Tue 9 Jun 2009
Well, I’m in the final countdown now with the pregnancy. About 6 and half weeks left to go. Pregnancy has been really weird. I work very hard to create realistic expectations, but boy, was I way off on this one. Realism was not enough to prepare me for the reality of my particular pregnancy.
I didn’t expect pregancy to be the defining factor of my existence. I expected it to be a somewhat inconvenient but interesting period of anticipation. You know, last hurrahs of the old independent life, getting ready for the new parent life. In fact, I lived more or less as an invalid for the first six months– first due to doctor restrictions on a high risk pregnancy, then due to severe and ongoing nausea. For so many days and weeks and months my daily agenda was 1. Be pregnant and 2. try to do one other thing. The nausea hasn’t totally abated, but now I can mow the lawn, eat a meal, or get up quickly from the couch without retching. FREEDOM! It looks like the freedom may be shortlived as more late pregancy symptoms crop up, but by golly I’m going to live like a functional adult while I can.
I didn’t expect my self-identity to be so affected. I was suprised by how much my sense of self turned out to be determined by my body. I thought of myself as a person with a certain energy level, capable of doing x kinds of things, with y appearance, and z tastes in food etc. Having all this go out the window virtually at once has been shocking. I remember many days feeling like, “who am I again?” For many months the only outward physical sign of pregnancy was a rapidly increasing bra size, coupled with a rapidly shrinking pants size due to weight loss. I had the hips I remembered from college but something all new going on up front. I didn’t get over feeling self-concious about it until my belly grew big enough to stick out further than my chest, at around 6 and a half months. For some reason that configuration seems more… acceptable?
I didn’t expect so many people to be so deeply interested in my pregancy. In the past, when friends have gotten pregnant, I have felt excited for them and interested in the changes in their lives, but not necessarily yearning for gory details or anything like that. I kind of thought that everyone was that way and thus have been careful not to burden most people with too much pregnancy info. After all, people procreate every day, and just because I think my baby is special, I didn’t expect anyone other than the grandmothers to think that too. But it has been a nice surprise to have some friends and family kindly insist, through questions, prayers, gifts, information, and other kinds of support that they really do care about the details.
I didn’t expect pregnancy to be so political. I probably should have,though. We all know that’s true for childrearing, but it actually starts much earlier. There are moral opinions on everything from how one gets pregnant (or doesn’t), to how you act while you are pregnant, to childbirth and delivery. While my friends and family don’t burden me with judgment or unasked for advice, I have stepped into a few landmines here and there with people I don’t know as well. I have offended a bit with the occasional parasite joke or irreverent attitude towards my own pregnancy. People who have found pregnancy to be a special, even sacred, experience don’t go for my jokes much. Why would I laugh at CREATING NEW LIFE? For me, though, thinking that building a new human bit by bit is pretty amazing coexists just fine with a few eye-rolls. It’s part of learning to appreciate the experience. As I’m sure, when the baby is born, I will obsessively and completely adore every centimeter of her, and also find time to poke fun at her monkey toes or the weird sounds she makes when she poops. Note to Baby: come out pretty soon so I can hear the gross sounds you make!download Atonementdownload House on the Edge of the Park, The