Week 23

In the last twelve hours, I have become significantly more pregnant. It began while we were watching TV last night–we have a whole new world of options because a friend gave us her Hulu log in–and it’s funny because I’ve barely watched any of the shows that I hear talked about and now they’re all at my fingertips. I haven’t meant not to watch. Often it’s been a matter of limited resources. Of money for one, not wanting to pay, but mostly of time. These last two years, I’ve been so tired when I get home from work I’ve had about three hours of wakefulness and of the potential evening activities–eating dinner, talking to B., having sex with B., watching TV, showering–something had to go.

But also true is that nothing holds my attention. Again, I don’t want this to be true, but these shows, especially all these critically acclaimed giants, seem like the same plot with different costumes. And that plot always manages to center on a flawed, but charismatic, white man engaging with his inner uber-traditional masculine (and capitalist) self against a back drop of sacrificing, or naked, or murdered female bodies. The only series I’ve watched to completion in the last five years was Battlestar Galactica. Do you know that David Byrne and St. Vincent song? The first verse goes like this:

I used to think that I should watch TV
I used to think that it was good for me
Wanted to know what folks were thinking
To understand the land I live in
And I would lose myself, and it would set me free

That’s me, only present tense. I still think I should be watching TV. I do think it will set me free. I do want to know what folks are thinking. So I keep trying.

Anyway, last night, by the end of the first episode of the first season of Scandal (is anyone else annoyed that the kryptonite for this badass woman’s spidey sense is a man who is sleeping with at least two other women?) my belly had become half a planet. All day I’d been like a kangaroo, hopping around with my babe tucked neatly inside of me, and then suddenly, they’re kissing on the edge of the oval office and I’m an overturned turtle.

This morning it was worse. My leggings were too tight, and my long underwear had a tag designed to annoy the shit out of me, and my tunic shirt made me look the hippie mom character in a sitcom whose quirky politics are represented by her brightly, patterned leggings. Which mine are.

I handled all this by changing into a different pair of leggings; the ones I would wear every day if I thought no one would notice. As it is, I do wear them for days in a row if I know the only who’s going to see me on each of those days is B.. And even to him, I said, “You know I’m wearing tights under these so they don’t get totally dirty.” Not that that’s even all the way true. He, of course, just shrugged. “Whatever baby.”

The problem being that I look so very pregnant in everything I put on.

Last night it stopped making sense that I was pregnant. In my brain, I was just me, the same familiar me, same types of thoughts, same personality, but I couldn’t connect to the body below. My back was tingling and the skin of my belly taut, and when I tried to sit up from my sunken couch, I needed to push first and then roll, and it was awkward and weird and foreign. My body very much not my own

Movies I will not be watching: Rosemary’s Baby, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Alien.

I would like to say that my body and brain have been reunited with my outfit change into my favorite leggings, but so far, I’m still itchy and fidgety and discontent. And irritable. Also, restless. Probably one of those days where it’s a good thing that I work with a gaggle of energetic teens because in a very short while I won’t have the time or mental space to pay attention to myself.

I would like there to a right shirt to fix it, a right breakfast, maybe if I go get a muffin, maybe if I wear hoops. I don’t know.

And as a final complaint, the fruit and vegetable sizing system has completely broken down. This week the babe is said to be a mango, but last week it was supposed to be a spaghetti squash, and spaghetti squash are bigger than mangoes. And also, two weeks ago, it was a banana. Because of the length. Not the girth. No comment.

For now, it’s time for me to get this body of mine in motion; to bundle it up, take it work, and see if over the course of the day we can make up.

Week 21

For the first time since I was secretly trying to starve and exercise myself into another body, the general public are commenting on my body. The consensus is that I’m “carrying well.” As in, I’m not getting a lot of weight. This is also a sign that I’m having a boy since the girls curse you with weight gain. Although, the girls are also said to curse you with nausea, so my tortuous first trimester means a girl, while the “blessing” of carrying small means a boy.

From two New Yorker articles I’ve read in the last month:

“[Angela] Merkel has lost weight–bedridden last winter after fracturing her pelvis in a cross-country-skiing accident, she gave up sausage sandwiches for chopped carrots and took off twenty pounds.”

