Pregnancy has turned me into a baby. For stretches of time, all I want to do is eat, sleep, and cry. My needs feel impossible to articulate, so I wave my tiny fists in the air with impotent frustration, until someone holds me and I sniffle a little and am comforted.
Who said “second childishness” comes only with old age? (That’s a rhetorical question: I know who.)
In short, being knocked up is AWESOME. I get these hilarious emails from “What to Expect” that say things like:
“At 18 weeks pregnant, your baby is hitting the height chart at five and a half inches long and weighs about five ounces (the weight of that boneless chicken breast you’re making for dinner).”
Hahahahha yes! Boneless chicken breast! That’s exactly what I’m making for dinner, because I am a non-vegan, fetus-carrying version of Gwyneth Paltrow. No way will I be stumbling home from the gym and heating up some frozen Trader Joe’s entree in the microwave. Similarly, no way did I go to Five Guys for lunch today to satisfy a serious craving for french fries.
My favorite ”What to Expect” tidbit was actually meant for the male half of the couple, and it said, “Soon you’ll see whether she’s carrying Daddy’s Little Princess or Daddy’s Little Slugger.” These were the options! I was like, man, what if I want a Jewish baby? Or at least one that’s not quite so aggressively gendered? Why not just tell me I get to have either a He-Man or a She-Ra?
Speaking of gender, people keep misusing that word. No one wants to say “sex,” possibly because it will remind me of what got me into this pickle. So people insist on asking, “When will you find out the gender?” I’m tempted to answer, “Oh, when squee* is in middle school, maybe, or goes through puberty–whichever comes first.” Since I’m not an asshole, though, and because being outraged all the time is exhausting, I answer the question they mean to ask and tell them, At the Week 20 Anatomy Screening, coming up soon!
It will be pretty exciting, if only because Mr. Ben and I get to narrow down names. No, I’m not sharing the options as they currently exist. Okay, fine, but keep it a secret, okay? We’re thinking Vanilla Lacrosse Galynker for a boy (“Nill” for short) and Raisinette Aloha Bloom for a girl. Or vice versa, whatever.
Back to the point: I have become a baby–selfish, emotional, needy, uncommunicative–but the world, sadly, is not baby-proofed. I still have to ride the rush-hour Q train every day, pressed up against people who are singing along to whatever’s playing too loudly on their iPods. Meetings at work are still mandatory. (Sadly, I can’t suddenly shout, “The baby doesn’t like it!” and walk away from unpleasant situations, as one good friend suggested.)
And art is not a reliable escape. Anne Lamott’s new memoir about becoming a grandmother, Some Assembly Required, could have been an adorable, stress-relieving bedtime book. Instead, its vivid, horrific description of pregnancy, labor, delivery, and early motherhood sent me down a panic spiral last night that left me hyperventilating on the floor by the bathroom. And the intense Iranian drama A Separation is a great film, but its plot hinges on a 2nd-trimester miscarriage. (Surprise!) I gotta improve my screening process.
Just over 17 weeks down; 23-ish to go. There’s still time to get the hang of things.
* Our gender-neutral pronoun of choice