I’m seeing pregnant women everywhere: there were three of us in lifting class the other morning, one of whom is due in 9 days. NINE days and the lady is squatting 30 lbs. like it ain’t no thang. Another two soon-to-be mamas walked out of Ross with me, and it seems as though half of my friends are expecting a small human early in the new year.
People frequently ask me one of two things: How are you feeling? and Are you excited? Great! I say to the first, with a hidden enthusiasm, knowing that not everyone feels as spunky as I have for the last 6 ½ months. Yes, I say to the second, with a hidden apprehension, knowing that everyone feels as if this is THEMOSTEXCITINGTHINGTHATWILLEVERHAPPENTOTHEMORMEORUS. And I don’t want to disappoint them, really, I don’t. It’s just “excited” isn’t my favored diction choice.
The morning after I first felt him kick (I say boy, based on my government-developing-a-new-army-by-tainting-our-water-supply-with-Y-chromosomes conspiracy; N says girl, based on debunking my conspiracy), it dawned on me: this inside kicker will some day turn 34 as I just had. He will jet to and from his parents’ house (that’s us—gah!) make sassy quips about the government and rock out to his favorite music. He might be married with kids of his own—or be a heroine addict—or own the best restaurant in town. Whatever he would turn out to be, right now he was this little thing knocking my insides. So much later he would be so much larger. It was all starting in my ever-expanding belly.
The kicking is quite a thing. It’s hard to teach what a relative pronoun is and how to diagram it while a small, future diagrammer is busy bustin a move in your belly. It’s hard to not put my hand to it and feel the movement; hard not to shout out to a group of 31 fifteen year olds, Hey you guys!! There’s a human being moving in my stomach! Sometimes my belly distends itself in amorphous shapes, and I watch something protrude: the human being is getting stronger.
I would love to tell you now that this makes me “excited.” But that’s not the word I would use. I get excited about a good flash sale, co-op ice cream, Twisp River Pub’s nachos. I get excited about menial shit, about carbohydrates. But never in my life have I used this word—this word that I’ve been spouting out to those who want to know “how I’m feeling.”
As in, what a freaking marvel it is that a well timed romp in the sack is going to make a whole human being. How nuts-o is that? And when it comes down to it (I know: Jesus, Linsey—you’re just now figuring this all out??) that’s where N and I and my brother sister and best friend all came from. I guess I’ve been so busy traveling and moving and teaching and running mountains that I’ve failed to grasp the awe-inspiring thing that is making a human being.
There is so much to gape at, like the blossoming of the four Bs: butt, boobs, belly, bridge of my nose. I’m in awe that my own body will create life-sustaining food (while trying to assure N that it’s not life sustaining enough for a 38 year old). I’m watching live, natural births on YouTube, in awe that anyone’s vagina can really accommodate a human head. I mean—really?? I think it’s Ina May who says that if a man’s penis could perform the feats of a woman’s vagina, they would never stop discussing it. A human head, gentleman. Let me know when your sex organ gets that big.
I just don’t know if I can emphasize my wonder enough: there is a human being inside of me. I’ve tried my whole life to avoid parasites! And here it is, feasting and kicking about, preparing for its big debut.
There are many things in life that require experiential learning: love, loss, the power of nature. Here, past the halfway mark in this journey, I can attest that for me, this is another one of those things. When I look at the pregnant women in the gym, I am in awe that we not only made it out of bed at 7:30 on a Saturday morning, but also that we are making little people who will grow up to be big people. Like you and me kind of people. But nicer. And with better hair and table manners. Really, how can you not marvel at that?
P.S.—It just dawned on me (I know, I know, I’m beyond slow, what can I say?) that not only must I refrain from drinking while pregnant, but also while breast-feeding. In order to ease my pain, N and I put on some Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. It took only thirty seconds to decide that this is would be the song I labored to, and that I actually needed an entire early 90’s rap playlist for the duration. And if the child doesn’t enter the world with this song in the background, I’m not sure any of our lives will be complete. Is that too specific for a birth plan?? Going to make sure my midwife and I have on one of those fly gold chains and likely make N do the trick at the :58 second mark. Think he can catch the baby while he’s down there?