“In photographs, Cheryl Strayed looks like a big bodied woman.”

Merkel is the German Chancellor, and the same piece refers to her as “the most powerful woman in the world.” Strayed is an award winning, best-selling author. Amid the countless articles and profiles I read of notable males, there are very few that mention body size and if they do, the subject is usually Bill Clinton, commenting on his post heart surgery veganism, or Chris Christie, whose weight is almost an asset, some kind of shine to it–as if it is a symbol of his individualism, his defiance. Can you imagine a woman of his size being taken seriously as a potential presidential candidate? Can you imagine her being taken seriously at the post office?

Last night I watched The Wolf of Wall Street. The first wife was a super hot brunette with curly hair. Obviously, she was left for the super hot blonde with straight hair.

But this is all painfully obvious and so familiar to me, as I imagine it is to every woman who might read this, that it is totally boring. Boring to think about, boring to write about, barely worth talking about. Feminism, the notion of it, was not something I had given any real energy to in years, but this fall my school began doing work around sexism and gender identity. And also, I was pregnant. Turns out being pregnant and talking about sexism is a surefire way to ignite long dormant anger. The students were really the ones who did me in. Because they are young and female and they are very angry. New to the experience of objectification, they can remember more clearly than I being 8 and 9 and 10 and 11. They are closer to that time before breasts (for some of us) and puberty, years when we were mostly free from the constant gaze, the constant fusing of our identities to our physical appearance. They are just recently coming out of the shift into sexual beings and the new way they are treated pisses them off. They call out the perpetual disrespects leveled at women that I had stopped paying serious attention to years ago. And of course, at the same time, no matter how brilliant and bold and defiant they are, they are tortured by the expectations…comparing their thighs and breasts and hips and arms to the computer polished images of the female form that bombard us.

From a fashion blog, “It’s not that I idealize skinny-ness, it’s just that I am entranced by the aesthetic of the skeleton. I am drawn to the beauty of bones.”

I read that five years ago. Haven’t forgotten it yet. Nor that little whisper of agreement, like Gollum convincing Smeagol, “Yes, yes, that is pretty, the clothes flow, how nice and long and lean.”

Last night during The Wolf of Wall Street naked women swarmed the screen like schools of fish. And they were fucked in more ways than I usually see in one movie; their bodies on desks and beds and floors and airplanes and cars. Their bodies their bodies their bodies. White. Pale. Public hair ripped off, leaving bare little-girl vaginas, hip bones jutting, asses often flat actually, little muscle tone, just thin. A pregnant character nagging her husband, no longer the desired sex object, replaced by others, by hookers, her body unaltered except for the prosthetic bump beneath her tight dress, her body after the baby showing no signs of pregnancy, or nursing, simply back to her stunning self, but still replaced by other women as the desired one. The woman in the house, with the baby, spending the husband’s money, no longer putting out.

And yes, you could ask, what else would I expect from this particular movie? The point of the plot is the depravity and debauchery and so on. But this is not so much a critique of this one movie because what I just described is true of countless movies. You all know it. It is the perpetual narrative of the transformation of the beauty, the one sought, the one desired, into the one taken for granted, the nagging wife; the timeless triad of virgin, wife, whore.

Really, I’m writing about the movie because last night I forgot to be angry. I forgot to critique. I was too tired. Just wanted to absorb and not think. So mostly what I thought, without realizing it, the words simply seeping into my consciousness, was this:  My body will never look like that. Of course, my body was never going to look like that, but I could always hold the delusion in reserve. No longer. Some of these changes are going to be permanent. These veins and bones and skin are never going to be quite what they were.

I battle future stretch marks with tubs of shea butter. I fear post-nursing breasts as flat and useless as popped water balloons. I anticipate those months after the baby is born when my abdomen sags and flaps. I anticipate hating it. I see myself grabbing that extra skin in my hands. I see myself feeling ugly.

