Yesterday I found myself with an hour or so of down time before between walking and playing with the dog and going out for dinner with some new friends I recently made, and instead of vacuuming or cleaning the dining room I decided to totally freak myself out by reviewing the month-by-month calendar provided to me by our local women’s hospital, which neatly details goals to accomplish month-by month so I will be organized, ready and waiting when February 1st rolls around to greet my new born child.
According to this calendar, if I simply follow its outline, I will find breast feeding a breeze, caring for my infant second nature, will return home from the delivery to a kitchen and pantry well-stocked with four months of home-cooked, well-balanced meals and will feel like nothing less than the goddess I so obviously am – bearer of life, with loads of whole grain, veggie lasagna in the freezer.
I am nearing the end of my fourth month of pregnancy. According to what will from now be referred to as the freak out calendar, this is a GREAT month to line up a pediatrician (you don’t want to wait until month seven or eight because your choice of pediatrician might not be able to accommodate your new baby) and install your car seat. After all, the hospital isn’t going to let you take your new born bundle of joy home without a properly installed car seat, so maybe use what free time you have to cross that pesky task off your list? I didn’t even bother flipping back to look at the previous three months – what is not done is not done, after all – but the rest of the months seem equally as ridiculous to me, with lists growing longer and the print growing smaller as they wear on, closer to the due date.
Here is my question: How do women find time to accomplish all of these things in the first four months? Granted, I am feeling better now and actually do planning on calling our family practitioner today to get a pediatrician referral, but for the first three months most of my time was spent trying to (a.) stay awake and (b.) not throw up, not necessarily in that order.
More than one friend has asked me why I am not blogging, regularly and enthusiastically, about my pregnancy. I generally mumble some sort of unsatisfactory non-response, but the truth of the matter is two-fold: firstly, I am very well aware that hundreds of millions of women each year go through what I am going through, many of them in third world countries with little access to water let alone access to the nutritional recommendations from What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and secondly, while I am thrilled to death about the end product here – I really and truly cannot wait to be a mom, and my lack of reservation about this is probably a bit misguided, pregnancy itself for me has been sort of uncomfortable.
I say this with complete knowledge that, as far as pregnancies go, I’ve had it relatively lucky. People keep mentioning my “glow,” and while I brush it off and joke about perspiration, I know I could have broken out in a thousand hormone-induced zits, which I did not – my skin has improved dramatically, and it was always pretty great. Nor have I gained a bunch of weight, and while a bunch of that is the exercise I do, an equal amount has to do with sheer luck on where my weight has distributed itself, which is solely (for now) my stomach and nowhere else. I am lucky. Otherwise, though, I am not sure what it is my friends want to hear. Do they want brutal honesty, like for two days I had such bad gas I thought my lungs were going to explode? That every day for three months when I walked to work or rode the bus I had to figure out places where I could throw up, if necessary? That the exhaustion is such that before I found out I was pregnant I convinced myself I had cancer? That I no longer eat steak, avocado, green tea or broccoli, and I have to avoid the fish section in all grocery stores, but in particular Whole Foods?
The truth of the matter is I actually came up with a visualization – a visual of me, rocking my baby – to concentrate on during blood draws and attacks of nausea, because otherwise I feel less like life-bearing goddess and more like a science experiment. And what I’m going through is so incredibly normal – so very every day – that I feel bad talking about it and pedestrian writing about it.
In between these normal but not-normal-to-me symptoms, I have worked and gone on vacation and tried to keep the house up and gone out to dinner and movies with friends and I’ve continued to go the gym. I have not particularly begun preparing for this baby. The sum total of our baby items currently include one Ernie doll from S.’s mom, one blanket from my mom, and a 6-9 month year old onesie I bought for a friend and then decided to keep because it was so cute. I have done very little besides trying to create a healthy environment for this kiddo of mine, but this calendar has reminded me there is an end product to ready for, and end product that will need diapers and a crib and a properly installed car seat and warm clothes for it’s winter birthday and probably blankets and books, it can’t be born without its very own books, and also I need to contact HR to find out about maternity leave and now I am going to hyperventilate. Which is probably another reason why I have avoided blogging about the pregnancy, so far…