Pregnancy hormones are no joke. This much I’ve learned in the past few weeks—as have my co-workers and Heather. There were flashes as far back as our trip to New York, but it’s as though my misanthropy is growing in concert with my belly now, accelerating exponentially in size & power.
|My attitude at a doctor's appointment-- extrapolate.|
My beloved co-worker Chris has the misfortune of being more optimistic about human nature than he really can afford to be. He’s gotten reamed out a couple of times, and I had to make my apologies afterwards. (Seriously, though, don’t ask me what’s in a bag before reading the label.) Chris was very understanding and confessed he’d never dealt with a pregnant woman before. “I haven’t either,” I said, but speculated that perhaps it was a mama-bear instinct manifesting itself. I’m preparing to confront anyone who bullies my child, or doctors who dismiss her sniffles when I think it could be something truly dangerous. I am constantly tempted to follow people who tailgate me to their destination so I can tell them they’re endangering not just me, but my unborn child as well.
My fury, free-floating as it is, found a holiday-time recent target in “Duck Dynasty” defenders, less because it’s on offense to me personally—I mean, who didn’t expect a gun-totin’ Bible-thumper to say homosexuality is a sin?—and more because I’ve begun to see these people as threats to Evie. One of the strange phenomena of being a lesbian in the South is that people will often be friendly on a face-to-face basis, seemingly happy for me and Heather as a couple and as expectant parents, but they’ll quietly maintain views that are extremely unfriendly to gays in general. I feel accepted at work, but I know that my “lifestyle” is not. Or at least not entirely. It makes me crazy to be congratulated so freely by people who would also eagerly vote to keep Heather from adopting our daughter. I told Heather that, when we bring Evie to work for the first time—I’m a misanthrope, but I will want to show her off—I am going to ask everyone who attempts to touch her whether they would vote for marriage equality. No? Then no touchie.
Of course, that doesn’t mean all liberals will be invited to snuggle. I’ve already begun plotting out other excuses to keep strangers, or people I simply don’t like, away. Germ aversion seems to be a trendy option, and of course there’s the old “She cries when strangers hold her” stand-by. Still, I read that, if people make unwelcome attempts to touch my pregnant belly, one option is simply to slap their hands. The article didn’t expand on the recommendation, but I assume that their contention is that people should know better than to massage another person’s body without explicit invitation, so a gentle response is not required. Heather took it upon herself during a Christmas party to guide a fellow party-goer into rubbing my stomach, and she most assuredly heard about it on the drive home. She may have the right to share Evie herself, but the host body is still mine.
One co-worker, whose daughter recently had a baby, attempted to joke with me today, and then stopped, saying he was going to stop messing with me for a while. I said, “Yeah, I’ve been pretty grumpy.” He said, “Oh, I know how that goes. I’ve been through that a few times.” Why can’t everyone follow his lead?
The past few days have been a little bit darker—less of the charming misanthropy and more despair. During our couples counseling session yesterday (I think everyone should be in counseling all the time, especially couples who have babies and hormones to wrangle), I threw up my hands about halfway through, just declaring that I was wrong, Heather was right, and I couldn’t stand to talk about it anymore. Then I wept through the rest of the hour. Monday night, after our first birthing class, I had a similar meltdown, having zero wherewithal to hold a conversation with Heather about, ironically, whether I was unusually sensitive. It wasn’t just grumpiness or impatience, but a genuine feeling of bewilderment and misery, the same kind that presents itself when my non-pregnant depression kicks over its pharmaceutical traces.
This morning, the What To Expect mailing list sent me an e-mail about depression in pregnancy. “Oh, that’s really common. No worries!”