I was pregnant. It was April of 2001, and I was twenty-four. Unmarried, though in love. We owned a house, a car. Life seemed pretty good.
Pregnancy, for me, was uncomfortable from the beginning. I didn’t get morning sickness, but I definitely got carsick. Discovered, much to my chagrin, several times on the way to our mutual place of employment.
It was a two hour drive.
I didn’t always have fair warning.
We lived in Poulsbo and my doctor and work was in Seattle. That’s a two-hour drive each way during rush hour. We drove it together, and we talked about everything. About what we would name you, what color to paint your room, whether you’d be a boy or a girl (we didn’t want to know in advance). Your dad came home one time with the cutest little dress ever, with little pink bows and Winnie the Pooh all over it. Once I threatened to make you wear it (after you were born). You have your father to thank for the fact that I do not have, in my possession, a picture of you in a Winnie the Pooh dress.
It was really cute, though.
The other thing that was really hard for me about being pregnant was that I gained weight. A lot. Not just the normal 4-6 pounds per week. I’m talking, some serious weight. I felt so completely unattractive and ungainly. I could barely roll out of bed in the morning. I couldn’t tie my shoes. I couldn’t sleep on my stomach. I felt like a cow.
The doctor cautioned me that I was gaining too much weight. I started walking every day, riding my bike until I couldn’t fit on it anymore, sometimes we’d even walk onto the ferry and walk to work from downtown Seattle.
I didn’t handle it right. I stopped eating very much. I wasn’t hungry very often. I didn’t have the wierd cravings or midnight need for snacks. Your dad lucked out, really. Nothing was working though. I still kept gaining, and of course not eating right wasn’t helping. My self esteem plummeted. I was convinced your dad would never want to touch me again. I was convinced that there had never been a pregnant woman as big and unwieldy as I was.
So I felt some resentment toward your dad. I felt that he should be the one to make me feel better. I felt that he should make me feel beautiful, and wanted, and loved, and cherished. Instead, I should have been relying on myself for that. It seems to me that any time you rely on someone else to make you feel good, you are inevitably going to be disappointed. Unless you feel good on your own, nothing anyone else says is going to make a difference.
I’ve heard women talk about how being pregnant made them feel fertile, radiant, and beautiful, but I didn’t feel any of those things. I’ve heard men say that a pregnant woman is the most beautiful creature on the planet. I didn’t feel that way either.
Until I felt you move.
I remember exactly the first time I ever felt you move inside me. I was getting off the ferry, in sitting in my white Ford Explorer, talking on the phone to your grandma. And you rolled.
Your little body, still only birth minus 5 months to go, decided that NOW was the time to let Mommy know you were there.
It happened twice before I figured out what it was. Next thing I know, I’m laughing and crying and trying to explain to my grandma that the best, most amazing, most special thing in the world just happened to me.
GoodMan and I, we’d created a life. And I actually felt it.
Next: chapter eighteen.