You Are Not Alone

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pregnancy, Part One

I often dreamt of being pregnant. I would dream of laying the palm of my hand across my stomach, touching base with the life that grew within me. I dreamt I would practice Yoga with braided hair, peaceful and serene. I dreamt of a taut belly, firm from the life within. I would imagine myself in Maternity clothes, lace edged and softly draping against my belly. I would dream of laying in bed with Mark, his ear to my womb, our child kicking at his ear.

In reality, none of that happened. I look back, and I remember the first night I thought that perhaps, my musings over having a child weren't just musings.

Mark and I were at a bar in downtown Ybor city, Tampa. It was a chilly November evening. I had worn a scarf I had just crocheted. We drank dark, imported beer in goblets, ate wood fired pizza, and enjoyed some strange puppet-rock show.

We stood, me in front, Mark right behind, and as the music thrummed and flowed loud and undeniable, I guided his large and warm hands to my belly, to where our baby was. As I tingled and glowed with love, beer and music, a connection strong and sure was made as we swayed together by my guiding.

Later, as we sat in the car to drive home, I turned to him, and not for the first time, talked about having our child.

I was terrified when I found out I was expecting. I was afraid of change, of my ability to be a Mother, of circumstances. As the weeks went by, only a dear friend and her Husband knowing that Mark and I had conceived, I fretted over the future.

At the time, Mark and I lived with his parents. We had been in search of a home of our own for some time, but now our efforts had doubled. Often, it would be just me and our realtor friend going to look at homes together while Mark worked.

As I walked through home after home, I despaired of ever finding any home that I could see us living in, could see us raising a baby in. With our savings now divided between moving and a baby, it truly put a cap on what we could afford, and what was acceptable.

In the meantime, I was stressing over when to tell my co-workers. The news that I was finally having a baby was pretty exciting, and I was dying to tell a friend, but was afraid that someone would tell my childless, career Woman boss.

In the end, I confided in one work friend, knowing she would never tell that I had told her first. Still, I knew that by telling her, my time limit on when I would tell my boss was a ticking time bomb.

Shortly afterwards, I told my boss, trying to hold back the tears, as in a broken voice, I told her I was having a baby. I knew that once I uttered that revelation, there would be endings and beginnings, and it made it all so real, so very real to me. I was afraid.

I hadn't prepared myself for the coming of a baby, even if I was a twenty-nine year old married Woman with an established job, and possible career. I had lived the last five years of my life in such a way that I was putting back together all the pieces that fell apart when I fell off the wall. I had lived those years, patching myself back up, thinking that it would be just fine if I did not ever have a baby. It was a lie, of course. I wouldn't have been just fine, but I had lied to myself for so long, and so much, that I had begun to believe it.

The news that I was expecting leaked slowly, as I was able to tell anyone I wished in my own way, in my own time. This helped tremendously in staving the flow of anxiety I was feeling.

I didn't have morning sickness to the point of actually having to vomit, but I felt quite a bit of emotion that I was able to keep in check. The exhaustion helped to keep me from flying off the walls.

I spent a lot of my pregnancy trying not to flaunt the fact that I was pregnant, not talking too much about it, for myself and for my work life. I staved off buying Maternity clothes for as long as possible. I tried to keep up with the new demands my body was making, and had trouble keeping up.

Pregnancy was not at all what I had imagined it to be.

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