This may be my last blog entry for this pregnancy—at least it feels like it will be, but apparently the work of baby and pelvis and cervix getting ready can go on for a good while, so who knows. At any rate, I feel some pressure to really make it count. But maybe, to take the pressure off myself to write some profound summative reflection, I could treat this (potential) end the way bloggers treat the end of the year by making lists. Multiple lists.
List 1: Things I did not know about pregnancy going into it (do people not talk about these things or was I just not paying attention?)
1.) How much more our gums and noses bleed
2.) That carpal tunnel/tendinitis pain was a pregnancy thing
3.) How much my breasts would grow
4.) How incredibly long it feels and how important it is that it is so long a process – how this long period of changes and adjustments and preparation is exactly what we need to get ready for birthing and parenthood
5.) That my body would find it necessary to protect baby with new blonde hairs all over my belly
6.) How dry my skin would become and therefore how much shea butter I’d go through in order to not itch all the time
7.) How vulnerable I would feel, especially near the end. And I don’t mean vulnerable in a bad way–more in the Brené Brown way.
8.) How sensitive I would feel, both emotionally and physically. I knew that my olfactory senses would be heightened, but I didn’t know I would become so sensitive to sound as I have in the last week or two! My mom says it’s to prepare me to hear my baby’s needs.
9.) What pregnancy brain would be like. It’s not at all what I expected. Most of the time, I feel just as lucid and smart and productive, am still able to give effective presentations and analyze policies and organize my appointments, etc. But sometimes memories simply do not store on the hard drive of my brain. Or I do things like show up a week early (but an hour and a half late) to a party. It totally catches me off guard.
10.) How annoying it would be for people (especially men and strangers) to use terms like “pop” and “squirt” to describe women’s imminent labor and delivery (though I had been warned about intrusive conversations and touches)
11.) How insular and quiet I would feel and how much in need of the company and support of other mamas–and my own mama
12.) The degree to which our country’s and my employer’s failure to adequately support mothers and breast-feeding and healthy parenting through policy would feel overwhelming and enraging and hurtful on a personal level
13.) Just how much I would love pregnancy
14.) How much time this project would take
[I am curious to know what came as a pregnancy surprise to other people. Pray tell.]
List 2: Things that I have missed during pregnancy
1.) Beer. Definitely #1 on the list. Especially spiced pumpkin and Christmasy beers. We have some waiting in the fridge downstairs for when I am ready to have them.
2.) Runny egg yolks. I am going to make myself hella poached and sunny side up eggs post-pregnancy.
3.) Ice skating
4.) Skate skiing (I know some people do this while pregnant and that is totally legit, but I don’t trust my balance well enough to do this in my third trimester)
5.) My colorful pants and skinny jeans
6.) Free use of my right hand
7.) Being able to lift my own heavy stuff
Honestly, there’s not much. Pregnancy has been fun.
List 3: Things that I will miss about pregnancy
1.) Feeling baby move inside of me, kicking at my left side, rolling my belly with his/her knees. Sharing these movements with Oscar and seeing his face light up.
2.) Knowing that baby’s needs are being met at every moment
3.) Full(ish) nights of sleep
4.) Prenatal yoga class at Open Space
5.) The constant changes in my body that feel exciting and wondrous and not at all embarrassing (not that postpartum body changes will be embarrassing, but that typically, after infancy, our bodies never change quite this quickly unless we are rapidly and unhealthily gaining weight or starving or deteriorating from a disease. It’s a rare opportunity to experience rapid change.)
6.) Oscar says he will miss my roundness
7.) Something to talk about with strangers and people I don’t know very well. I like how people come together around pregnancies, especially in the office. (There have been many in our office recently.) These conversations are generally pleasant, with a few exceptions (this could be another list for another day—things not to do in conversation with pregnant women).
8.) This project: the discipline of weekly art-making in multiple media, working creatively with Oscar and seeing him engineer lighting and scene creation, reflectively writing, the conversations with you all that have arisen from blog posts or photos.
By writing about what I miss or will miss, I don’t dwell on these things to complain. Nostalgia can just be something beautiful to observe and then let go of. Just as I was with pregnancy, I am so excited—even if a little scared—for what is to come afterwards. (Mainly, I am scared about the sleeplessness. I don’t do well with sleeplessness. But I will survive.) Very soon, our lives will dramatically change from one in which we know baby only through the movements inside me and the midwives’ measurements and exams and from in-utero photos of other babies and from people’s eager guesses about baby’s sex, etc. to one in which baby makes his/her needs known quite loudly, one in which we will be able to smell baby and hold baby and see in the light the same movements that we have been feeling for months.
We are looking forward tremendously to this shift in our lives.