B. says my body is luxurious.

One of the things that kept me from acknowledging that I had an eating disorder was that I assumed I was simply too much of a feminist. Also, that what I was doing seemed normal. Everyone cleanses, reduces, refuses, runs. I didn’t look sick. I just looked smaller. I just looked like a New Yorker.

My grandmother spent years eating only one banana for lunch. In her last months, ill and in pain, she mourned the loss of her waist.

How mundane to be a woman writing about body image. How commonplace and ubiquitous. How repetitive. In the movie the early scene of a man snorting coke out of a woman’s white, naked ass gave me a little shock and thrill–Caught my attention. By the end of the three hours, the vaginas were only background. Scenery. And boring scenery. I want to be wary of the dulling of my senses. I think we should all be. The flash of a woman’s naked form should always excite. And the equating of her worth to that form should always enrage.

I don’t say thank you when the women appraise me body, nod approvingly at my size, give what they believe to be compliments. Because I can’t afford to agree with them. I have to believe there’s no such thing as there being too much of me, just as I’m piecing together that it’s not possible to be too much of a feminist.

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.

Week 19

I’m growing. I’m ravenous before every meal. Which actually feels kind of amazing. I feel very…vital. Every meal I sit down to is like the meal that comes after being in the ocean. This is post-surfing hunger. I get an email every Tuesday that tells me about the week of pregnancy I’m about to begin. It tells me the size of my baby according to fruits and vegetables (a kumquat, a turnip, way back when it was a sesame seed), it tells me what the baby can do now, what it looks like, and it gives me hints as to what might be happening in my body during this given week. At the bottom, it gives me a task. I try really really hard to not read the task. From the ones I’ve accidentally read, by now I should have found a pediatrician and I believe this week I’m supposed to be mapping out childcare. Yeah.

Two and a half years ago I took a full-time job, and what I said then was that I wanted to have a job because I wanted to know I could still earn money if I broke my leg. But I was lying. What I meant was that I wanted maternity leave. I didn’t want a baby yet. But I wanted to know if I wanted a baby, and nothing about my previous lifestyle or manner of earning seemed suitable to it. My mother, though, always disagreed with me when I said I didn’t have enough money for a child. “That’s bullshit,” she’d say, “when you want one, you’ll want one no matter what.”

I’m discovering she was both right and wrong. When I applied for this job, B. and I had decided that if I didn’t get it, we would move back to Mexico for six months where we could live cheap enough for me to finish my book. I was convinced that if I was going to be a starving artist, I should at least be more of an artist. I always felt hectic then, always rushed, a day never gave up enough hours to me, every day was one I was failing a little bit. And while that likely had as much to do with my brain as my work, I didn’t know that then. All I knew was that something needed to change drastically, and so when they offered me this job I took it.

For the first time I was working the same schedule as everyone else. Monday-Friday. 8-4. I began to live “a stable life.”

Some of it has been glorious. My money comes at consistent intervals. I get paid vacations. I get paid when I stay home sick. My coworkers are wonderful. The job I am doing is worthwhile. It doesn’t take me ten minutes to explain “what I do.” And I get paid maternity leave. By the end of the first year I was ready to get pregnant. But B. wasn’t. So we waited. Life things happened. We traveled to Turkey. Had adventures.

But I also spent most mornings of that second year, last year, convincing myself that it was absolutely normal to feel a weight settling on me every morning while I threw on clothes after my sunrise writing hours. I began to believe that there was no other way for me to earn money; that this was a good job, a good job, a good job, and any dissatisfaction was for me to dissolve, to process away in long talks until I got sick of hearing my own voice saying the same sentences over and over again. Last winter was a darker time than I realized it was then. I was scared more than I admitted. Sadder. Tired. And all of it made somehow worse by the fact that I adore my coworkers, and believe in the purpose and ethics of what we do. I love working with these youth. I believe in our work. But.

But this last summer, every day of August was like me pulling on a rope with a tremendous weight on the other end; hand over hand, an inevitable task that I had no power to set down. Every morning I meditated and set a daily intention:  Be present. Don’t count down.

I found out I was pregnant six days before the start of the new school year. It was not unplanned (I think I’ve mentioned this) but it was still shockingly instantaneous.

