Today is my first day of maternity leave, despite not actually yet being a mother. Still an incubator. But at least I can be uncomfortable and moaning at home, eating as much cereal as I like, without having to pretend that I’m being productive. Just procreative, amiright?
One of the best family stories that I have been thinking of lately is that of my grandmother, when pregnant with her twelfth child, being asked by her eleventh child, “Is that your eternity dress?” Right now I feel like I’m wearing an eternity dress, and this is only my first rodeo.
The past eight months, the time in which I’ve known I was going to have a kid, have been pretty decent. Oh, sure, there were some bumpy spots (the weeks of disbelief and disconnect that there was actually a tiny tadpole changing into a person inside of my person; the weeks of feeling carsick and fatigued and completely revolted by cooked eggs and Chinese food; the eventual hip soreness and impossibility of sleeping on my stomach, and followed by the impossibility of sleeping for any longer than a couple hours at a time no matter how the pillows are arranged; the scary stretch marks; the current achy disgruntly discomfort of everything), but for the most part, I have to say that being pregnant has been fine for me.
In fact, the most annoying thing has not been becoming reacquainted with my body and its new roommate, but having to answer the same questions over and over again. It’s worse than getting married, b/c even perfect strangers (less tactful than Cousin Larry and more annoying than Balki) can immediately spot that you’re expecting and feel free to comment. They’re no dumber than any other small-talk sort of “how was your weekend” question, but the sheer repetitiveness really got to me.
Most often said to me —and what I said in my head:
“You’re still here!” —(This has mostly just been in the last two weeks, but yes, my coworkers’ powers of observation are unmatched.)
“I didn’t know you were pregnant!” —Sorry I forgot to call you personally, but my actual friends and family took up most of my time, so…
“Do you know what it is?” —Well, it’s not a tumor! And probably human.
(after previous question has been seriously answered:) “Oh, a boy! Boys love their mamas.” —And daughters don’t? Or is that some creepy Oedipal fixation thing that we’re going to have to be concerned about in a few years?
“When are you due?” —In a couple years/months/weeks/days. Why, are you busy?
“Are you ready?” —Of course. 300 billion people have done this before me, and it’s constantly been described to me as something so different that you can’t anticipate the ways your life will change, and so amazing that there’s no analogy for the overwhelming love you’ll feel, and so intense that there is no action film with an explosion sequence adequate enough (not even in True Lies? really?), and so EVERYTHING that I should sleep while I can, leave the house alone while I can, pee alone while I can, and also be prepared for my life to change in all ways, for which nothing can prepare you. But we have some clothes, some diapers, and some bottles! A crib even! Yeah, I’m ready. Bring it on.