I’ve been eating Harry & David pears like I’ve never had fruit before. It’s probably going to make me super-sick, but… Speaking of which, I definitely threw up all my movie popcorn last Tuesday after seeing “Philomena.” Mainly I was pissed because I felt terrible through the whole movie, then didn’t get it out of my system till we were home. What I’m finding is that I can’t handle anything snug over my belly, or near it, so even unbuttoned jeans are intolerable. I have a generous elastic waist on my skirt today, but it’s got to be rolled down. I don’t understand this late-second-trimester resurgence of nausea, nor, I think, do my co-workers, but the past few weeks have been shaky on that front. My theory is that Evie feels the need to assert herself on holidays, just to remind us she’s in the mix. I got sick on our wedding day and every major occasion since then, so why not New Year’s Eve?
The upside, I guess, is that the expensive pears have stayed down thus far and the accursed popcorn did not. Perhaps my body is just combating the poor nutritional choices I’ve made. And then some.
Much as Heather makes fun of me for bemoaning nausea after early-pregnancy declarations that I would welcome it—declarations which she happily mocked over New Year’s Eve dinner while I tried to breathe through the dry heaves (so sick, in fact, that I forgot to bitch her out for it)—I do recognize the privilege of it. I love that it’s getting hard for me to turn over in bed or get off the couch. I only get to wrangle a baby bump for so long, so I’m going to rub on it and talk to it at every opportunity. (Last night I tried to read to Evie at bedtime, but found that my voice couldn’t match the dry tones of Robertson Davies. I wasn’t going to start her off on misinterpreted literature.) I think I’d be appreciative of pregnancy no matter our experience, but after years of begging the universe for a baby, we’re going to soak this up.
There’s a big part of me that feels like an asshole for being pregnant. I feel such an allegiance to other people who’ve fought, or are fighting, to conceive, that succeeding feels wrong. As giddy as we were when my first insemination worked, there’s a sense in which this pregnancy feels—to me—like a slap in the face to Heather. I remember when other people’s pregnancies felt like a slap in the face to me: when Heather’s sister accidentally got pregnant with her fourth child, for example. There’s a book I came across once, titled something like Every Drunk Teenager; Why Not Me?, and I think that pretty much captures the sentiment.
Obviously fertility has no basis in virtue—terrible people get pregnant, as do good people in terrible marriages and any number of people who can’t afford it or aren’t equipped to be good parents—but I think we all get sucked in by The Secret and its ilk, preaching that thoughts become things. The example they give is that a boy who really wants a new bike can, by imagining that he has it and envisioning himself riding it, by dint of will-power, bring that bike into his possession. This is an alluring theory, except that the (largely unaddressed) flip side suggests that, if you are poor, or handicapped, or your child dies of cancer, it’s probably because you didn’t envision health and wealth with enough fervor and conviction. (In the movie, the guy who assiduously locks his bike is destined to have it stolen because of his negative expectations. Um…) If we had spent more energy envisioning Heather’s swollen belly, would she have gotten pregnant? Did I get pregnant because I spent five sleepy minutes every few nights on visualizations of embryo implantation? Or—or—is it that I’m younger than Heather and have a bigger egg supply to start with, and visualizing had not a whit to do with it?
Still, I pretended that the universe felt we’d “earned” a baby because of how hard we struggled over the past few years, and I guess there’s always temptation to think there’s balance and justice in the world. Maybe it’s only because our thoughts became things that I credit it. I never claimed to be consistent.