And suddenly, my mother is right. Now I don’t care about money. I don’t care about stability. I don’t care about planning. Even from within the swirling hours of near constant nausea of the first trimester, I saw only goodness when I looked forward. The optimism is startling. I’ve never lived in so much calm for so many days and weeks in a row. All the things I thought B. and I had to have in our lives in order to be parents are being thrown into question. I don’t know what my employment will look like next year; same for B. . I don’t know where the money or time will come. Even where we live…we’re questioning everything. And I’m not worried. It’s insane really. But I like it. A lot.

According to the Week 19 email, the babe is the size of an heirloom tomato, and can most likely hear. It’s arms and legs are in their right proportions. I think it has thicker skin too, or a special coating on it’s skin, I forget. The email also notes that the next few weeks are going to be a time of rapid growth for both me and the babe. I was informed that though I may think the changes have been dramatic so far (and I do; I have a bump!), I haven’t seen anything yet. And I can feel how that’s true. It’s a little terrifying. I sense how dramatically my body is being worked on. My deep hunger. My muscles aching and my bones shifting. Everything has been set in motion, and the pace is picking up.

Week 18

I’ve gone (relatively) silent these last two weeks because I haven’t know what to write or how to be in the wake of the failure to indict the cops who murdered Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The immensity of the pattern, the history, overwhelmed me last Wednesday when the news came out. That same Wednesday, in the afternoon, before the news that the cop who choked Eric Garner would go free, a panel of boys of color ranging in age from 7 to 18 spoke to the rest of our school about their experiences with police. We are a tiny school and yet those boys were terrified to share their stories. And what they feared most was that their friends, people they had known for years, but people with white skin, would doubt them, challenge them, push back when they told their experiences. These boys were brave. The bone of my chest cracked and ached watching them speak.

“How old were you when your family started talking to you about how to deal with cops?”

“7.”

“7”

“9.”

“4. I was a big kid.”

One girl of color spoke from the audience. “At first I was upset when I heard about Michael Brown, but I also wasn’t surprised. But then when I saw that Ferguson stayed in the news; that people were still there and that they were still talking about it on TV, that really gave me hope.” And then she started to cry.

When I think of history I think of the big moments. The signature days. The March on Washington. Immense successes. The days we can point to in hindsight and say, “See, that was the change, that was hot it happened.” But that’s a dangerous way to teach and learn history, because it makes change and action seem the equivalent of topping Everest: feats of superhuman achievement, rare, almost impossible. What is essential for me to remember is that many point to the Montgomery Bus Boycott as essential to the momentum of the Civil Rights Movement. And that boycott began and was maintained by regular people gathering in countless churches holding countless conversations. It all begins with small, very doable actions. And before the boycott? Well, before the boycott was the murder of a 14 year old boy, Emmett Till, and his mother’s decision to take her mourning public, to share images of his mangled body with the country, to open the casket.

I am immensely grateful to the activists who have kept this story in the news, to the people putting their bodies in rows facing cops with military gear, to the people who have spent hours organizing and shouting and sitting and walking and marching. I don’t know where all this is going to go, there has been this momentum before, but for now, at least, the silence around this story is being cracked. It is a partnership of bodies and voices; we need the bodies in Ferguson, on bridges, shutting down highways, holding signs in order to open the casket once again, to show the marks of this violence, and to tell the stories.

One white student at my school said simply to me, “I can’t believe how young they were when they had to first think about cops.”

In that moment, I feel hope. And what’s one of the things I’m hopeful for, here now, at Christmas, expecting my first child, full of optimism and loving cheer? That these marches shut whole damn cities down.

Week 18

I wanted to write last week about the glow, because I was finally in it. Nausea gone. Fatigue gone. Hair luscious. My rounded body lovely to me, and B. and I thoroughly enjoying the second trimester sex of which I’d heard so much about. So I am beginning here because I want a record that that’s happening too. Pleasure and days on end where I feel like I’m playing my way through the hours and tasks. Days and hours when I feel radiant.

