Monthly Archives: March 2011

Moodiness and The Wisdom of The 70’s

“Any pregnant woman is subject to emotional ups and downs; her ability to control her moods is a measure of her emotional maturity.  You may fluctuate between depression and irritability when you think you are beset by insurmountable problems that only you have to face.  Often some attention form your husband is all that is needed to show you that you are exaggerating, but if not you may want to speak with a psycho-therapist.  Bear in mind that a certain amount of moodiness is natural.”

Roberts Rugh and Landrum B. Shettles, “From Conception to Birth: The Drama of Life’s Beginnings” 1971

The above paragraph was taken from a book on pregnancy my mother gave to me when she was finally told of her impeding grandchild. She had bought it for herself in the mid-Seventies when she was pregnant with my sister.  We had always had it around the house. It has color photos of embryos and fetuses.  I remember looking at it when I was a little girl and wondering how they took the photos of the babies. It didn’t occur to me that maybe the babies were not in their mommies anymore, well I guess I realized it but I thought that was only temporary. The good doctor would just take the baby out for it’s photo session and then put it back inside mommy when that was done. Like how my mom put me and my sister in fancy little dresses and then dragged us to Olin Mills in the Datsun for our yearly photo sessions.

The book is refreshing.  I’ve spent the last few months being told that everything I think, feel, eat, smell and look at will affect the little creepy who is taking up more and more of my body. Side note: not only is my belly getting bigger and my organs more compressed from the little stinker using up my valuable trunk space, but now my nipples have begun to take over my breast. I’m all areola. Seriously, they have gone from quarter size to child’s size pancake size. They are now udders. I don’t know if they will go back to normal when this whole person making and feeding evolution is said and done but I really, really hope so. Also, I really hope they don’t keep growing as it would be strange to have areola covering not only my whole boob but visible in low cut shirts or even stranger to be visible while wearing, say, a turtle neck.  The book has something to say about this. I’m not sure where mine fit in, currently, but I rest assured knowing that Drs. Rugh and Shettles have classified the variety of breasts and mine are surely either “ample, large, full, moderate… small [,] firm, sagging [,] pendulous [,] hemispherical, conical, bowl-shaped or purse-shaped…” and any of them are completely normal and all of them are up to the task of secreting from the “sebaceous (oily) glands of the skin [that] have been modified to secrete milk.” That is comforting. Given their intense dedication to describing all the varieties of breasts, I’m a little more that surprised to realize they don’t mention nipples and growing areolas other than to say they may become darker. I guess they are not so much areola kind of guys.

Luckily, I am under 35 and my eggs have not “[gone] stale” because I have less of a risk of having a child with “Mongolism” however, if I would have been smart enough to have a child while still under 25, the risk would be lessened.  For those of us who are not familiar with the disease of Mongolism, the doctors helpfully describe the condition.  They explain that it is an anomaly due to the presence of an extra chromosome and the person afflicted is “characteristically short of stature and has slanted eyes (hence the name).”  Really? This was only the 70s! How were things so crazy then? Oh, speaking of crazy,  it is also noted that the biggest problem with this condition is not the appearance of the person, but that they are mentally retarded. However, parents shouldn’t be too concerned as the “sufferer can be trained to some extent.” Well, that is reassuring.

Modern pregnancy advice may be different, but in the 1970’s, women where told “Neither the thoughts nor the experiences of the mother can affect the unborn child. …Since there is no nervous connection between the mother and fetus, it would be impossible for any of her sensations to be transmitted directly to her child at any time. Up to the time of birth, the mother has scan influence on her child…. After the fetus forms its major organ systems there is little the mother can do to harm it before birth.” Nice to know.  Not so nice to know is that after the “eviction” of my little monster, I may find that my body may have become “weakened, stretched, misshapen [!]…” after I have “permitted [them] to lie unused” for so many months.  The nice men, however, assure me that with the adoption of healthy eating and exercise  I may be able to “regain [my] original figure (or even improve it).” Thanks, docs! I’m looking forward to adopting better habits so I can not only be a less “hysterical” but hot mamma, looking even better than I did before.  I’m sure my “husband” will appreciate that too.

