For the next month and a half I’m going to be sharing a week-by-week journal of the last stretch of this pregnancy. I have been realizing how little attention I like to give to this stage in my life and how much I shy away from being “that pregnant lady”, always minimizing this stage because I am afraid to exclude people or be put in a box. I think the conscious writing might be helpful for me to accept and celebrate instead of ignoring and minimizing. This is unusual for me to focus on such a narrow, and rather exclusive subject, so this is my fair warning. Click that little X and move along if you want to. I totally understand.
Tuesday, March 1st, 2016
I remember feeling this invisibility about the same time during my pregnancy with Merek. Physically I grow heavier, stretch out, and move slow, like a bear right before hibernation. Inside I feel a sudden shrinking and narrowing of myself. I feel empty and invisable. Esta, whoever she is, shifts backwards into a dark corner to make room for the new life I am carrying and laboring into the world.
It was very jarring the first time and yet still caught me off guard this week. At first I feel a sudden boredom with books, and people, and the new music I got for Christmas—things that normally excite me. Everything gets quiet and empty in my mind. Then I panic. I kept Justin awake one night even though his brain had already shut down thirty minutes before.
“I feel like I am just useful. Like a household appliance. More needed than a toaster, though. Like a washing machine? I am just a washing machine. ”
“I’m sorry”, he says, trying to pat my back in the dark despite the fact his eyes are already closed.
“I just want to leave for a week. I want to go somewhere exciting. I want to do something drastic”
“I’m sorry”, more awkwardly placed pats.
“You know what I mean?
“I’m sorry”, he mumbles.
Even though I am tired, and swollen, and about to be sleep deprived for the next year, I think that it would be a great time to reinvent who we are, what we are doing in life, and oh, we should totally hike 20 miles next Saturday just for fun. This is not how people describe the nesting stage. That has already come and gone for me a few weeks ago. Suddenly, I am empty and I want to fill it with BIG THINGS, not cleaning out my closets and washing walls.
I remember this exact stage with my first pregnancy. We were sleeping on our bedroom floor, for reasons I don’t remember, but I do remember knowing I was not going to be able to get off that floor-bed without a winch and maybe a crane to haul me up. I also remember staring at the ceiling and saying almost the exact same thing.
“I feel empty. Bored. Like who I used to be is just gone and I’m a shell. I don’t think I’ll ever be me again”
Super dramatic, I know. Poor Justin. I think he gave me awkward pats and a bewildered “I’m sorry” that night too.
This week I stopped feeling dramatic about 10 minutes after that late night washing machine speech, because I suddenly realized I had been here before. And I remembered how tiny and invisible I felt and I remembered how short that feeling lasted.
I don’t’ know exactly why this happens. Maybe other women experience this too, I don’t know.
It didn’t go away for me until Merek was born, but I got used to it. Somehow it became part of the last stretch before birth. I feel progressively more “taken over” by pregnancy until there is nothing left to do except surrender to the fact that I am making room in my life for another human and that requires that I become less for a while. I think maybe that desire for BIG THINGS also helps me look ahead to labor with less trepidation. I want big things? Well just wait a few weeks, missy.
Today, after my existential crisis, I stopped panicking about never being myself again and did the same normal things I do every week.
I read “Snow!” to Merek only about 100,000 times. I went to work and realized my scrubs are just too small and you will just have to have your vitals checked by someone in maternity clothes from now on, as humbling as that is for me. I listened to birth stories on my phone while I folded laundry to start psyching myself up for what’s ahead. I woke up at 230 am every night and got up and did 20 squats in the dark in my pjs, because otherwise I can’t go back to sleep. I bought baby clothes and pinned sewing projects on Pinterest that I will never do, as much as I think I will.
I think this time around I will embrace the quiet space inside and instead of feeling like a household appliance I will accept that I am simply 32 weeks pregnant and we can’t all hike 20 miles whenever we want to.