregnancy habits,” I swore. Once I realized I wasn’t rubbing my bump because it was big or there, I was rubbing my bump to show affection to my babyit became clear: I miss being pregnant.

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I didn’t just miss eating anything and everything under the sun and having an excuse to do so. I didn’t just miss dressing the bump and having a tummy plate rack for snacking on the sofa. I didn’t just miss being treated kinder by strangers.

I missed and longed for growing a life inside of me.

Trust me, I had a very challenging time being pregnant with my first. It wasn’t all roses for the duration of the pregnancy. I was nauseous or vomiting for 20+ weeks. My skin broke out from my chest up, and my chest down was a canvas for stretch marks. My feet swelled wider than they were long. My hair turned dry and brittle. I peed myself more than I care to remember. Also, I hardly ever slept. Pregnancy probably didn’t look great on my under 5-foot frame, but deep down, my heart and soul were overflowing with purpose and love.

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I have purpose, still, as I’m raising a toddler. Pregnancy purpose is a different kind of special though. The togetherness of a toddler holding my hand is beautiful, but having a baby grow in my womb, the constant companionship and unique bond only he and I were sharing, is unbeatable.

My favorite memories (albeit the most tiring) were in the middle of the night. At 2 a.m., in the dark of the night, I would get up from bed and walk my pregnant body around the living room to try to rock my baby inside back to sleep so I could rest. In those lonely moments when every other house on the block had their lights out, our light was on as I paced around the house. In those hours, I sang to my unborn child. I told him the most random stories of my life and my innermost thoughts. We really bonded.

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I knew what I was doing when I was pregnant. I walked, drank loads of water, watched my diet, and played calming music. But once a baby is born, we are thrown into the unknown. There’s an unspeakable loss that comes with delivering a child. He was here with me, but now he’s gone. Sure he’s here now physically in my arms, but my body is empty.

I miss when it was just us.

I miss when the hustle and bustle of life didn’t interfere with our time together. I miss when he would respond to my finger pushing by pressing his feet against my hands. I miss how beautiful I felt. Sure I looked worn and tired, but my body positivity was far higher than it is now. I miss two hearts beating.

Now, when I see a pregnant woman walking by me, I am overcome by nostalgia (and a bit of jealousy). I have to stop myself from touching my long gone tummy and know this is all part of the process. I have a beautiful little boy, but I must admit: I miss being pregnant.

Jennifer Bailey

Stay at home mom enjoying one little boy and navigating parenting one trip to Target at a time.