Because as you may be guessing I don’t feel radiant today. There’s this thing that started about a week ago, it’s at the base of my spine, it began as simply a sensation. An awareness at the very bottom tip of bone that lives right in the center of my ass. And it’s not pain exactly until it is. In the middle of the night last night I began to envision it as an egg-not like the eggs my body makes, like a chicken egg, a 3-D oval-nestled at what I’ve learned in yoga is my root chakra. This little egg is the palest blue and charged with static electricity, radiating sensations that are not pain, but are not comfortable, over into my hips and down into my legs until magically no position is comfortable. And as I lay there cursing the cat for daring to try to tuck into me yet again, I visualized just popping this egg out of it’s place holder in my back and leaving behind this blessed, empty space where it once nestled.

This is how the night passed, and as I was laying there this morning, having not realized that for a quite a while it had been my alarm going off and not B’s, B. goes, “Can I ask you a favor?” And I should I have just said no right then and there, but I didn’t. I said, “What is it?”. And literally all he asked me to do was turn the thermostat up, which means climbing down one flight of stairs and then up again, but I was instantly furious. My first two emotions of today were resignation and fury. It was already an innocent thing to ask, but making it even more so is that B. rarely asks me to do those kinds of favors if he can possibly do them himself. All he wanted was thirty more cozy minutes in bed, but sensing my mood turn, he went down while I was in the bathroom, which then made me even more angry for him doubting that I was going to do the favor which I was planning on doing with such righteous indignation. I snapped at him. And then I apologized. And then I scurried off to meditate before I did any more damage.

I don’t want to be the grumpy pregnant lady, just like I didn’t want to be the nauseous pregnant lady, just like I don’t want to be the tired pregnant lady. I want to be the radiant one who just loves being pregnant. Which is why this record has to show that those days have happened. Today is simply not one of them.

Week 16

I just finished sitting by my kitchen window eating a grilled cheese. A.) I ate a whole grilled cheese and 20 minutes later I still feel fine. B.) I normally have a hard time sitting still in a quiet house. Not all the time, but in the afternoon. From midday until dark, it’s often a challenge for me to be home. Especially when it’s sunny. During the summer this can get tricky because I’ll want to stay out until the set sets, which leaves me taking meandering walks until 8:30 no matter how busy the day’s been, with B. trying to convince me how nice it would be to just relax. Sometimes I’m not so good at relaxing.

But today I’m not antsy at all. As I was sitting in the quiet and the sun, looking at the backyards, I thought, “Enjoy this now because in not long you’re not going to be able to sit quietly by yourself by a sunny window.” And I’m glad to feel all calm, but I’m really trying not to get into this game. For me this thinking can lead me to much more hazardous behavior than eating a peaceful grilled cheese. It’s definitely why I smoked cigarettes in Turkey this past summer. And before that, it’s the thing that had me wanting to have one more drink, try more drugs, do more, always more, before it was too late. I officially stopped doing drugs and drinking ten months before I got pregnant, though it had been winding down for a while. But until I woke up one day and realized that, for me, these substances were no longer a good idea, I had been planning my big comeback. I kept thinking to myself, “One of these days I really have to get my game back on.” I bought tickets to a music festival the year before in pursuit of this game. I was sure I would do some proper drugs there. But the universe aligned to keep me from going, and I didn’t have the money to buy the plane tickets. I lost $300 (and the cool quotient) but I have this feeling that things would have gone very badly for me if I’d made my way down there: An outdoor and more significant version of the night I tried to drink like my old self and found myself, a 31 year old, puking a full dinner into my friend’s toilet and then crawling to her couch, unable to stand until morning.

I’m scared that I’m never going to stay out late again. I’m scared that I’ll never be as cool as I’ve always wanted to be. My twenties ended badly in a haze of secret eating disorders and fearing the loss of my grandmother and then mourning the loss of my grandmother, and I’ve spent the beginning of my thirties working a very responsible job that has me rising before the sun, and falling asleep on the couch at ungodly hours. 10, 9:30, 9. Even, yes, more than once, 8:30. And now I’m pregnant. I had a whole life of shows and bars and friends always out and it’s as if I thought I was taking a short detour, thinking I’d be back in just a sec, and the detour turned out to be my life. It’s like Frodo says Bilbo says, in Fellowship, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.”

