It's a pregnancy post! I can't believe the 3rd trimester is here already, the dark times in the summer seem like an eternity away now. 12 weeks also seems like an eternity away, but I know it will go quickly. I feel like November melted into nothingness and December always flies by too fast for my grandiose Christmas plans. Despite my angst I have really enjoyed this pregnancy. The last few months especially, I felt so glowing, youthful and alive. I loved the way my body looked and felt. I feel a different vibrancy and confidence than I did when I was pregnant before. I think I was more affected by the doubts and discouragement from people around me than I realized...and I was a n00b, I didn't know what (or how) to expect, and there was more deference to those who were 'experienced', even when I didn't want to agree with them. Now I understand better that just as "cada cabeza es un mundo," (every mind is a different world) "cada embarazo es un mundo" (every pregnancy is a world) and I can be sensitive to the fact that it is terrible for some and still enjoy it for me. I think it's funny that the alternate definition of "pregnant" (as in "there was a pregnant pause") is "weighty, significant, full of meaning." There's no arguing that I am "weighty," but I do feel significant and full of meaning. I feel this incredible rush of energy from my body being so purposeful and knowing I'm creating another human being from my genetic hash, someone who has never existed before. I wrote on facebook about how I feel like I'm carrying a Christmas present and I get to anticipate opening it all the time...it is very exciting.
I'm 29 weeks (measuring a little ahead at my last appointment) and I've gained 12 lbs so far. I think nursing Chai may be responsible for the slower weight gain, but don't worry, I am plenty big & plenty. I am just beginning to feel like a beetle that's rolled over on it's back, writhing to get up. Every day when I get dressed I think of Regina George, "Sweatpants are all that fits me right now..." I wear skirts to work almost every day and basketball shorts at home. Other than some veriscosities (spellcheck says that isn't a word, but what do they know?) and some slight sciatic back pain I have felt amazing. I wouldn't mind if Jonathan wanted to rub my back more often, but as a Dothraki warlord he has a lot on his mind. :)
Speaking of minds...I think my progesterone levels must have dropped hardcore this week because where. is my mind? This flakiness, it's really happening! I missed the exit at work the other day...I've been making absurd mistakes like grating cheese on top of the pasta instead of into the saucepan when making macaroni and cheese...I read things wrong all the time, like the schedule at work. It's frustrating. I hope it goes away soon.
Some other things that have made this pregnancy unique: being pregnant at the same time as my friend Kelli at work! We always have a ton to talk about and I love sitting next to her in clinical team meeting with our growing bellies. A lot of my clients are excited and happy about the baby and there have been so many positive interactions and connections. One of my favorite things is when I'm holding Chai in my lap and the baby kicks him from inside. I don't think Chai has any idea what is going on, although I watch birth videos with him and talk to him about "born babies." He loves to pat my belly when my midwife is checking the heartbeat or when I have my shirt up, but he's mostly interested in my belly button (err...where it used to be) and trying to poke me there. I would have wanted more time alone with my beautiful boy, but I've been trying to be mindful and really focus on appreciating the time that has left. It really gave us a beautiful, golden fall. It's been fun to experience being pregnant almost during the opposite seasons that I was pregnant with Chai. My friend Katie made a comment that I use as an affirmation when I feel jittery about having a baby in the bleak midwinter: "From one desert girl to another, January babies bring the sunshine!" I don't know if she knows, but I repeat that to myself over and over again.
I have a lot I'd like to say about finding out our baby was a girl and the maelstrom of issues and pain that created for me, but I feel myself still swirling and I'd rather explore it when I feel more grounded. It has nothing to do with not wanting my baby, but the idea of raising a daughter is connected to some very deep rooted pain and fear. Some of it is my own, from my past, and some of it is vicarious trauma from living in a very misogynistic culture. Yes, I know that the world is damaging to boys in so many ways as well, and yes I understand that my daughter will be much more privileged than so many, but I'm in a very basic place where all the atrocities that we've come to accept as a normal part of life, that we must be aware of and 'survive around' feel very raw to me when I think about introducing them to a completely innocent being. Trying to explain them, to someone hearing for the first time. I don't agree with the philosophy that if you live a "righteous life" you can count on being protected from harm, and I also don't agree that unless these things happen to you, you shouldn't worry or think about them. I think we are all affected by the wounds our sisters carry, even those far away from us. This story belongs to all of us.
