Tuesday 9 August 2011

Sins of an Expectant Mother

Pregnancy is a hell of a thing.  You basically lose control, and sometimes ownership, of your own body.  Your hormones are all over the place, there's all kinds of things you're not allowed to do anymore and everybody suddenly seems to think it is okay to touch, nay rub and massage, your belly.  Which, by the way, is very creepy.  I hear some women are into it but I am not one of those women. 

Through my pregnancies that loss of control over myself manifested itself in small rebellious ways.  For example, you are not supposed to consume anything that might harm your baby.  And, should you forget, there are people around who will make absolutely sure that never happens.

You'd think this isn't a big deal until you're at Starbucks and they're giving you decaf even though you ordered caffeinated because you know there's nothing wrong with the odd cup of coffee and you haven't had one in weeks. Then as you leave you hear them muttering about how much more they care about your baby than you do.  (Judgmental bitches, see if I ever drink your overpriced coffee again.  Can't wait until you're pregnant working night shifts, tell me what I can and can't drink.) 

So it's true that on the rare occasions I ordered coffee I may have been a little, um, overly defensive when I said things like, "Yeah, I'm drinking coffee!  You wanna fight about it?  Huh?  Huh? C'mon!  Let's go!"

As a pregnant woman you are not supposed to want anything other than a healthy baby.  To demand anything more than that is a supreme act of selfishness and ingratitude which must not go unpunished.  You are only permitted to want a healthy living baby and no more.  You must be happy with whatever you get and then shut the fuck up.

The first time I was pregnant I just had to know what I was having.  I didn't have a preference either way at the time, it was just that when I suggested I might want to find out a lot of people expressed disappointment that I didn't want it to be a "surprise".  As if being knocked up wasn't enough of a surprise.  Even after it had been confirmed that I was having a boy, all I heard about were all the times ultrasounds had been wrong.  It was almost as though it was wrong of me to know anything about it so they had to create reasonable doubt.

The second time, I was totally happy for either a boy or a girl until my family decided they wanted me to have a girl.  They said I already had a boy and I simply must have one of each or my life would not be complete.  Didn't I want a little dress-up doll with pretty hair to brush?  Everyone wanted a grand-daughter, a little princess to spoil, and it was up to me to supply them with one.  All of a sudden the very idea of having a daughter chafed at me. 

I noticed how much I liked mothering Frick with all his boy-isms.  I loved his destructive little play games and his love for all things gross.  I loved his boyish energy and his little boy toys.  Having another boy would be so practical in terms of hand-me-downs.  I realized that out of all the the little bums I had changed over the years both as a babysitter and a mother, I had never diapered a little girl.  I only ever had brothers and boy cousins.  It seemed as though God wanted me to mother boys.  It was my destiny.

My family did everything they could to get me to produce a girl, as if hoping and wishing had some kind of influence.  There were comments on how high or low I was carrying.  There were speculations about my morning sickness and heartburn.  The fact that this pregnancy was so different from the first one seemed to indicate to everyone I would be having a girl.  I came right out and said, "No way.  If it's a girl I'm sure I'll be happy about it but damnit, I want a boy!"

In fact not only did I want a boy, but I wanted that boy to have the dark, curly, jewish hair of my mother-in-law, and his father's blue eyes.  I already had a baby that looked just like me so I wanted a copy of Daddy and I wasn't shy about saying so.  I could tell they were already feeling sorry for the blonde little girl I was surely carrying in my ungrateful womb.  They were ever so smug as they said, "You never know..."

So I guess I couldn't help it when I finally got the ultrasound results.  I actually crowed.

"Yeeeeah!  It's official, I'm havin' a boy, bitches!  In your face!"

Don't worry.  No one's feelings got hurt.  Turned out that my cousins were pregnant at the same time and they had a beautiful baby girl, thus taking the pressure off me.  But surely I deserved divine punishment for making such specific demands about my unborn baby (not to mention being kind of a bitch), right?

After a quick five hour labour, Frack was born perfectly, perfect.  He has beautiful blue eyes like his father and wild, dark curly hair like his grandmother.  I got everything I wanted and no one, including all those wishing for a girl, is sorry he's a boy.  Sometimes you just get lucky.

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