Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Eight months and counting.

Having a baby is no cakewalk.

All my life I wondered with vague curiosity what it would be like to be pregnant, to feel a hiccup or a swift kick to the rib from a baby. I imagined myself on the couch, huge, yelling for ice cream and pickles and complaining in loud angry tones about the pain in my back, the state of my skin, the disappearance of my ankles.

When I felt my baby move for the first time, I was surprised by how unsurprised I was. I felt the tiniest twinge in my abdomen, and I knew. It was like a miniature secret, just between Baby and me. He was there. I knew he existed and he knew, but no one else did. A tiny, magical little secret.
But then my secret started to grow I began to show. I passed people on the street who would give a double-take
glance at my stomach and then give me a knowing smile, like they knew something about me that I had still as yet failed to notice.
In my dreams my pregnant self began to make an appearance. "but I'm pregnant...aren't I?" seemed to culminate every dream, and I would wake up in great confusion with my baby kicking me awake in the ribs and an insatiable sweet tooth. My conversation with the hospital laboratory floated back to me--"The test was positive, you're sure?" the dry voice on the other end of the line responding again and again, "Yes dear, you are definitely pregnant."
You are definitely pregnant.
You are definitely pregnant.


Despite my quick acceptance of the actual pregnancy, accepting my new body has been a much more difficult change. At 8 months of pregnancy I caught myself trying to squeeze into a size 4 dress in which I could not even slip my hips. The realization that I'm bigger is not depressing to me-- I'm pregnant after all-- but I do find myself confused, unable to remember what my figure was like when I could wear button up shirts without popping something with my enormous chest. And what was my tummy like? I honestly can't remember. I catch myself thinking, "it hasn't gotten too much bigger" before I remember I have a 4.5 pound baby in there. And then I see a photo of myself and wonder if my head really is that small or if my stomach really is that big.

And nothing, nothing in the world, scares me as much as labor and delivery. When it comes down to the moment, I wonder if I will lose my strength, give up, break down. When I think about how torn up a woman's body is after giving birth, I wonder how millions have done it, are doing it, can stand the pain of it and return for more.
"This is insane!" I've told myself again and again. "You are weak, weak, weak! You can never do this."
And then I feel a nudge in my rib, a tiny tickling of small hands inside. And I know that it is because of him that I can accept what is happening to me, the change, the discomfort, the insecurity. I am meant to bring him into the world and will do absolutely everything I can to fulfill that purpose.

You are definitely pregnant.
You are definitely pregnant.
You have created life; you have the power to do anything.

A tiny, magical secret.