Three months and eight days.

Next to me are three squares of salted dark chocolate on a small china plate with pink roses that belonged to my great-grandmother, a glass vase of marigolds, Eclipse, the third book in the Twilight series, and my nursing pillow with a slip cover on it decorated with whales. Just a second ago, the record stopped playing Nina Simone’s “I Shall Be Released.” I’m crying. The boy is with B., my mother and my step-father. B. has swooped in to rescue me and has promised me an hour which by now only has 35 minutes left in it. I poured a bath downstairs but I have a feeling if I get into it it will be with the boy as part of his bedtime routine. I want to be eating chocolate and reading Eclipse while in the bath while listening to Nina but here I am.

When my mother called to tell me the boy was crying and I should come meet them and my previously planned hour alone disappeared it was like a gate shutting. But then when I found them and scooped up the boy it was a relief to be close to him again.

It’s been a rough few nights. He’s waking up every two hours for the first time in a while but also I’m having trouble sleeping. I’m not sleeping during his intervals and when I finally am slipping off he wakes to eat. Add to this the cat who’s enjoying some kind of summer revelry and the nights have been constantly interrupted. This leaves me with little patience for B.’s dark flashes of mood, my mother’s earnest emotional conversations, and none for myself. I feel like I’ve just spent this whole day figuring out how to get the boy his rest and now it’s evening and it’s as if I haven’t actually spent time with him, only spent time at him, trying to rock sway bounce him into naps. When I was walking up the stairs for my hour in the house he was in B.’s lap smiling and shouting in his new strange language and I was instantly jealous. Where were our smiles today? Also guilty–have I just been hounding the poor kid all day to eat and sleep and not leaving him any time to just be a baby and coo at the universe?

I carried him and he was a part of me and now he is his own person.

Last week I went to yoga for the first time, a class for both pregnant ladies and post-pregnant ladies. It was my first time back since giving birth and I was completely unprepared for how it would feel to be back in that room. The teacher told the room to put our hands on our bellies and feel our babies there but he was gone, somewhere out on the street with his father, with me watching the door to see if they would appear, needing me, or my milk.

24 minutes until they get home.

I could just move around the world then, with my baby, not alone, but still a complete unit. Now when I am alone, I am not alone, part of me is always with him. Is this endless then? Infinite? To never be whole onto myself again? Dear lord, I think of the trips I went on while dismissing my mother’s worries and I can’t imagine him being gone for those weeks and months. How I might live a daily life while he flings himself around the globe? Or forget the globe, the city. The neighborhood.

The joy and the love are beyond words. And so is the vulnerability.

This is it in terms of entries. There is only one more to come which will be my birth story. Maybe a mistake to write this on such a teary, over-stretched day. I am jagged for sure. Just too tired. As simple as that, but sleeplessness is like cocaine for my emotions. It amps them up, gets them chattering, and then crashes them hard.

I know it’s too soon to come to conclusions and in a month, let alone a year, I’m sure I will know a million things about being a mother that I don’t know yet, but for now, today, this week, it is this…that what I feared was exactly true: I am not alone anymore and it’s not possible to be fully alone ever again.

And it is both the great toll and the great joy of this new life.

Fifteen minutes. And yes, I want more time, and yes, I’m already missing them, B. and the boy. My guys. I’ll kiss B. and kiss the boy on his head and we’ll bathe him and play his music box and get him into pajamas and then I’ll nurse him and then B. will swaddle him and rock into sleep and we will spend a tired hour or so on the couch with my phone on speaker beside me transmitting the quiet buzz of his sleep. Then B. and I will climb into bed and eventually the boy will wake and when I pick him up he’ll press his legs into his bum like a frog’s, one thumb in his mouth, and his eyes won’t even open really as I settle him into me, tummy to tummy, and he will nurse with his eyes closed and one intent fist by his cheek and another hand holding my shirt, and then I will re-swaddle him and rock him back into his bassinet and this will repeat a few times until morning when I will know he is actually awake because when I look sleepily into his bassinet he will look up at me with bright eyes and a big smile. When I was pregnant i used to greet him every morning, but not out loud. I simply thought thoughts at him and that was how we communicated. But he is here now, outside of me, and every morning, every single morning of his life so far, he is happy to see me and happy it’s morning and happy to be in his body. Sure, as he should be, of being loved.

One minute more.

