People on the subways who talk to themselves elicit strange stares. Obviously.
So it should be no surprise to me that when I crane my neck downwards in public and address my stomach, the same should happen.
Yes, I've officially started talking to the fetus. Yes, I feel crazy. Yes, sometimes I lose myself around other people and start asking the fetus questions. Yes, once or twice I've gotten the stink eye.
“How about some broccoli for dinner, little kicky?” I’ll say. "No, you want poutine only? That's not healthy.... okay, you convinced me: just poutine it is!"
Nuttiness aside, I've been reading that acquainting the fetus with the sound of my voice (and my husband's voice) is a good thing, so that when it's born it will already have some familiarity with its primary caregivers.
Some of my friends read stories to their babies in utero. But for that, I need more focused time, baby books and probably a better stimulus than just my belly button.
To prime this kid for the world to come, my husband and I have also started playing music to my stomach. We've gone so far as to put on our old, grainy-sounding records (yes, records) of Sesame Street and Annie (Annie, the musical soundtrack belongs to my husband Ted! He says it was mine, but it was really his. He's just trying to save face).
Now, I've read that some people even mount headphones on their abdomens. That, I certainly won't do.
Whether in private or public, that seems totally odd.
At the OB/Gyn's office today, the nurse handed me a promotional bag of goodies filled with pampers, diaper rash cream and baby tushy wipes.
"Gee," I said, when the doctor walked into the room. "This kinda makes me feel like I'm really having a baby."
"That's your only clue?" he said dryly.
Ha. Ha. I still find it very hard to believe - even though I am well into the swing of things - that in a few short months someone will think of me as their mother. I've been so wrapped up in worry about having a healthy baby, I've literally overlooked the fact that I am indeed having A baby.
Aside from mentally preparing myself to be away from work and for the hardships that accompany breastfeeding and getting a newborn to sleep through the night, I've done little else to get ready for the kid's impending arrival.
No crib. No swing. No baby bathtub. I haven't bought anything yet.
I suppose I should get on top of these essential preparations, but I still feel like there is an ocean of time before the situation becomes more real.
Some people won't tamper with fate and don't shop or set up a nursery until the baby's born and on it's way home from the hospital. But, I've never been superstitious. Others, have had the entire room ready by 30 weeks - with little outfits tucked neatly into drawers. All of it just waiting. But that seems strange to me too.
I'll have to find a happy medium - maybe I'll take advantage of Boxing Day sales and buy a few cute things (does baby stuff go on sale?? It seems like it wouldn't) and leave them in an unopened bag on the floor of the baby's room.
That messy approach will surely enrage my neat freak husband.
But, getting him all worked up just might make me feel a bit less stressed about what I haven't yet done (uhm, I love you Ted!)!
The first thing I ever wanted to do (before I went and got all knocked up, of course) when I saw a pregnant woman was touch her stomach.
So it seems perfectly natural to me that people want to put their hands on my bump (this sounds dirtier than intended!).
But since "belly touching" seems to have become a societal no-no lately, with words like "unwanted" and "invasion of privacy" used to describe the popular practice of pregnant tummy patting, my friends seem scared or nervous to come near me.
Sometimes, their hands start to lunge for my belly, but they stop themselves.
"Oh sorry," they say. "Uhm, can I touch."
"Yeah, sure, why not?" I return.
True - I wouldn't want strangers off the street trying to grope me. I've never been into that. But, no one entirely random has tried to come near me or the Lentil yet, so like an animal that's never been threatened by human contact before, I'm open to the tummy touching.
So far I find it cute and friendly. Hardly threatening.
It does make me feel a bit like a toy, however, but part of being pregnant, I think, is realizing my body is not entirely my own. Or, at least, not entirely under my control.
In essence, I am sort of a playground for the Lentil!
So, if other people can derive a little bit of happiness from my stomach (and often it makes me feel less turkey-like when they express an interest in being near my tummy) they why not!
Pat away, I say!
Ah memory - it's amazing how soon you forget!
A good friend called me earlier this week, extremely excited, but incredibly sick. "I've been reading your columns with a lot of interest lately," she said.
"Really? Why?" I asked, in my often completely obtuse manner.
"I'm pregnant!" she said.
This is incredibly good news, I enthused, especially since our maternity leaves will overlap!! Giddy, the two of us started planning the long stroller walks we'll take together in the brisk fall air (she'll have her baby by then). We'll enroll in Salsa Babies and tango with our tiny swadled bundles! We'll gripe about breastfeeding - together!
And then, since she is months behind me, the conversation turned, inevitably, to the queasiness, dizziness and exhaustion of the first trimester- the falling asleep at work, snapping at bosses, those seemingly never-ending night-time toilet visits, the bloating, forgetfullness (which never stops, mind you) and that ominous feeling - that dread and doom that these symptoms will never abate.
