Pregnant Life: Boundaries? What Boundaries?

Amy Keyishian
3

Easter Bump
Decorating the Easter "Egg"
I feel awful! Not baby-wise, but everything-else-wise. My lower back is just effed; I have to strengthen it, and find a better place to sit and work (oh! husband just bought me a yoga ball!), and oof, I wish I could buy a new couch. And a new mattress.

Plus, I have a head cold. No big deal normally, but it's flattening me now. I spent Saturday in a terrible state of tired and had one of those passed-out naps that felt like I was grabbing big greedy handfuls of sleep.

I wake most morning with just the slightest bloody nose, which is gross. And my throat! It burns, it's sore, it feels like it's lined with sandpaper. I am trying to figure out how I can get it checked out. Can I ask my OB to give me a culture? Goodness knows she's swabbed me in weirder places. Apparently I kept my husband up half the night with dreadful snoring, which is an interesting change of pace, but totally embarrassing. Time for the super-gross-but-effective neti pot.

My breasts are unbelievably tender, too. This I remember from the first time around. My nipples are changing, getting ready to produce I suppose, and I'm trying to apply the right unguents to keep them from turning into petrified overcoat buttons. Is this TMI? Sorry, I was born without boundaries.

Actually, I think a loss of boundaries is something that happens to a lot of pregnant women. Some have it thrust upon them, and complain that people like to walk up and touch their bellies like they're good-luck Buddhas. (No problem for me. Maybe because I waited so long that I want to show off whenever possible, but I'm happy to have my tummy mauled by strangers on the bus.) Other moms I talk to or read about find themselves so curious about what they're going through, and anxious to see how they measure up or whether they are normal, that they find themselves bursting with nosy questions whenever another swollen belly approaches.

Easter Bump 2
I, Egg
I find myself collecting birth stories like baseball cards or Monopoly houses, furtively gathering them and poring over them, wondering what this birth will be like. How it might be like the first. How it might be different. I can't watch shows like A Baby Story – watching is much too intense, and anyway, what I'm looking for isn't the groaning and pushing; it's the retelling, the reflection that comes with just the tiniest emotional distance.

Memoirs are my friends; last week, as I said, it was Rebecca Walker. This week I devoured Anne Leary's "An Innocent, A Broad," which Penelope loves for its cover ("Beebee!" she says, pointing to my bedside table, aka her old cosleeper) and which I love for its dramatic story of preemie birth and recovery, which mirrors mine in so many ways (she's even married to a standup comic!). There are also the amazing birth stories right here on CafeMom, so amazingly unique and yet similar – every one of them profound, every one of them earth-shaking, yet every one of them as normal as can be.

This business of babying – it really is the ultimate sisterhood, for better and for worse. It's true that people feel like they can tell me their labor and delivery stories just because my stomach is poking into their messenger bags. It's also true that I'm pretty much guaranteed to want to hear every painful detail. And it's true that I get my own curious, sworn-to-secrecy emails from friends thinking about spawning, worried about fertility, excited because they're in the early stages of pregnancy and have no-one else to tell, reaching out to feel my stomach through words in my in-box. I really cannot get enough, is that weird? I love processing, discussing, wondering aloud, reassuring, advising, cheering on.

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