The first time I felt my first baby move inside of me, I was sitting on a train headed home. Someone offered me a seat and I settled in, grateful to avoid worrying about my balance or aching back. Have you ever seen a fish twisting around on a hook? Imagine what that fish would feel like inside your belly. That's what my son felt like the first time I actually felt him. I'd read a lot about what a baby kicking actually feels like. There was a lot about bubbles and flutters and soccer players, but nothing about trout struggling to get away from a fisherman's hook. What can I say? My son's been an original from day one (and also in a fidgeting state of defiant struggle).
Pregnant women eagerly await feeling their baby kick the way sixth grade girls dream of getting their first period — with excitement, impatience, and the unwavering belief that the coming of this momentous occasion is going to bring with it a complete transformation of their life and soul. In both cases, it really can be everything they think it will be but, again in both cases, shortly thereafter it becomes mundane and even annoying (or painful). Having a female body is so awesome, you guys!
Look, I'm not trying to badmouth fetuses or anything, but fetuses are really inconsiderate tenants. It's not their fault. It's just that they've decided to set up a development in, like, the one unused parcel of real estate in the female body. The uterus looks spacious when you're a two celled organism just kinda nestling in there, but before you know it you're growing arms and legs and there's no where for them to go. Then they're constantly adjusting and kicking and trying to get comfortable and, in the process, annoying the neighbors (usually the bladder, but the intestines, lungs, and other organs are metaphorically banging on their ceiling with a broom).
But that first kick? No one can take that magic away from you. (And, let's be honest: even when they're annoying they can be nice, too.) Here's what 14 other moms had to say about it.
"Getting beat up from the inside. And you can't even hit back."
"Amazing. It didn't bother me at all. I still remember sitting in front of my class full of students and one little boy was fascinated at watching my belly move and roll because the baby was kicking. It truly felt like a miracle to me."
"In the beginning it felt weird. Like there was an alien inside of me. After my third was born, and I no longer felt them plus knowing I wouldn't be having more children, I really missed it."
"I called our son 'Froggie' at first because he felt like a little frog hopping inside me when I first felt him move at 21 weeks (the placenta was attached at the front of my uterus, so it took me longer to feel him because it was like he was kicking into a pillow). By the end it would feel like he was wrestling with me, especially when I'd roll over at night and he'd have to readjust himself and get comfortable again."
"My little bird (as we called her) always felt like bubbles popping. Then as she got bigger she felt more like I had Cirque du Soleil inside me. She would also 'starfish' and spread both arms and legs out in all directions. She still does this now on the outside. I always laugh when she moves and I recognize it from how it felt when she was still in the womb."
"Little flutters at first so you don't know if it's tacos or baby movement. But now, at 8 months, my little one feels like she's stretching out her feet and arms at the same time so I'll get a punch in the vag whilst simultaneously getting a kick out of the side of my belly. Literally knocks the wind out of me every time. Fun times."
"In the beginning like a muscle spasm, by the end full on disco dancer in your tummy."
"Everyone told me it was going to be like little butterfly kisses or something. I never felt that: I got good solid Pelé style kicks somewhere around 25 weeks. That's what my little guy wanted to communicate. Then I got the weird 'kick punch' combo: simultaneous kick in the right ribs with an uppercut to my left pelvis. The actual kicks felt like popping an object around a gasket, kind of a weird rubbery thump. It's weird—at the time I was like, 'Stop kicking me you weird football player' and looking back I'm kind of nostalgic about it. Postpartum hormones, eh?"
"Like when you get an eye twitch, only about 100x bigger and definitely not in your eye."
"At the beginning it feels like someone is tapping at you from the inside. Then it progresses to little playful jabs. Eventually it turns into alien like contortions while poking your most sensitive of internal organs and jumping on your bladder."
[Writer's note: So, you know, fun times all around, folks!]