When I was pregnant, I spent a lot of hours fretting over whether or not I would have enough love to give this tiny, needy thing growing in me. My only thought was for myself--what kind of life I would have (and what kind of life I'd be missing); how I would feel when I held my child; how much he would rule my life after he was born; how much I may resent him. I never thought much about babies before our "surprise" pregnancy (it's not PC to call it an accident anymore). What I did think wasn't very affectionate--I could not fathom what it was people saw in these tiny, screaming, smelly things. I really could not understand why people said they smelled good.
Near the end of my sixteen-hour labor--which felt like an eternity, but is really not that long in the natural childbirth circles, and is REALLY not long in the posterior childbirth circles--the midwife was cheering me on, squeezing my hand, trying to encourage me. I felt miserable throughout labor, and not just for the obvious reasons. I was regretting a lot of the choices I had made leading up to that moment, wishing I had not decided to have the baby, wanting to tell them I had changed my mind, I didn't want to do this anymore... but speaking during labor is all but impossible, so I bit my tongue and tried not to cry. I needed all the energy I could muster to push this giant, selfish, awful thing out of me, this creature that had caused me so much pain and misery for the last nine months, and for the last twelve hours especially.
"You are about to experience true love," the midwife told me with a smile full of emotion. "You think you know love now, you have no idea."
I stared at her, unable to respond, but thinking, Of course I know love. I love my boyfriend, I love my dog, I love my mom. Don't be ridiculous. People blow this whole parenting thing all out of proportion.
The midwife, though, was right. I really had no idea.
- the syntax:nonfiction
- the ghostly clothes of:"Ordinary Angel" Athlete
So I was watching hulu (because I can never, ever, ever remember to watch anything on tv), and I saw a "What if?" commercial. I don't know if you're familiar with these, but I was not. You see, it starts out with shots of beautiful, smiling young women, in varied settings, and a cheerful, optimistic narrator. The words "What if?" flash across the screen, followed by things like, "...you went to law school? ...took an acting class? ...bought a ticket to Prague? ...met someone you really like?" etc. But it is after that fateful phrase that things take a turn for the worse. It begins deceptively enough--"What if he really liked you too?"--but then, out of nowhere, "What if he gave you HPV?"
Oh my, commercial! I didn't see that coming. But wait, that's not the worst part. Here, the voice-over actress changes her tune. Suddenly, her attitude swaps from used-car-salesman-level energy to Vincent Price-style doom-and-gloom.
"What if it never went away? What if years later, it turned into CERVICAL CANCER? What if you had to have SURGERY? What if you could NEVER HAVE KIDS AGAIN? What if it got REALLY BAD?" [Cue woman in chemotherapy, all her hair fallen out, staring listlessly at the floor like she wants to die.]
Holy crap. I hadn't thought of that, commercial. You're right, I'm probably going to die a long, slow, horrible death from cervical cancer one day.
That is, if the stress from this country's encouraged hypochondria doesn't get me first.
- the syntax:nonfiction
- the ghostly clothes of:"Bring It On" Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Buying baby stuff is hard. I feel seriously unqualified, and massively overwhelmed. So far I've learned not to buy these three strollers
, and that's pretty much as far as I've gotten. I have... hmm, one entry on my registry so far? And that's after three days of "shopping".
The funny part is, I'm not even sure that I want a stroller. I definitely like the whole "baby-wearing" thing--one of my best friends had her son in November, and she talked it up a lot. I got to see it all first-hand a week ago, and I can comfortably claim "fan" status. But I'm also very active, and admittedly, I'm a little worried about walking and running with a baby wrapped onto me. I don't know from personal experience, but the physics of it don't really seem possible--or comfortable, for mom or baby.
But why get a stroller just for the hour a day I spend in my running shoes?
... Buying baby stuff is hard.
- the syntax:nonfiction
- the ghostly clothes of:"The War" Angels & Airwaves
So, journal. Wow. It's been a while, huh? I read these old entries and I can hardly remember the girl who wrote them. She seems so long-gone. I'm sure she would be just as shocked by her future self, as I am by my past. She would probably, in fact, be appalled, or at the very least disappointed.
Which is definitely not to say that I am disappointed. Do I have regrets? Obviously. But they are small ones. I wish I had not dropped out of school. Again. I wish I had worked harder. I wish I had a job. I wish I had more money. I wish I had kept closer to old friends. I wish my previous unbelievably-stupid life choices had not led to a pregnancy difficult enough to force me out of work at the farm. (Oh, that's right, journal--I got a job at a farm, with a very talented dressage trainer, back in August--but that's over as of March). I wish I had spent my money more practically in the past, and I hope I have the willpower to fulfill that wish in the future. I wish I had never quit riding. I wish I had never quit writing. I wish I would stop quitting everything.
But, after all, if wishes were fishes...
And there are a great many things to be thankful for, a great many moments in this last year that I definitely do not regret. Like meeting my future husband, and moving in with him--and being pregnant with our child. That latter one is not ideal--could definitely have come at a better time--but it's welcome nonetheless.
And anyway, there are definite optimistic overtones to this whole thing. Pregnancy gave me an excuse to take a much-needed vacation, for one thing. Working 50-60 hours a week at a job with serious physical demands was really beginning to wear me out. Pregnancy also goaded me into coming back to you, journal. Now that I'm not dog-tired at the end of every day--now that something interesting is going on in my life--I feel like there might actually be something worth saying again.
I guess we'll find out.
- the syntax:nonfiction
- the ghostly clothes of:"Gotta Cheer Up" Cotton Jones
There was a jar of boiled sweets by her bed, and a thick glass bottle of the clear fluid from her complicated still out behind the woodshed. It wasn't exactly whiskey, and it wasn't exactly gin, but it was exactly 90-percent proof, and a great comfort during those worrying moments that sometimes occurred around 3 A.M. when you woke up and forgot who you were. After a glass of the clear liquid you still didn't remember who you were, but that was all right now because you were someone else anyway.
-from Lords and Ladies
, by Terry Pratchett.
- the syntax:quotes
- the ghostly clothes of:"Maggie Mahoney" Seabird