I feel like it’s bad juju to have the top post here be one that’s so negative about pregnancy so I am setting out to write something positive about pregnancy before it’s over. A terrifying fact: it will be over soon! I was in denial about this until recently, but now it’s impossible to ignore. Mostly because I am aware of walking around all the time with what is incontrovertibly a baby inside my body — a tiny baby, still, but not so small that it couldn’t, if absolutely necessary, live outside me. Luckily there is almost no chance that the baby will have to do that, but still, a due date is not like other deadlines. You can’t ask a baby for an extension. Even if you could, you probably wouldn’t want to. A lifetime of procrastinating and doing everything at the last minute has prepared me very badly for this situation. I still haven’t purchased one single baby-related item, though many have been given to me. Tiny kimonos and 3 different gently used cosleepers are great but if my baby is born even a little bit early there is a chance I will still not have gotten around to buying, say, diapers.
Jesus, I sound so crazy. My baby my baby my baby. It’s unavoidable, though. I used to think this post was hilarious but now I’m like fuck you Choire, what kind of asshole wouldn’t be in a tailspin of anxiety all the time re: some facet of having a new baby? It’s a FUCKING BABY.
Anyway: back to trying to counterbalance my previous bad attitude about the alienating, identity-obliterating experience of incubating a human. Well, for starters, I have to feel grateful for how relatively easy it has been for me so far. Early on I thought that that pregnancy was going to completely destroy my body and brain and leave me a shell of a human in an outfit I didn’t recognize, but it turns out I was just bloated from water retention and depressed from abstaining from coffee. In reality, as soon as I shelled out for one good pair of maternity jeans (J brand, via Ebay) and the Storq people sent me a Bundle and I started drinking coffee again, everything pretty much went back to normal. It helped when the generalized bloat resolved itself into a localized lump that could be accommodated and accessorized. I can still wear a lot of my regular clothes because I have always avoided clothes with a defined waistline anyway. As an added bonus, the back pain that was also ruining my mental weather in my first trimester mostly went away when I returned to regular yoga practice, taking the fear that the pain would worsen incrementally with every pound I gained with it. My second trimester was actually pretty dreamy. And I got a lot done, too, though not as much writing as I’d hoped. Instead, I launched a new podcast and, with Ruth, raised $40K via Kickstarter to rebuild and otherwise reboot Emily Books. I still feel like a failure for not finishing even a partial draft of a new novel during this time. Sometime around maybe 22 weeks I voiced this goal to my new therapist (who specializes in you’re-a-mom-now) and she said, so tactfully, so delicately, “I don’t really understand how things work in your industry — that seems like it could be a realistic goal, but is it?” And I was like “I’ve done it before!” I guess it was one of those things that I needed to tell myself. I could still make it to my word count goal if I write twice as much as I’ve written up until this point between now and when the baby comes. This seems incompatible with fulfilling the Kickstarter rewards and doing the podcast and buying those diapers (diapers are understood here to be a symbol for like 1000 random things) but you never know.
Most importantly, though, I have a better attitude about, you know, the actual baby. Of course I still feel terrified of the first stretch, which people like to terrify you about. Being in charge of 100% of someone else’s needs around the clock might be someone’s idea of a good time but it is not mine. But the people who are telling me the horror stories of their baby’s first three months on earth tend to be alive and fairly intact, so there’s that. And I do also feel, in a way that was just too abstract to feel before, excited to meet my baby. Like, the idea that he is a person who will exist, who I will soon meet and spend time with, is still insane, but it’s also thrilling. He won’t be other people’s babies, and in some ways will be inferior and defective, just like how I myself am in some ways inferior and defective. But he’ll be mine, so I’ll love him. I know: duh! But it’s all the revelation I have time for today. The library is about to close, and I have to go get something to eat.