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It’s only 8:48 a.m. and I’ve already eaten twice today. I just destroyed some miniature peanut butter cracker sandwiches. I had breakfast less than two hours ago, but I’ve reached the stage in life where I need to eat miniature peanut butter cracker sandwiches, or bunny-shaped grahams or cheese quesadillas or hamburgers, about six times per day. I’ve reached that stage where my New Year’s resolution necessarily is to gain weight, at least until July.
At which point, I plan to leave the kitchen long enough to give birth to a baby.
Michael and I are in the family way. I’m about 15 weeks “along,” as they say and in six short months, we will have our very own little boy or girl monkey to ... I have no idea what we’re going to do with it. I’ll think about it during my next handful of crackers.
No offense to Michael, but my husband and I are clueless and immature. We’re pretty good at Dance, Dance Revolution, but not sure at all, for instance, how we’re going to fit a car seat into the tiny cab of our pickup truck. Thankfully, we’re also madly in love and very excited to take this next step together.
And for me personally, although I have overeaten many times in the past, this is my first time being three-and-a-half months pregnant, which is an interesting thing to be.
Foremost, I’m getting fatter. This is interesting, because for once I don’t feel compelled to go on a 10-almond-a-day diet. My husband has not gently suggested that I stop baking muffins and my doctor has not given me any stern looks that I interpret to mean, “I don’t like you anymore.”
It’s like I’m queen of one of those perfect African countries where round women are considered the most beautiful, desirable creatures ever to eat a zebra. I don’t eat zebras, but I do eat zebra animal crackers.
To be honest, I’m not queen-size quite yet, but everyone’s been very encouraging. I’m still not “showing.” The doctors and midwives seem to define showing as “showing while wearing your partner’s big-man clothes.” And certainly, when I put on Michael’s Seattle Seahawks sweatshirt, I don’t look pregnant at all. I look like a Seahawks fan, which you’ll probably assume accounts for my sudden bursts of tears.
But a person can only eat so many crackers, miniature or otherwise, before they start to look different in a leotard. I wear leotards a lot more often than your average pregnant woman. I take ballet class nearly every day and although I shouldn’t officially start showing for a few more weeks, something is going on. Maybe the word is “bulging,” or “puffing.”
I’m not showing – but I am a sick parrot.
Anyhow, I don’t mean to say being pregnant is all about being or at least looking like a sick parrot. But the puffing and eventual, legitimate showing have a big influence over the other, more hidden parts of this transformation, much more than I realized back when I was still able to button my jeans.
For instance, I have some preparing to do outside of my womb. I have to get a cradle and put it in a tree. I have to go over some important expressions, like “Don’t use that tone with me,” or my mom’s favorite, which she used whenever I cried, “You’ll forget it by the time you’re married.”
Much as my body is not ready for birth, my mind is not ready for motherhood. I am not a mother yet.
And by “mother,” I don’t mean simply “the person who gives birth to a baby.” I mean something I don’t even understand right now. I mean a person who thinks of herself as a mother – who is a mother in the same way I am a woman, a wife, a writer. However, a changing body is a start. My shape is somewhat more maternal. It’s like I used to be a selfish little rectangle and now I’m a slightly more generous heptagon. Tomorrow I’ll be a responsible cone. Eventually I’ll be shaped like Carol Brady.
For today, it’s not me changing so much, just my uterus, which has become this relevant part of my life, something my friends already like to run their hands over (weirdos!). In this uterus something about the size of an apple bounces around and sucks its thumb. It has thumbs. Even though I’ve seen pictures of it with its adorable thumbs, I still don’t believe it. But I can’t help but acknowledge the reality of my waistline, soon to be renamed my waist “hula hoop.” I pray that in a few months the parts of pregnancy I can’t see or feel yet seem more real as well. I hope that some part of myself is growing even faster than my belly, because it has a lot more growing to do.