Maybe it is a sign of my “emotional maturity” that these guys irritate me.  I do like knowing that Western equine encephalitis, when contracted by the mother during pregnancy can cause “idiocy.” It can also cause encephalitis, but America seems to have dodged quite a few bullets in the past decades as our apparent Western equine encephalitis epidemic in pregnant mothers, has managed to cause only idiocy and not the other possible and much worse condition. There are some other nice points in the book, but what I find really irritating is the general tone that women are silly creatures and we must be managed by our “husbands” and doctors during pregnancy.  Women are told to “follow[]… doctor orders” and they will avoid complications such as toxemia. The men know best, after all.






Belly! 27 weeks

Weight is now 155. I'm feeling very pregnant.

The last month has been so strange.  Some days, I feel so pregnant, I can barely move. Like a hippo or a manatee. Or like a Premarin mare. Usually I only feel like a mare  when I haven’t left the house for days and I pee all the time.  It’s nice that I don’t have to stand and it’s also nice that I don’t have a catheter in and I can pee on my own.  I suppose it is also nice that I can drink all I want too. Yeah, that is nice. I tend to feel like a hippo whilst in the bath. I know it would make more sense to feel like a manatee then, but I don’t. The manatee feeling is reserved for when I’m rolling onto my side to get out of the bed.  I don’t really have much abdominal strength left so in order to get out of the bed, I must roll.  J. helps with this and is even decent enough not to laugh too hard about it.

There are other days, when I swear I’m shocked to look down and see a belly as I feel so nice.  On these days, I have energy and am excited to explore and do things.  These days have become a little rarer though.  I still do have an active imagination so I can just imagine I feel days like this more often, whilst laying in bed.  While I’m in the bed, imagining things, I usually do myself a favor and imagine the bed is in my fantastic new house. There are wood floors and fireplaces, I say fireplaces because there are many.

I have been working a bit at J.’s shop.  He has orders backed up and I’ve been helping him clean glass and pull cured silicone off cages.  Not exactly taxing work, but after four hours I feel like I’ve just worked 16.  I remember days when I worked hard.  Of course, I haven’t really worked hard in years so some of the pain might have to do with just being older but my goodness! I can’t believe how badly my feet hurt! Or the swollen knees, of all things! I was prepared by all the maternity sites about the food swelling, but no one mentioned knees swelling.  Mine look like they belong on an elephant. Not pretty! Well, I suppose it would be pretty on an elephant.


Belly! 26 weeks 3 Days and the Rear View

This is the first time I've seen my ass in ages. Still looking good. Maybe a little more, err, round than normal but okay. You can't even tell I'm knocked up.

Bushels of Books and Baby Heads

Being pregnant will cause a lot of things.  Say, heartburn or large painful breast.  In me, it has caused both those things but also other strange things like reading.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I read a lot anyways.  I’m have a rather voracious appetite when it comes to books.  Because I’ve recently moved, I can tell you exactly how many books I have, in bushel form.  I decided to use free grocery store boxes this move and the box of choice for me was the apple variety and those come in one bushel size.  I realize it is sort of useless information to have, but I enjoy knowing it anyways.  It would make for great cocktail party conversation.  I imagine it going something like this:

Host-” Rodger, this is Amanda, she just moved up here from Los Angeles to birth a child. She is a writer.”

Rodger- “Oh, isn’t that lovely. I see you have birthed the child and you look very thin and beautiful. What do you write?”

Me- “Oh, I’m working on a children’s novel. I’ve already got a book deal for it and hope it will be a series.”

Rodger- “Fantastic! What is it about?”

Me- “Oh, you know, adventure, coming of age and what not. When I moved up here I found out how many bushels of books I have.”

Rodger- “Bushels?”

Me- “Yes. Bushels.”

Rodger- “Well, isn’t that something?”

As you can see, it will be fantastic conversation.  I could then also amaze others by telling them how many bushels of clothing I have as well.  I have an equal number of bushels of clothing as I do bushels of books.  I think that probably says something about me, but I’m unwilling to really read into that.

Seeing as I’ve already read every book I own and haven’t really been in the mood to read anything over again, I picked up one of the spawning partner’s books.  It just so happened to be some book, whose name eludes me at the moment, dealing with how fathers should deal with pregnancy.  Particularly useful are the beginnings of each chapter where it lists what the preggers partner is dealing with, emotionally.  J. was having a hard time understanding what was going on with me when I was still in LA and he was here, partly, I think, because he was reading these completely retarded suggestions of what I was feeling.  For instance, by the third month, I was suppose to be bonding with the little creep already or becoming excited at my thickening waistline or frustrated by it.