Week 21

I’m really pregnant now. Taking this little globe of mine out in public, and people can see it. Today I’m liking it a lot. I also really like the language of, “Are you expecting?” I am. Very much. Expecting and expectant. This morning, a polite request to touch my belly, from a stranger, but I said yes. He asked so nicely. This is a new and strange phenomenon. I would never ask a stranger if I could touch her belly, but I was raised in part by a very polite grandmother.  I am a power source. No. I contain a power source, and people are drawn to it, hands extended, they can’t help it. For those who don’t fear it, avoid it, uncomfortable, there is a desire to be close.

The babe has been moving. A few times over the last few days, it feels like it points its head down, extends its arms like it’s doing a breast stroke, and then dives down towards the bottom of my uterus, bouncing there a few times. It’s pretty cute, despite the fact that it’s treating my bladder like a trampoline.

Last night, while I was sitting in the glow of the christmas lights, my belly shiny and coated with shea butter, the babe began pushing and rolling more than ever, and I called B. over. And yes, lo and behold, he felt it for the first time. That look in his eyes–“Shhh,” he said when I laughed–what I can say? Wow.

Week 20

I’m scared of never being alone again. Even from the beginning that was the one fear that could pierce my optimistic forcefield. Would you like to hear my ideal day?

Wake up at 8.

Morning rituals; meditation, stretching, pages, breakfast.

9ish-12ish-Writing.

Lunch. Exercise.

Afternoon out in the city somewhere: meandering, looking at stuff, museums.

Reuniting with B. and/or friends, family, in the late afternoon. Doing stuff.

Yes, some mornings I love more than anything lying around in bed with B. and then the slow rise and maybe we cook and maybe we go out to breakfast. Yes, I absolutely love those mornings. But for the rhythms of most days? See above. Notice that I have very little interaction with another human being until the late afternoon. A dear friend pointed out to me that I might be so fixated on alone time right now, because my job is such the opposite that I might be a little starved for it right now. Which is fair. But I also know that there’s a truth to this for me. I really like being alone. Which makes me feel a little bit like a terrible and crazy person.

Also, I’m completely lying about one part. When I wrote “9ish to 12ish” that’s me trying to be a little less crazy than I am. I’m really bad at that -ish. The schedules I am capable of putting myself on tend to not be flexible. I used to write them out. In those years before the full time job, especially in those years when I was deep in my fixation on body size and food, I wrote out the days to the minute. At some point I became aware that I was leaving no transition time. As in, writing done at 12; running begins at 12. I’d cut out the time it takes to pee, change my clothes, breath, exchange a sentence with another human being.

I’m having trouble sleeping again. I think the insomnia began when I was fourteen, and has never fully left me. I lie down to sleep and my brain whirrs on. I’ve tried every natural remedy there is to help me sleep; I’ve taken every herb, drunk every tea. I refuse to take anything stronger because I tend to form habits, I lean heavily in the direction of addiction, and anything you take to sleep tends to be especially habit forming. I had a break this fall from the sleeplessness. In the midst of all that first trimester physical misery, I slept deeply almost every single night. When I sleep deeply now, as in times when I’m not depleted or sick, I wake up with so much energy the next day I feel like a super hero. I almost can’t imagine what it would be like to feel that way on a daily basis.

I am not in a good mood today.

My co-worker gave me baby clothes as a secret santa present. I cried at first, then brought them home, and hung them over the banister–a row of four adorable onesies of the softest cotton you can imagine. One has yellow ducks on it. Another is striped in grey and white. There are snaps where I’ll need to unsnap them to change a diaper. I passed them, eyeing them for a few days, and now they are folded into a little bundle and tucked out of sight into my closet. They mean a real human being is going to be the end result of all this. This nine months of discovery and self-awareness and new sensations and a new body and thinking and talking about my feelings and how I’m doing and how my health is-all of that is going to end up in a human being who I am going to have to care for. All the time.

Many people have spoken to me about the selflessness of pregnancy; as in, “Oh, it must be easier to go through all of it because you’re creating a person.” It is spoken of as a turning over of myself, my physical self, to this greater cause. But I have to say, it often feels gloriously self-indulgent. I get a lot of attention. It’s like being a bride in white; everyone notices you and pays attention, there is a spotlight following you as you move through the city, your home, your job. You are special. And when this is all said and done, it won’t be me who is special anymore, it will be the babe.

Which does sound nice actually.

I’m okay with the babe being special.

It might be good for me to have this focus outside of my own self.

But this morning while I’m being grumpy and pissy at B., I imagine there being a baby here too, and I’m scared of being grumpy and pissy at them for the simple fact of them existing and demanding my attention.  I don’t think I’m going to stop loving being alone and quiet, and at this moment, those hours of solitude feel like an island I’m sailing further from by the day.