A month and half ago, Jon and I said goodbye to our 700 square-foot apartment in San Francisco and moved ourselves to the 'burbs. Since then, we’ve been living a quiet life — making dinner, going on hikes, strolling through West Elm and contemplating the best wall on which to mount a flat-screen TV. Oh yeah, and I haven’t had a drink in 16 weeks.
That’s right: all signs point to pregnant. We’re excited! We’re terrified! We’re looking forward to dressing him or her up in fancy baby clothes! But more than anything, we’re grateful that things are going smoothly this time around.
I alluded to this in a previous post, but I miscarried at about six weeks back in November. I wasn’t ready to talk about it then, even though I knew it was very common and in no way my fault. The logical part of me figured I’d be “over it” in a few weeks, ready to try again. But it took a bit longer than that. In spite of supportive friends and family and a lovely trip to Paris, it was a rough winter for both of us. I drank too much wine, I sank into depression, I cried a lot. And while I probably took it harder than Jon did, I know he suffered too. It can’t be easy to see your partner in pain while you stand by powerless to fix it, but he handled it like a champ. I think we both entered this pregnancy with a deeper appreciation of each other and of life’s fragility.
And that’s the last time I’ll use “we” for the remainder of this post. Because when it comes down to it, I’m the one who’s pregnant, and the one going through the most outrageous physical and emotional changes I’ve experienced since adolescence. Somehow I had imagined that pregnancy would be this magical time of self-care and self-reflection; a chance to retreat from the stress of my career and my usual existential angst. A time to focus on the amazing things my body is doing, to appreciate the legacy of child-bearing women who came before me, to embrace my inner earth mother goddess!
But for the first 13 weeks I felt less like Gaia and more like Gollum — a reclusive, sickly creature obsessed with and resentful of my "precious."
Indeed, nothing gets you stoked on the miracle of life quite like three months of nausea and vomiting. My daily routine — which used to include an energizing workday, Crossfit workout, walk through the Mission District and a nice dinner + cocktail — quickly devolved. In those early months I could barely make it through the day without crying in the bathroom or moaning audibly at my desk. Most meetings were spent planning my escape route in the event that I had to puke. I drove home in a haze and immediately crawled into bed, sipping on ginger ale and trying to keep down soup and saltine crackers. I felt like a specter of my former self — everything I once loved was steeped in sickness. Food tasted rotten, colors were muted, normal household products smelled like poison, even my favorite songs were off-key. I missed my life, I missed myself. I began to question why any woman voluntarily puts herself through this.
But then, as it is wont to do, the sun came out.
When I was in college, I had a dream that stuck with me for years. I was trapped in a hostage situation in my childhood home, trying to help my family escape. We found our way out through a latched door on the ceiling, and I ran as fast as I could to a nearby field shouting “I HAVE THE ENERGY OF FLOWERS!!!”
That’s kind of how I felt when I woke up one morning around week 14 and didn’t want to vomit. I didn’t feel great, per se, but I felt a little closer, a little less troll-like. And I went to the gym! Oh glory hallelujah, how good it felt to sweat! To have, apparently, the energy of flowers! About halfway through my workout, when the runner’s high kicked in with a nice jolt of endorphins, I actually started to cry (a common motif throughout this pregnancy). I felt like I'd been released from prison.
So anyway here I am, bumping out loud and proud, waiting for the last traces of sickness to fade so I can let those earth mother vibes wash over me.
Fine, I’ll just work on my maternity style Pinterest board instead.