Sat 29 Aug 2009
With pregnancy comes a very delicate sense of fragility. It pops up when I drive over a large pothole and ‘oof’ I feel it in my whole body. Living in the city, one typically has to carry themselves with an air of toughness–especially if you’re a lady. You need to be able to get to your car at night after a late show and know that by mere stride and height that no one is going to mess with you. But now, I feel transparent and fragile. I don’t walk the same, I’m constantly navigating around the belly, and the Tough Girl feels exhausted. This fragility appears when strangers stare at me, when I catch myself longingly looking at the handicap parking spots, or when my hair dresser says crassly, “Yeah, this must be a new experience for you, carrying weight in your stomach. You’re built like me, after all: you typically carry weight in your butt and your thighs.”
While protecting this fragility, I find myself lapsing into the defensive whenever I’m in public. Asking me for change on the street? Expect me to be a little more hostile; Lately, I want to say, “Seriously? You’re going to bother ME?” I actually gave someone ‘the hand’ the other day while walking down Broadway and surprisingly, it totally worked.
A few weeks ago I was at 7-eleven making a bank deposit into our credit union account when suddenly I realized I HAD to use the restroom. The clerk with the turban on his head looked at me apprehensively when I asked, “Can I use your restroom?” He wouldn’t look at me and muttered, “Uh, no…well, no it’s not clean and well–” I cut him off, “I used your bank machine, I’m pregnant, and you’re not going to let me use your bathroom?” “The floor is very wet,” he started to say, “You might slip on it and–” I turned swiftly and walked away with a “Fine, whatever.” Maybe he had a point; perhaps the store’s bathroom was so embarrassingly disgusting the idea of a pregnant woman squatting over the toilet filled him with dread. But come on, this was a 7-eleven complete with a gas station–folks expect to be able to use their bathrooms. Interestingly enough, the bathroom I ended up using after being rejected by 7-eleven was a nasty, public park toilet by the arboretum that was missing its seat. Did that matter? Hell, no…
I’d love to say that I am able to feel less fragile at home, but unless Josh is around, I tend to feel nervous. The neighborhood has been scattered with bad activity–most of it north of us–but plenty of it disconcerting. Josh has been taking random overnight trips for work. I honor these trips–with the understanding that they will dwindle and die after the baby shows up for a while. Today a solicitor banged on my door twice and both times I hid. Normally, I wouldn’t care but I felt really bothered by the fact that the same person took the time to stop by twice and that he dared interrupt my nap. I was unable to fall back into my restful state so I made meatballs instead–which disappointingly led to lower back pain and foot soreness. (Aww, I can’t make meatballs without feeling the uncomforts of pregnancy?)
Baby Schlag is slowly running out of room and I can feel him trying to flip around with the same ease he used to. Instead he sloooowly rolls over, a foot flails out, and then he is very quiet. Occasionally I can sense his fists punching and sometimes little fingers tickling. Sometimes I try and try to make him move but he is very resistant. Is he sleeping? Is he being stubborn? Is he preoccupied with something inside the womb? “You’re like your dad already,” I say, dismayed. “Impossible to wake up once you’ve passed out.”
Nervously, I pull my friends closer. I try to go out and socialize. I’m blabbing to anyone in my prenatal yoga classes that look my way. I’m collecting emails and birth stories, quizzing women who are further along, have had children, who’ve been there. Pregnancy is the ultimate rationalization for things like my recent addiction to Columbia City Bakery’s Sicilian Prune Bars, sleeping in the middle of the bed, and reading whole works of Fiction in one weekend. I cheated and found myself snarfing down a bunch of soft brie cheese recently. This is a no-no because it is unpasteurized, but who cares…it tasted delicious. I’ve been listening to classical music day in and day out. Originally it was to block out all the bass in my neighborhood, but I find that when I’m home alone I don’t like a quiet house (and it reminds me of my parent’s home). Recently, I stumbled across the hideous VH1 reality tv show, Daisy of Love, and started watching the reruns. It’s the lowest of the low, a reality show of truly horrible proportions filled with fake breasts, teary confessionals, and total idiots. However, it merely fuels my recent sense of overindulgence. My sister-in-law gave me a fancy Dove chocolate bar along with two cute little onsies. The second she left I found myself eating the entire thing in three bites. Guilty pleasures don’t seem so guilty any more…
Thu 27 Aug 2009
While perusing the internet for a body pillow for me, Josh came across this special Hug Me Pillow on overstock.com.
“This is the saddest thing ever,” Josh declared. The reviews are good, (“When I first nestled against the soft, but firm chest of my new “husband” I slept better than I ever had before.” and “I’m told the pillow was modeled after Brad Pitt, and I believe it!”) but you can’t shake the lingering loneliness…bottom line: this product is disturbing.
Fri 21 Aug 2009
Walking down the street in a slightly seedier part of Capitol Hill wearing a short dress and boots. I was attending the latest Helsinki Syndrome shenanigans at a local gallery, excited because I had helped choreograph some bits for them. A car full of youngsters passed by and some young man cat called, “Hey, hey, looking fine, howz it gooooing?” To which I instinctively roared back, “I’m pregnant…that’s how it’s going!”
