When I was pregnant with Lila, I ate like something out of Fit Pregnancy magazine. Vegetables, fruits, fish, flax … and certainly no flour or sugar. My biggest vice was the occasional handful of prunes, which I craved constantly but only indulged in now and then due to the high sugar content. In addition to my nutritional regime, I did an hour a day of prenatal yoga up until about the eighth month of pregnancy, when a sports-related knee injury forced me to switch to vigorous daily walks instead. In preparation for the birth, I did enough kegel exercises to crush walnuts with my vagina if the occasion demanded. I practiced my breathing. At the suggestion of Dr. Sears’ The Birth Book, I prepared for the pain – oh sorry, sensation – of childbirth by holding ice cubes in my hands for minutes on end while simultaneously meditating on the fact that the sharp stabbing feeling in my frozen hands was really sort of funny if I was willing to see it that way.
To the woman I was back then, I submit my total admiration. I also say to her, from my heart, Fuck you. I have gained more weight at sixth months than I did in the whole first pregnancy. The sight, smell and even idea of vegetables is so abhorrent to me that I have not touched them in five months. Same for pretty much everything except bread, macaroni and pure sugar products. I have been gripped by mind-bending cravings for sweets. I have purchased cakes with no intention of sharing them. I have learned the difference between a black tie cupcake and a white tie cupcake. And, I have discovered that vegan baked goods pretty much suck, no matter what anyone says. I have gone to both 7/11 and Safeway on the same day. I have purchased sour ribbons. When this baby is finally born, he will have skittles for eyes and a little gingerbread body. I can only hope that there is enough useful matter left in my body from my more virtuous days for him to develop a brain. He is certainly not getting the omega 3’s from the gummy bears.
Today there is no yoga, and my most vigorous walks are from the bed to the bathroom. The simple act of walking across the room leaves me totally gasping for air. In my fourth month, I discovered that kneeling on the ground caused pain to bloom down the length of my right leg. My orthopedist cheerfully informed me that I have prepatellar bursitis, or “housemaid’s knee,” from the pregnancy and extra weight. As if I wasn’t already reeling from the weight comment, he then suggested with a straight face that I go to Home Depot and buy carpenter’s knee pads to wear around the house. Between the knee and my instantly wheezy, winded response to movement of any kind, I have not exercised in months.
Did I mention the heartburn? Yeah, that’s new.
I am trying very hard to deal with this new version of myself, and coming up short. I would like to say that I’m confident that this is just a stage and every pregnancy is different, blah blah blah but the truth is that I am terrified that this is just the new me. I have tried talking to Boyd about it, but he is no help; he just sort of pats me and says, “Ohhhhh Honey…” but doesn’t disagree. To be fair, I might be a little scared myself if I were in his shoes. I guess this falls into the category of “for worse.” I really look forward to being back in “for better.”