"Oh god, I won't be able to live if I feel like this for the rest of the pregnancy," I remember moaning when I slogging through the first few months. "Kill me, seriously."
Now, I am a whiner (gee! Really? Is the sky blue?) but even I can admit that I now feel like a normal person again - bigger, for sure. But I'm able to run around for work like I used to (of course I collapse at 9 p.m.) and I have my motivation back.
"And you don't look sickly and green like you did at the start," an editor said to me recently. "You look normal!"
That's the best compliment I've gotten all month!
And, even though I can vividly recall the first trimester yuckiness, I've still forgotten some of the symptoms my friend is now experiencing (poor thing). And you know - maybe it wasn't all thaaaat bad!!
Gaining weight has never been my favourite thing.
And watching the numbers on the scale go up and up and up makes me nauseous (as if I need more of that!)
But, I have to admit there is some comfort in packing on the pounds. For a woman in her early thirties, pregnancy is probably one of the only socially acceptable occasions to bulk up.
"This is your time! Eat what you want! Enjoy it! everyone says, when I whine about getting double butt, flabby arms and thunder thighs. "You're not fat," they say. "You're pregnant!"
A rabid worker-outer and compulsive watcher of what I ate pre-pregnancy, just letting myself indulge feels sinful. And I just can't allow myself to gorge on chocolate or Dairy Queen or stuff my face with hamburgers.
But I've agreed to compromise. No more denying myself what I want. For the first time in my life I'm allowing myself to order poutine. And finish it. To buy fish and chips at Chippys and only share a little. Not much!
I feel liberated. I feel like shouting "woman power" from the top of a building or a light standard (if only I could climb!).
"And you seem in control," my old friend Daniel told me recently (he didn't know about the light standard idea). "You're not like holding a hoagie in one hand, a blackberry in the other hand and whining like nuts." (he may be commenting on other aspects of me as well, but anywho...)
Slowly, I'm coming to terms with my new shape - just as I may start to look like a marshmallow!
Bring it on!
Where's my M coat???
I want to be a "hip and happening mamma" as it says on the M coat's website. But there don't seem to be any in my size. I've ordered one... even though my husband is going to freak out when he sees the price tag (about $450 before tax)... but it's MIA, it seems.
And this brings me to yet another clothing-related quip. Why, with so many pregnant women running around the city and frankly, the world, is there one coat specifically designed for moms and moms-to-be?
This seems like a huge niche market opportunity, no?
I give up on clothes. Again.
And I have decided (yet again) to just wear sweatpants or go around naked.
I have actually started to be a total-more-than-usual-schlep around my house. My poor husband.
"Uhm, can you wash that shirt? Please?" he asked me just the other day, pointing to some stain in the middle of my favorite sweatshirt. "It's starting to smell."
"Fine," I said, and threw it in the laundry.
"And, how about doing your hair once in a while and not clipping your nails on the bed?" he asked, again, pressing his luck.
"We'll see," I answered.
At a time when putting on tights is starting to become a challenge, I want to turn into a total nose-picking Neanderthal who just lies around, yelling for food (bring me a chicken leg!). I'm finding it hard to find the motivation to look and act "sexy."
Luckily, my friend and workout partner Erica forced me to a spinning class on Sunday. I felt so much better afterwards. I even went home, blew dry my hair and rolled on tights! And a dress!
And then promptly ate an entire lobster. So, today I feel like a sloth again.
Well, at least the sexiness lasted for a few hours!
It's amazing that so many people have lived past the first few months of life, according to everything I read these days.
There is so much (conflicting) advice on how to be pregnant and then take care of an infant it could make a head spin around and around and around.
No wonder I'm so dizzy lately.
When I was born, my mother, as per the advice of her doctor, put me to sleep every night on my stomach. When I told her recently that doing so now would be akin to inviting a venomous snake to share a bed with my bundle-of-joy-to-be, she started laughing. Out loud. A lot. Let's call it howling.
"Ma," I said. "Babies have to sleep only on their backs now."
"You're kidding me," she said. "But how will they learn to use their necks? And, uhm, you're still alive."
"Babies are also not allowed to be anywhere near bumper pads," I added.
"So children just squish themselves up against the bars of the crib when they start to move?" she asked.
"I guess so," I said.
Every day it seems I read some new advice. "Exercise during pregnancy!" I've read in many places." Too much exercise can be fatal," I read in an online magazine recently. "Don't skip rope," I read in one book. "Skipping rope is fine!" someone told me.
"Don't drink soy milk while pregnant because it promotes allergies," a friend said recently. "Soy milk is an excellent source of calcium while pregnant," I read on the Internet when I looked it up.
Admittedly, I don't trust the Internet much of the time, but I can't seem to figure out who or what to trust. Period. Correct, definitive answers seem as difficult to find as the fountain of youth (anyone know where that is, by the way?).
So, I've decided to just try my best, do what I think is right and feel guilty most of the time.
But what else is new? That's always been my strategy!