Wow, hard to imagine you and I have been together for 18 weeks now. You are getting big! I have really popped out in the last couple of weeks or so and there is no denying it now – there is definitely an obvious bun in the oven. I get sweet and sympathetic looks from strangers out in public now, as well as outright questions about when I am due and whether I am having a boy or a girl. You are quite the attention-getter! A lot of what I have been told about pregnancy has actually happened, while a lot of it, alas, has not. Here are my observations about incubating your little butt thus far:
1) I have not, as many formerly pregnant women have complained about, had a complete stranger come up and touch my belly. Only friends and family have attempted to touch such an intimate area, and have all asked permission before doing so, which I always oblige. I LOVE the feeling of the belly rub from loved ones, especially when your father does it. The way he does it is almost as though he is already caressing you or soothing you to sleep. And I have a feeling you can sense this, and this makes me happy. Should a complete stranger actually come up to me and touch me there, I think I would seriously bitch-slap the person. Who does this? No one has attempted it thus far. Perhaps I have a “Don’t eff with my bump” look on my face when out in the public sector. But we still have five months to go. Any range of inappropriate behavior by strangers is likely, I suppose.
2) I have not, as I have been extensively warned, had any radical mood swings or periods of intense hatred of your father. Sure, there have been days when I have been irritable enough (usually from lack of sleep) that even Gandhi himself spoon-feeding me caramel sauce with a chocolate spoon whilst watching Sex and the City episodes in a zero-gravity chair would do something to piss me off. And yet, I still can’t find a reason to be annoyed with your father. It’s like he took a “Help For the Husband of a Pregnant Person” sensitivity course behind my back and has nimbly side-stepped every pregnancy landmine there is. Some days a girl just feels like complete and utter shite, and no amount of lip gloss and Ben & Jerry’s will assuage the situation. Your father, in his infinite wisdom, will look upon my sorry, tired heap on the couch and say “My little Pregnant Princess, would you like me to make you some mac and cheese?” This is the utterance of a smart man. But for me, nothing during pregnancy has compared even remotely to the average symptoms of PMS. Of which I am blessedly free for ten months!
3) I wish I could tell you that I have had some exotic and interesting food cravings or aversions while you have been in utero other than my daily consumption of Trader Joe’s kosher dill pickles. I eat and enjoy pretty much all the same stuff I did before you came along. Of course there was a brief Lucky Charms phase a few weeks ago, the knowledge of which caused your Aunties Jen and Jillie to erupt into fits of laughter. Lucky Charms? WTF? But I don’t think that was so much a craving as it was a desire for comfort when I had that bad cold. Sugar cereal was forbidden when I was growing up, and since I can’t drown my poor sore throat in a hot toddy or even take a hot bath, the next best thing for me was being “bad” and having my favorite sugar cereal. Three times a day.
4) It is true that you receive a lot of unsolicited advice while pregnant, 90% of which is total bullcrap. I have had to repeatedly whip out the glazed-over nod and smile routine I perfected in the office when this or that gossip-monger would corner me in the hall with some such trivial nonsense of which I couldn’t have cared less. I had never imagined it would come in handy at this time in my life, but it sure does. Perhaps one day in the schoolyard, you too will perfect this look with a classmate who only wants to talk about how eating crayons changes the color of his poop while you are trying to get caught up on your MENSA newsletter.
5) I really do have “that pregnancy glow” that everyone talks about. But I think it’s really just a combination of two things: A) A detoxed system from not drinking or being around lawyers, and B) The fact that I mix my daily moisturizer with Sally Hansen Skin Brightener, which has a tiny hint of shimmer and is seriously the pregnant person’s BFF.
6) Dogs really can tell when you are pregnant. Even before our first ultrasound when we heard the heartbeat, The Big Brown Dog was suddenly extremely interested in you, sniffing my belly like he was trying to hoover up my belly button ring and whining at it anxiously. I realized he could hear not only my heartbeat, but yours, which is nearly twice as fast as mine. He probably thinks I am harboring a speed freak. Whenever he does this belly-sniff and whine routine now, I ask him in a hushful tone, “Rufus, do you hear the baby?” to which he pricks up his ears and cocks his head from side to side, brow extremely furrowed and extra-wrinkly in a look of heavy concern. Of course he also makes this face when I ask, “Would you like a tasty delicious biscuit?” So I’m not sure if this reaction is a good thing. But he sure is excited to meet you. Of course The Pug, being completely deaf now, and too diva-like in nature to give much of a crap about anything except where her next chicken leg is coming from, knows nothing of your existence and probably wouldn’t care if she did.
7) Probably one of the most profound things someone told me is that, as a pregnant person, you are never alone for the duration of your pregnancy. I think now that I am starting to temper the constant paranoia of scrutinizing every single little thing I am eating/drinking/smelling/wearing/exercising/touching with a little more calm rationale, that realization that I am never alone while I am carrying you has finally set in. I am being prepared mentally to be hyper-vigilant in caring for every aspect of your little butt, and even when you are living outside of my body, I will never really be alone. I’m sure I will always be thinking about you, worrying about you, admiring you, loving you. You may be a big mystery for now, but I feel connected to you already, like we are speaking some secret language to each other that doesn’t need words or even sight. My Little One. Take all the time you need in there. But Rufus isn’t the only one who is anxious to meet you.