I’ve always imagined that there was a wilder, more fabulous, unafraid, confident me waiting just around the future’s corner. In high school, I knew it would happen in college. In college, every next semester was the one. After I graduated, it was the next trip, the next country, the next job. As my twenties went on, it was every new New York bar, restaurant, thinking that if I was just going to more clubs, doing more, better drugs. And then I slammed into what I’ve dubbed, “the hard years,” and now here I am. Sometimes I feel like I’m standing, blinking, trying to see clearly the place I’ve arrived in.

But. I am happy. I am really fucking happy. Yesterday B. and I went to the Met with friends, and then to delicious (though silly expensive) hot chocolate and then we showed up for his mom, who’s had her hip replaced, and then we ate dinner at the Veselka, the restaurant I’ve been eating at since I was six years old, and then we went home and (I’m sorry, but it must be said) had mind-blowing sex, and then I woke up, and meditated, and drank decaf tea, and made pie dough, and the fact that I can sit by the sun in this silent house, content, calm, not thinking about the next thing to do, is really kind of a miracle.

Assessing it then: I can’t say I’m fabulous, but I am unafraid; I am confident; I am enjoying this solitude; and I am over the moon to meet this babe.

So.

All right then.

Not so bad.

Week 15

I had my first glowing day this week. I also finally told the the students at school, and the full release from that secret has been huge for me. My whole body has relaxed and I can wear whatever I want, and being rid of that tension is incredible. It helps that the outpouring of excitement from the kids is the sweetest, funniest, best thing ever. They can’t get enough; want to talk about it all day long, and ask any old thing that comes into their mind.

“What will you name it if it’s a hermaphrodite?”

“Imagine if the baby came out with your exact tattoos.”

Students I don’t well, all genders and ages, have found a moment to congratulate me. Plus, it turns out that half of the high school knew already anyway. My little bump seems to have been spotted way earlier than I realized.

I am loving my new shape.

The other night as I was changing out of my robe, B. passing by saw and stopped. It was evening. The lamps were doing their golden glow. Before I could re-clothe B. came over and ran his hands over my new belly, and my fragile breasts, this new expansion of me, and us, and he was grinning. There was delight, and such happiness in his face. And I remember those other days when he, fearful and helpless, watched me carving myself down; when he tried to stop me from running in the cold, or injured, and I brushed him aside, and went and was gone for hours. And I remember how I ran my hands over the sharp planes of my hips and how he did not do the same, would not admire them with me. That person is a part of me too; she’s still in there, but the joy of my body now…even my skin feels stronger and softer. I’m grateful I get to have this–this body, this time, because it is more, better, sweeter than anything I could have known to ask for.

Week 15

And what if I don’t stop feeling sick? What if I’m one of the women who doesn’t get to feel the magic of the second trimester? I have not yet snapped to and felt surges of power and vitality; isn’t the placenta supposed to be done forming by now? Isn’t that the reason for so much of this nausea, this exhaustion, this…all of this? I’ve been banking on that magic moment, that pay off, but what if I don’t get it?

I get rattled when I look forward into two years of my body being taken over by these sensations; pregnancy and then nursing and then I suppose beginning to get back to normal. What is my body going to be after all this? There is a varicose vein behind my right knee that began forming in college. It’s gotten bigger.

The problem is that there’s a good chance that if I got more energy back I would simply expend it. I think the universe gave me such a rough first trimester because that’s the only way it could get me to slow down. I tried bargaining a few times: “Please universe, I promise that if you lift this nausea then I will rest more and take it easy.” Am I tired today because I stayed up late reading and then did a whole bunch of stuff? Or am I tired because my baby is now the size of an apple?

I don’t get even the illusion of control. And I haven’t even written about the gas. Miraculously, I’ve only gotten caught farting once and it was kind of a cute one; a classic whoopee cushion sound while talking to my co-worker in a silent hallway.

I will say this though. The sex really is amazing.