"Step right up, folks! See the Amazing Preggo! A normal human woman with the gestation cycle of an elephant! Only $1! We accept Visa, Mastercard and Paypal!"
(Actually, maybe I should factor for inflation. Let's make it $10.)
My initial idea for a blog this week was a touching, poignant letter to my future child, with my vision for their future and all the things I want for them. I stared at the blank screen, my cursor blinked. And no words came out. I'm just not feeling particularly touching and poignant this week. Impatient, depressed, hostile... yeah, all of those. But not touching. Certainly not poignant.
To be perfectly clear, I'm not mad at my baby. It's not his (or her) fault that he's late. My mom went three weeks late when she was pregnant with me - God bless her - and as I explained last week, your due date is a highly unspecific thing to begin with. And Dr. Robinson warned me weeks ago that I'd probably go to 41 weeks or beyond. So I never expected to deliver on exactly Jan. 11 - I'm not upset about that.
I'm just utterly exhausted and done with being The Pregnant Girl. Of having people always look at my baby bump instead of looking me in the eyes. Of being asked how I'm feeling like I'm dying or something. Of being treated like my ability to have a baby is my only redeeming quality.
How can I explain this? It's like... piercing your ears. It's a personal decision - one some people exercise and some people don't. You waited a long time - and now that you've finally done it - you're proud and excited, but you still fundamentally feel like the same person you've always been. But as time goes on, it becomes the only thing people notice about you. People openly gawk at your ears in public. They pause in the hall to rub your ears and comment on how cute they are. They stop using your name and call you silly things like "Lobes" and "Piercey."
Okay, obviously that's a ridiculous example, but it's kind of how being pregnant feels. For me, at least, I can't speak for anyone else. I chose to do this thing. And it's a really cool, exciting thing, but it's a common thing people do all the time. I'm not naïve enough to think it won't change me - after all, piercing one's ears has a way of significantly altering your life - but inside l feel like the person I've always been. I'm still a hard worker with long-term career and education goals. I still like Fantasy Football and Jeopardy, Korean makeup and British television. I'm diplomatic. I'm funny. I'm well-read. It's taken me 31 years to find (and like) that girl. When I look in the mirror, I still see her looking back at me. So it's bizarre and confusing that when other people look at me, they don't seem to see her. They only see pierced ears.
Case in point: some good friends invited us over to play board games on Sunday night. I was really looking forward to getting out of the house and socializing with people who aren't my dog. But as the day wore on, I started getting anxious. These friends are incredibly nice and easy to be around. But even so, I was afraid I would walk in the door and it would be the same old story. Everyone would look at my bump instead of my face. They would ask how I was feeling but not about anything else in my life.
I'm not proud of it, but an hour before we were scheduled to be at their house, I broke down in tears. It's the first and only time I've cried this entire pregnancy. But finally, after 41 weeks, the idea of being The Pregnant Girl even for one more hour was just too much. I was done.
Dr. Robinson suggested I be induced this Thursday if nothing happens on its own before then, so one way or another, the end is in sight. Barring some kind of unforeseen circumstance, the next post you read will be about the birth of my very cool and exciting child. Don't worry, you don't have to get me a gift or anything. But maybe the next time you see a pregnant woman, you could make it a point to keep your eyes on her face. And ask her what she's been watching on Netflix or about that home renovation project she mentioned.
That would be a pretty cool gift.