“Of course you would have yelled back regardless if you were pregnant,” my best friend of 27 years, Courtney, reminded me over the phone this morning. I recalled walking down the street in Longmont, CO with Courtney and getting honked at mercilessly and shouting all sorts of things at the passing cars. Cat calling is so grossly ineffective and it always makes me feel like a piece of meat. Guys are usually shocked if you shout back at them…but they always have the advantage: a moving car. No identity, no need to stop, no hope of really getting much of a reaction. In this instance, I don’t look pregnant from the back so I doubt they would have shouted at me if they had known (young guys typically shirk from pregnant women). But it was shocking to me how quickly some sort of tigress spirit reared up inside: hell no, I’m not being objectified while I’m carrying another living being. Save it for another lady, buddy. This pregnant chick is taken…
Thu 20 Aug 2009
Posted by MS under Pregnancy1 Comment
It’s just semantics, but the term “Mama” should not be used until a first time parent actually has a child in their arms. I don’t feel like a parent to my unborn fetus, we’re both just bumping along doing our own thing right now. I’m not directing him, guiding his every whim, or even holding conversations with him. We’re doing this pregnancy thing symbiotically and with very little effort. The term “Mom” doesn’t make sense to me unless there is an actual human being around who needs mothering.
Therefore, I totally cringe when people say things like “Hey, Mama” (Oh GOD, just shoot me now) or call me “Mommy”, or refer to my prenatal yoga class as “Mom Stuff.” Look, there is no Mom in the room…just a pregnant woman right now. When Baby Schlag shows up, he’s the only one allowed to call me “Mom.” Everyone else needs to call me by my name: “Mara.” It doesn’t seem fair that you’re instantly saddled with the heavy-weight term of matronly honor the second you start showing. I’ll be a parent for the rest of my life, but god-forbid it becomes my sole identity. NO WAY.
And yes, I’m one of those people who hate it when the vet refers to me as my cat’s Mom. I didn’t birth Hobbes! Can you imagine? And she certainly doesn’t look anything like me…
Tue 18 Aug 2009
Posted by MS under ARTNo Comments
Sat 15 Aug 2009
Posted by MS under Pregnancy1 Comment
In the old days I could teach three 60 minute classes, one 60 minute camp choreography session with pre-teens, sit in a doctor’s waiting room forever, and then go to a 2 hour rehearsal. It would have felt like a lot, but now it feels mountainous (and by that I mean gigantic). I can barely walk when I get home and the next morning I get up and pretty much do the same thing (only it’s childcare instead of classes, defending my company member status for an hour to the a.d. instead of going to the doctor, but teaching the camp and the 2 hour rehearsal still stand). I do this for four days straight and then, on my day off I look around my home, start frantically cleaning, and host my awesome cousin for the next 24 hours.
My body now feels like it’s definitely housing something, and this something does not care for extended walking, seatbelts pressed against lower extremities when driving for miles, or casual food intake on the go. I walk up stairs and take notice like I’ve never before. I try to demonstrate a floor move during a choreography session and realize that my body weight balanced on one arm and one leg feels really heavy! I can hardly haul myself up of the floor. I was weighed during the doctor’s visit and my pounds remain modest–so far. But I’ve never operated in the world at this new weight.
Everywhere I go, people are taking notice. And older women, so far, seem to be the least helpful. Whether it’s my mother-in-law bemoaning how horrible each of her four births were (she was just never DESIGNED for childbirth), or it’s the mother-in-law of my employer telling me it looks like I’ll be having a big baby, (WTF?) none of these older mothers are helpful. Well, I take that back: my own mother has been very helpful. My older yoga teacher on Wednesdays has been kind. There are many, many, mothers who I’ve met and spoke with that treat me with the kind of care I need. And this week was so crazy, my mantra became: “I would do anything not to have to get up off this floor so I could take care of myself” but I still found myself standing up anyway, getting in my car, and driving to the next destination. I tell myself that it’s all just for now…after all, summer classes are over, I’m implementing changes, I’m slowing down whether I want to or not.
Folks say that the natural slowing down process of pregnancy gears you up for the limitations of having an infant. This is true. This must be true…it has to be true. So, I’m going to go lie down now…
Thu 6 Aug 2009
Posted by MS under Pregnancy1 Comment
It’s no surprise that crows overrun Seattle. This year has been an especially hearty year for crows. Throughout the day I can overhear many hungry babies squalling and squeaking on nearby roofs. While watering my garden, a mother crow screamed at me from a tree: wasn’t it clear that I was too close to her nest? The crows rouse the neighborhood at the crack of dawn, out-crowing the more cheerful sounds of native birds. Garbage is strewn up and down our street which only encourages crow scavenging. Their selfish caws invoke strange mutterings from my husband that usually involve bee-bee guns, stalking, and crow homicide.
This summer when the crows arrived, I felt slightly superstitious. Isn’t it rumored that crows represent death? Aren’t there some weird sayings about crows and babies? This isn’t a nice thing to think about when pregnant. So, I did a little online research and found all sorts of crow-related folklore. Everything from “Finding a dead crow on the road is good luck,” to “a baby will die if a raven’s eggs are stolen.” There is also a lot of superstition sorrounding the number of crows that hang around. A single crow over a house means bad news, and often foretells a death within: “A crow on the thatch, soon death lifts the latch.” It is unlucky in Wales to have a crow cross your path. However, if two crows cross your path, the luck is reversed. “Two crows I see, good luck to me.” But then, like all folklore, there are loads of contradiction: In New England to see two crows flying together from the left was bad luck.
I’ve decided I’m going to align myself with the Native American view on crows and ravens. Crows are good-luck signs of protection and messengers of wealth. However, much of their folklore involves the raven being a trickster, an originator of the human species, or a cunning helpful hand in navigating life’s mysteries (like death).
It was then fortuitous that I my local public radio station did an entire segment on crows in the community, (I highly recommend giving it a listen). While making ice cream on a hot day, I listened to a local author’s reverence for the cleverness of crows. While, I’m not ready to embrace crows as intelligent companions to my front yard, I certainly prefer thinking of them as wily neighbors then cunning killers. As the babies grow older and fly off, the noise has died down. Random lonely mother crows now sit on top of abandon chimneys, their caws long and brave.