And for once I was SuperMom

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Baby Blues

So Scott and I realized that we have blogged maybe only a handful of times while in Kenya, so I am writing. While not much in Kenya has changed, it’s still full of corrupt politicians, they are still complaining that the rains have failed even though gallons of rain water get wasted because they aren’t catching it, the internet is still slower than a three toed sloth with chronic fatigue syndrome, even though there’s been talk of installing a fiber optic cable from U.A.E. for years. The political situation still feels unstable, the economic situation is still unstable, riots could break out anyday, and they regularly do. But that’s Kenya.
As I sit here feeling my underwire straining at my ever-expanding ribcage and bustline the one thing I can think about that has changed is that I am pregnant. Since I have announced on Facebook and we put it in our ‘monthly’ newsletter and there’s no way I can physically hide it at this point the cat is out of the bag and I may as well blog about it.
Pregnancy feels very similar to me of the process of falling in love and getting married. While I feel that pregnancy is less tangible stress (nobody buys a big exceedingly expensive white dress to give birth in and you don’t have middle-aged over made-up sales ladies pushing a cathedral length veil on you and cooing about how this is the most important day of your life and you should have whatever you want, even if you don’t want it) there is an event to prepare for, one that will be perhaps a day long that will forever change your life. There are insecurities to be grappled with, there is the thought over and over again of, ‘how will this change my life?’ There are fights to be fought with your spouse/fiancĂ© and the main all-encompassing feeling of doubt that you are actually ready to be a parent.
As with my engagement period I entered it with two sides of my emotions parroting very different things, one side giddy with excitement and breathlessly in love and the other side stressed out over the event of the wedding day and the fear of a deep abyss of not knowing what I am really getting myself into. Months up to actually getting pregnant I kept daydreaming of myself pregnant, big bellied and as beautific as the Virgin Mary (like every girl dreams of her day in the white dress). I wanted to start my family, Scott has been ready for at least a decade and me feeling more and more like this is the time to start our family. So we get pregnant (he gets on one knee and slides the ring on my finger), and I wonder, ‘what have I just done?’ The different between getting married and getting pregnant is that there is no turning back with pregnancy. I think even after we put down hundreds of dollars on the dress we all knew we could bolt. It’s not the same. The baby is in there. You’re getting whatever comes out.
Again one side of me is excited picturing a cute little cuddly baby miracle that I get to take care of and mold (as much as it will let me) and the other side of me knowing that I won’t get to sleep in again for the next decade. I fear just how this little life will change my life? Will I ever run that marathon I’ve thought about? Will I ever get to New Zealand like I have always wanted to? And what exactly is my body going to look like when this is all said and done? I’ve been told all the sacrifices are worth it, that my priorities will change, that New Zealand becomes less important and that you may not care as much about sleeping in or marathons. People have done this for millennia, someone did it for me. But really what does it do, how does it change you? And is it all worth it?
Now part of this fear needs context, I have become increasingly more athletic in my life and have gotten used to pushing my body in sports. I have a healthy heart and body and it usually rises to the occasion, I can hike as long as I want, lift as much as I want, run until the path disappears, etc. In pregnancy that is all gone, you’re tired all the time and not tired in a normal way, not in a, ‘I can push through this if I want.’ No, it’s time to sit and put your feet up and pass out. And your body keeps getting increasingly bigger, and as someone who has struggles with body image expanding thighs and arms (not too mention behind) are hard to take. And for me pregnancy does not bring on that beautific Virgin Mary glow, I feel more like a large gestating beast stomping through Nairobi. Some women sail through pregnancy feeling fabulous and loving the changes in their body, I liked mine better before (which is good since this does only last nine months), a host of common ills have sunk in upon me, heartburn, fatigue, morning sickness, etc.
And you know and I have never really enjoyed baby sitting. I’ve always kinda resented the fact that it was foisted on me because of my gender. Really, can’t I just mow your lawn for ten bucks? Instead of being left with the child you refuse to discipline because that would squash his creativity….I know it’s different with your own kids, but I don’t have those yet….
So my whole body and lifestyle has changed and I’m not sure what’s going to happen on the other end. I felt the same way with marriage I wanted to be married, I wanted this man in my life but I wasn’t really sure how it was going to change my life. Now with marriage I found that it only made my life better, and that’s what I’ve heard about babies, but doubt arises in my mind because never once has my husband woke me up in the middle of the night crying because I need to feed him. And how awkward would that be if he did?
So recently trying one of my many mental games to fix my attitude about thighs that have never rubbed together like that before I have started thinking about things that I like about being pregnant:
1. Insomnia? What’s that….zonk…snorrrrrrrrrr……
2. My nails are strong and awesome, hooray for prenatal vitamins.
3. My hair is thicker and once I figured out how much oilier it is and that I can no longer fudge the shampooing it looks pretty good.
4. For my whole adult life I have carried a full Nalgene around with me, often I gaze at it’s half empty carcass with guilt because I don’t really like the taste of water, I have toyed with adding stuff to it but eventually that just makes your Nalgene taste funny and adds calories, what’s a dehydrated girl to do? NOW, I can’t get enough water down my parched gullet. I drink three liters a day, and just water, not Crystal Light or lime flavored water, just pure water, that’s all I want.
5. I think it’s been good for our marriage, it’s brought us into a raised mutual respect as we deal with the changes this baby has already brought. We get to have fun conversations about names, nurseries, and how we’ll take joy in our little progeny. Conversations about how we hope it gets my hair and your eyesight, etc.
6. I like the attention I get, I thought it would annoy me but it doesn’t. I don’t even mind the belly rubs. At this point it’s still mostly good friends who are that audacious.
7. Feeling the baby move. It’s weird, it’s kinda alien, but it’s nice to know that there’s someone in there.
So I’m sure that when I am gazing at that little pink face I will wonder how I could have ever doubted my joy and happiness and thought, ‘will this all be worth it?’ The same way I felt after the dress was dry-cleaned and hermetically sealed into a plastic bag, ‘it’s all worth it.’

Written by Lara

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