I remember the moment the technician said "It's a girl," I felt like I'd been flash-frozen and I was terrified. But I looked at Jonathan's face and his eyes were shining with tears, he was so happy. I cling to that moment when I feel especially discouraged. "For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow." This is a sweet dream for him and he will be such a good and kind father to both/all our children. I'm so glad they will have him. I love feeling her move and I love when Jonathan rubs my belly and talks to her. He is so good.
I did an art project called "womb with a view" the other day with one of my clients who is also pregnant. We painted silhouettes of a pregnant body and drew what was on the inside and the outside. I drew my little girl as a pure white, eyeless fish, then added arms, then I realized that I think of her as a bird more often than I do a fish, so I added wings to little outstretched white arms. Around her was a green and yellow jungle of shifting lights and nurturing vines that connected us at the heart. On the outside I drew tears, fire, and purple rain, a scene she has no idea even exists. I feel grief for her to see and experience it for herself. I wish she could always stay safe. I'm afraid that my own weaknesses will hurt both of us.
This is what I'm keeping in mind:
Let my little girl teach me about her instead of assuming/dreading/prematurely painting a picture of her life and personality in my mind. I had this idea that I had to resolve most of my anguish before my daughter was born, to be able to greet her with strength. But the truth is, she'll just be a baby. She'll want to be fed and kept warm and close to us. It's not like she will look up at me from the birth pool and demand to know how I've decided to frame the injustices of the world. I'll have time to get to know her and grow with her, and as I get to know her better, I'll have more insight on how to confront the difficult things as they come up.
She will be her own person, separate from me, and it's important to honor that. One of my worries is that I will project my own pain onto her and cause her to suffer because of my past and my insecurities. I know being aware of that potentially being a problem will help me avoid doing that. I also want to recognize that it's okay for me to say "I don't know" and to acknowledge that I'm not strong in every area, that I am human and still figuring it out myself.
Accept that some of my fears will inevitably come to pass. My daughter will be objectified, she will likely be sexually harassed at some point, she will internalize some kind of message about her worth being related to her physical appearance. I want to work to be in a place of peaceful supportive energy and teach her how to be healthy in the midst of unhealthiness, instead of wasting energy being furious about the way things are.
Be here now. This has been my affirmation lately. When I can quiet my mind and hush the yelping about the future and the moaning about the past, I experience such intense beauty and fulfillment with my relationships. I always found the play "Our Town" excruciating because it highlights how intensely lovely all the tiny details of our lives are and how quickly they shift, "the fugitive moment refuses to stay." When I make a conscious effort to stay present, I feel I'm honoring the good in my life, almost like uttering a prayer, and it feels so immensely good, like e.e cummings wrote "this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart."
I'm looking forward to the actual labor and birth and meeting my little girl. I think it will be rough once she arrives and I have two babies, but I’ll survive, and right now I am enjoying my lovely baby bump and the prenatal confidence and connection I have with my daughter. I have hope that the universe will shift to make room again. I have hope for enough peace to live a happy life, and enough unrest to stay active in causes that bring healing and freedom.
So, it turns out I have been taking pictures this whole pregnancy, but most of them are topical. Ah, that's more fun anyway, right?
|8 weeks...at the Farm in Tennessee! (How special to have a pregnancy picture at THE FARM! ) I swear I was already showing by then.|
|At the Blessingway...17 Weeks|
|23 Weeks, from Carolina Lindsay!|
|My baby's first-ever Halloween costume :)|
|27 Weeks with my little "Stallion who will mount the whole world"|