I wrote this December 31st 2003 while enjoying a thoughful New Years alone in the living room.
28 days and counting
My mother just called and reminded me that a year ago today I had found out that the place where my wedding reception was to be, was double booked.
It has been a long full year.
I've decided to write the women I know.
In the past I’ve never found myself to be a stand out flag waver for our sex.
But now I’m in on the secret.
I see it plain as day.
We run everything.
To the women who have had children -you are my hero's.
I am bewildered by your accomplishment.
To the women that have not yet been through "the joy of childbirth" I would like to educate you on the some of the less glamorous aspects. Hopefully I can do this without becoming too personal or grossing you out.
Also know that I am not fully through this process. I have a month of challenges and changes yet to come, which will crescendo with what is commonly looked upon as ‘breakthrough agony’. I get my picture taken while flush faced, exhausted and wearing hospital whites (only African American women ever look good in this white). I don’t usually like pictures of myself so I don’t have high hopes for this one.
But they give you a human to keep for being such a good sport.
Thus beginning the next series of adventures in my life.
But lets look back.
The first three months the worst.
You find out it has finally happened to you and you have no idea where to start preparing.
Each family member you tell will react differently to learning the news. My father froze at the sink. My mother questioned my plans for day care. My sister hit me and then stared at me. But you will not have time to digest it yourself because you will not be digesting ‘at all’ for the next 90 days. Consider life on the Sante Maria headed for the new world.
How did they do it? On a rocky wooden ship in high seas for that long, with no map and little semblance of where they would end up eventually. (that’s just like pregnancy).
At least they didn’t have trendy magazines with snappy names like “Fit Castaway” mocking them while they threw up overboard. But basically in the first three months you are scared to death, lose all pride by throwing up in public everywhere
I had actually considered making a Zagat’s guide rating the best public places to be ill. I’ve already designed the stickers for display in merchant’s windows (of course).
For the record: Best place to throw up – Convention level bathrooms of large hotels. They offer cleanliness, sound muffling, nice hand towels, privacy and decent hand soaps that are hypoallergenic and not overly scented. Worst places: the metro system. No trash cans, no privacy, and the possibility of decapitation if you throw up on the rails when the train comes.
Second three months, or second trimester, if you feel the need to speak the pregger techno language – well the next three months are okay. It’s a bit of relief. I mean you still have no idea how you are going to afford a child. You aspire to be ‘a cool mom’ and wish that you would grow a bit to prove to family and friends that ‘yes, indeed I am pregnant and was not pulling your leg’. People have baby showers for you and you feel simultaneously like A). a big jerk for making them spend money on you again and B). totally ignorant of how the products you have been given work. (“So you stick this in their nose and suck their buggers out into the ball attachment, eh?” “Yes. If you don’t they will die because they cannot clear their own nose and will suffocate.” “oh.Very well then. I love it, thank you.”)
During this time you are no longer allowed to exercise normally, as you once did. You would like to take advantage of the legality of eating everything in site (but you have not forgotten the first three months where food was not a friend to you) so you proceed with caution while complete strangers approach you and tell you are ‘glowing’, before unloading a veritable dumpster of unsolicited advice on you. The second trimester is all about learning the language, becoming the worlds best diplomat, and regaining an ounce of posture.
The third trimester you lose that ounce of posture on day one.
Where once people looked at you as a tower of (some) strength, all is dissolved and you become ‘a crier’. People don’t give you a seat on the metro (which you are only riding to prove that you still have control over your life and can ‘handle’ public transportation) and you cry at the injustice of it all as if your whole family was just slaughtered by a Rowandan overlord. You didn’t cry this hard at Old Yeller. And you cry because you are crying and it’s embarrassing. And your underwear doesn’t fit again. You are a gold medal winner in the wedgi-lympics. And then you cry because you are tired of crying. And no one can understand how TIRED you are.
So you eat some ice cream.
And you feel better for a few minutes.
And you become a conniseur of ice cream.
You walk through the frozen food section of Harris Teeter like it was a wine store. You reference manufacturers and how almonds are treated by the developers of these products. Mars ‘dips’ their nuts into semi-sweet chocolate where as Haagen Daas gently ‘coats’ their superior hand picked almonds in their own reserve dark chocolate. So this means that Mars thinks you are a schmuck. They are insulting you by having this junk food product at all. Haagen Daas is a close family friend. As is Starbuck’s by offering you a good product knowing that you are not allowed to drink their other products in public without social scorn.
And you have deep talks with the dog, pretending that he understands you.
He is the ONLY ONE that UNDERSTANDS YOU!!!!! And he is willing to be around you no matter what mood has overtaken you because there is ice cream literally falling off of you. And out of guilt over dishing out family sized portions of ice cream for yourself, you find it nice to ‘Share’ with the dog. You are doing this sharing exercise partly out of love for the dog and partly out of fear of the nutrition police knocking in your door one night and outing you infront of all your family members. “No. You cannot arrest me or throw me in jail because I have documented proof that I never finished a whole bowl of ice cream solely by myself. I SHARED every bowl!!!”
(cue the dog burping guiltily).
And a bit further into the third trimester – you still retain the crying – you never lose that – but you take on new musical abilities, and lose the ability to sit up normally.
In the musical arena you find that you have the gift of being able to fart, burp and leak from two parts of yourself…all at the same time. And this makes you giggle. Which only encourages more of the same. You actually do a lot of giggling.
I giggle when I notice that half my meal still remains in evidence on my shirt. Propped up by my enormous belly, for everyone to see.
Other times people think I spilled something on my shirt, but I giggle cause I know better, (actually mam, that came from ‘inside my shirt’…yes, I am remarkable aren’t I?).
I’m in the market for a waterproof bra currently.
I giggle when I picture strangers watching me drive home from work like some Hispanic low rider almost fully reclined while still hanging onto the steering wheel. I have to do it cause I have some other entities limb stuck between my ribs and my kidney is in my throat. But my face never betrays me. It holds it’s own as if nothing in the world was different. Once you arrive home you laugh at the fact that they let pregnant women drive at all –seeing how amazingly unsafe it is. Then you fart, burp leak and go inside for ice cream. But it’s okay, you’ve had twelve oranges today so somehow it will all nutritionally equal out. And the dog is inside. And he loves you.
Tomorrow you will have the day off and go underwear shopping and reconnect with your friends. And who knows what superpowers life has yet in store for you.
Life just gets stranger and stranger.
Well I’ll stop.
Happy New Year and thank you all for every part of your involvement in my life
over the past year.