By the third month, I had barely found out I was pregnant.  I was happy to find out I didn’t have Chronic Fatigue and/or some rare metabolic disorder that was causing me to eat constantly and sleep all the time and I was happy to find out my ass wasn’t getting bigger for nothing, but I surely wouldn’t say I was excited.  I was happy to have had my questions answered with what seemed like a reasonable conclusion.  However, the book does note increased moodiness, which was true.  Unfortunately, J. noticed that as well and would say irritating things like, “It’s just hormones.” Things like that would really increase my moodiness and then I would scream at him on the phone.  Like a banshee.  I’m not a screamer normally, so it surprised even me.

At any rate, I wanted to know what this book said, to know what J. had read and what sort of ridiculousness he had taken for fact, so I picked it up. Once I got away from the laughable parts and the parts that were oversimplifications I did find some rather interesting info.  The author, bless his silly little heart, has actually found some fairly interesting studies and editorialized their findings nicely.

One that sticks out in my head prominently is on how not-yet-parents imagine their children.  Apparently, the study found that women, when asked to imagine their unborn child and then describe it, will describe a newborn child.  It doesn’t go into great detail, at least in this book. Who knows what the study said because I’m too lazy to even check to see if there really was a study about this topic and if the findings reported in this book were even close to the real findings. I trust. Sort of. Anyway, I’m sure the women did describe what they were doing with the kid and how it looked and probably even what it smelled like.  It’s funny how everyone loves the way a baby’s head smells.  It doesn’t matter where that baby is from or whose it is, it’s like puppy breath, except better.  The smell of a baby’s head is magical.  I really can’t wait to have my own just to be able to catch a whiff whenever I want. Shit, I just thought of a great idea for a candle scent!! Sweet! I’ll be rich.

Crap, where did that come from? Forget what you read there. It’s my idea!! Back to the matter at hand. So, women tend to think of babies and baby heads when they imagine their unborn kid’s future.  Men, on the other hand, imagine the kid as older.  Not old. I don’t think anyone fantasizes about how their unborn child will look when it’s all awkward and pimply and badly dressed. But, older, say two years or three years old. They imagine doing things with it, like tramping through a forested trail and pointing out butterflies; not doing things to it, like smelling it’s head.

Here’s where it gets interesting though, in my house, it’s opposite.  J. is still dreaming about the little stinker, and it’s always a baby. Of course, he’s not dreaming of spit-up or dirty diapers. We are planning to do cloth, so that should be fun. But that is neither here nor there, although it will be here, later.  He’s dreaming of napping with the clean little stinker and smelling it’s head.  My dreams though are of tramping through a field with a two year old or so. I’m also excited to teach him to fish, as that is a right of passage in my family bestowed on both boys and girls.  Or maybe, I’ll teach him to read, early. After all, a house doesn’t have 12 bushels of books for nothing.

Belly! Week 26 and Heartburn

26 weeks and I'm weighing in at 154 this morning!

Oh, the heartburn has started.  It’s funny though. If I lay down, I don’t have it.  It is caused by sitting. Particularly sitting on something hard, like the floor or a chair.  It also will flair up if I’m sitting on the bed or something else that is soft for too long.  Because of this, I’ve put myself on bed rest.  I’m cool with bed rest, after all, I’m pretty lazy even when I’m not preggo.  I’ve heard drinking diluted, RAW apple cider vinegar will help.  We’ll see.  I just drank some. I really hope it works.  The belly really does get bigger every day.  I can feel it stretching. Because of this, I’ve taken to laying around even more. Yeah, bed rest. So lazy.

Somehow, I gained 4 lbs in a day.  I’m not sure how this happened, but it did.  I was a little slow to gain for the last month or so, so maybe this makes sense.

Belly! 25 weeks

25 weeks, 149 lbs.

Here is my 25 week belly.  I think this takes me out of my second trimester and into my third and final trimester.  Also, my bed is messy and I’m wearing yoga pants my sister gave me years ago that I think were actually maternity yoga pants because they have always fitted strangely, until now.  Now, they fit like a dream.

