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…