Failure and Future

After two days of a flurry of activity, well not so much a flurry but more like a couple of things that had to be done, I’m exhausted.  There are dishes in the sink. There are blogs left unread by me. There is a bed that needs to have its sheets changed. I don’t feel like doing any of  it.  Maybe it’s the rain. No. It’s not the rain. I’m just completely blah.  I just want to lay about. I could barely get out of bed today. I’m sure this is just a part of pregnancy. The little creep needs me to lay around and be lazy. But, after months of reading about pregnancy, I can’t remember if I’ve even seen blah listed as a part of pregnancy.

Everything I read is about how women are so excited about being pregnant. Right now, I don’t feel excited.  Sure, I go through moments where I look down at my belly and can practically see it growing as I gaze upon it and I do get that feeling. That feeling that what I’m doing is momentous and amazing and special.  I’m growing life. I’m creating in a very real so of way. But, I’m not doing the creating. My body is being used by the little creep. The little creep is creating itself and using my body’s resources to do it.  It’s making me tired.  It’s making my legs restless at night. It’s also making me feel like a failure of a mother.

Shouldn’t I be feeling elated? Shouldn’t I be spending my days and nights thinking and talking about how I’m fulfilling my cosmic duty or gift or whatever. I’m not.  I’m not even sure what I’m thinking about most of the time.  I was just in my kitchen lost in some sort of daydream and all I could think about was how much better it could be. How I’m not prepared for this and how no matter what I try to do to give this little monster a good start, it doesn’t matter anyways because he is going to, ultimately, do what he wants to do.  I can try to shape him and give him morals that fit with mine and read to him from a young age and teach him to do important things like the dishes and laundry but it doesn’t matter.  He’s still going to be born into the life and the life station that I have created for him. The failures I’ve had in my life are now going to be his to share. I know if I were to actually say any of this to any of my friends or family, they would probably do what I would do; point out the high points of my life and how lucky the kid is to have a mom who has been through so much and had such a wide variety of experiences. But, seeing as I’m unemployed and have been for two years and I just can’t seem to get my footing again, I don’t feel like I’m a good example of woman and what women can do.

I know how ridiculous it is to buy everything brand new for a baby because they grow out of things so quickly.  I know that even if that were not true, kids don’t know shit from shineola until they are at least five, maybe later for some.  I know all they need is shelter and love and they will grow and thrive. I know this and yet I find myself projecting my own disappointment in myself and my ability to provide for him onto him. I imagine his disappointment in not being strapped into the newest and best car seat and that in turn being strapped into a shiny new car. I imagine how he will look out the window of the backseat from his best that mommy can afford car seat and gaze into the other new baby boy who is strapped into the nice racing seat and sitting in the Land Rover and feel inadequate. Never mind that he wouldn’t be able to see out of the car for years. In my self-flagellating, baby centered daydreams, he can see and what he sees makes him feel like a looser.  I fast forward to Junior High School and imagine him holed up in his room, not studying but smoking pot and reading High Times and cutting himself to relief the pain he feels from growing up lower middle class.  I imagine him coming out of his room and yelling at me for bringing him into this fucked up life and how he never asked to be born and then running back to his messy room and plopping himself on his dirty sheets after he turns some sort of terrible rap music up so he can pretend I’m not in the house.

I don’t even know if boys do that. I think they do. I seem to remember male friends of mine having safety pins safely closed around a loop of forearm skin, cleverly defeating the promise of safety.  I definitely remember dirty sheets and High Times magazine. I remember boys getting their clothes, just like the girls, from a free clothing swap called The Clothing Exchange or if they had been working, from Goodwill.  I don’t know if it was by choice or circumstance, but we dressed like homeless people. All of us did and now I’ve doomed my unborn child to do the same.  How could it be any different? What sort of choices have I made to make things better for him than it was for me or any of my friends? I haven’t made any. Well, that’s a lie. I made some, but now I’ve taken huge steps backwards.  I’m in worse condition than I was when I was 22 but now I will be dragging another person down with me. How will I feel when I see my own child make the same choices I made and see the outcomes be the same?

I’m sure I’m normal.  I’m sure other pregnant women think about these sort of things. I’m sure they worry and fret. I just wish others would have the…balls, nerve, stupidity, to write about it. It would be nice to know that I’m not the only one.  It would be nice to know that other women are not over-the-moon with the miracle of childbirth all the time. It would be nice to know that I have not failed, yet.

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