Such a Fickle Monkey

Now the Rage Monkey is taking their sweet time while we’re filled with anxiety.

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Well, I’m 36 weeks pregnant and still counting. A little over three weeks ago, all the medical professionals and most of our friends and family were convinced that we’d have a baby out in the world by now. But nooooo. If my preterm labor has taught me anything–other than I have a shocking lack of modesty and an uncanny ability to remain snarky in the hospital–it’s that the Rage Monkey is a little too much like their mother already. This little monkey will do things on THEIR time and ONLY their time when they’re damn well ready! No sooner and no later. After all, as my mother’s first child, I was 16 days early and then kept her in labor for hours… so, like mother, like monkey.

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Well, That Was Fun…

… said no pregnant woman ever.

This week went nothing the way it was supposed to. Starting Sunday, we were supposed to enjoy a couple of nights with our best friends from the northeast, Will and Dottie, who were making a detour to see us after attending a wedding in South Carolina. Then, the rest of the week, John and I were supposed to be super productive, what with his tax deadline on October 15 and my having an overdue essay revision and rapidly approaching application deadlines for this next academic job cycle. We were going to put away more baby clothes (thank you, Avery and Charlie!), buy the few remaining things on our baby registry, maybe finally buy myself a couple nursing bras, maybe have another date night this weekend… but other than Will and Dottie visiting, absolutely nothing went as planned or as hoped for. Except for maybe stopping the preterm labor.

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Two More Months

It seems appropriate to write a new post two months after my last one when there are only two months left in this pregnancy. It’s been a busy couple of months, too.

An old nightlight that I’ve kept over the years. I also have the baby blanket my grandmamá made years before I was born and the cradle my mother used for me. I’ll post a picture of it next time.

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Dear John

But not THAT kind of “Dear John”

I began writing this while I sat in the Manchester International Airport, anxious to get on the plane that would take me home to you. It’s been a long time since I wrote you a love letter (as opposed to a loving note in a card), and this medium seemed appropriate this time around–a sort of broadcasting of what your love means to me on your 34th birthday, the year of so many changes. So here it goes. 

I never knew how to love until I met you, and as we both know, often I didn’t make it easy because loving and being loved, truly, requires an opening of the self to vulnerability and uncertainty, to reward but also to the risk of pain and loss. By 18 when we met, I was already a professional at safeguarding my heart, using people here and there as playthings that would eventually lose my interest. I had never put much thought into my “perfect man/woman,” and I had certainly never wanted to get married–I rolled my eyes so hard when, in middle school, one of my best friends wanted to draw her friends in their future wedding dresses. 

But then you happened. And you didn’t walk into my life. I stumbled into yours, as you sat on the floor of the Tallahassee Mall, casually leaning up against the wall of a restaurant that has long since gone out of business. I can still see your blue board shorts, well-worn tie-dye tshirt with a peace sign and read “Make Love Not War,” Birkenstocks, tattered visor, and short buzz cut. Your tanned arms were stretched out as you balanced them on your bent knees, head tilted back in relaxation while you waited for me and your best friend to arrive to see a movie we had yet to choose. (Unfaithful was an awkward choice in hindsight. Hahaha.)

“Shit, shit, shit,” I thought. “I’m not going to get away from this one easily.”

And I never wanted to get away. I knew that I loved you within two weeks of us dating. I knew before you asked that there was no way I’d let you go without trying the long distance thing when I went away for college. I knew before we reconciled that I didn’t want to lose you after our first big argument around month 7 of our relationship. I knew I’d never find anyone more special than you when I confessed that I wanted to get a PhD, which would derail our original plans after I finished my MA. Your response upon my laying it all out–that you’d have to follow me not just to the PhD program but to wherever a job turned up afterwards–still makes me cry with disbelief that we found each other. 

“That’s okay. I’ll follow you. They need accountants everywhere,” you said. 

I don’t think you appreciate how rare that reaction is. I know that had I been in your shoes, I couldn’t have done it–the same way I know that I’d make a terrible military spouse unless I was the one in the military. 

But more than anything I know that I would not be this open to love had it not been for you. You cracked the wall or thawed the heart or something. You threatened to pull the car over when I wouldn’t communicate; you followed me from room to room when I was upset; you hugged me and waited for me to speak; you gave me room when I needed it, but never let it go; you dragged me out of myself, kicking and screaming, longing to remain locked away where no one could hurt me. But no one could know me either. 

I’d like to think I’ve done something similar for you, but you taught me the most important parts about love: to love is to have emotional courage in leaping into the abyss and to trust that it won’t simply swallow me whole. It is a relinquishing of the ego and pride to connect with another on a profound level, to seek understanding and knowledge of another Self’s inner life, a life filled with its own desires, aversions, dreams, and fears. Until I had learned all of this from you, I had never really loved. 

And it is because of you, and only you, that I step into parenthood with open arms and an open heart, daring the world to crush it. 

Feliz cumpleaños. Te amo hasta el cielo y las estrellas para siempre, mi Juanito. 

On Courage

“Having courage does not mean we are unafraid. Having courage and showing courage mean we face our fears. We are able to say, I have fallen, but I will get up.” – Maya Angelou

Pregnant women are no strangers to courage. No matter what the outcome of a pregnancy is, the woman faced with it is brave and courageous. Deciding to have a child after never wanting one takes courage. Deciding to have an abortion, a scary enough procedure without hateful protesters threatening women outside of clinics, takes courage. Deciding to try to get pregnant in the face of terrible odds because of infertility takes courage. Deciding to give a child up for adoption takes courage. Deciding to get pregnant again after multiple traumatizing miscarriages takes courage. Even just being an average healthy person deciding to carry a pregnancy to term takes courage because anything can happen to anyone. Women still die from childbirth, and babies still die before being born. The partners, family, and friends who stand by these women also carry with them their own kind of bravery and courage–this whole “creating life” endeavor is filled with uncertainty and fear, which means it requires courage to pursue.

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White Privilege: A Tale of Two Forms

First him, then me.

Stella and the Rage Monkey had a moment today so while this post/rant is not pregnancy-specific, the burning ire that fueled me in the interaction I’m about to relate must be somewhat due to the little Rage Monkey. If not, well, it’s just entirely Stella and I have nowhere else to blog this… and it was simply too long for a Facebook post.

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Body Anxiety

… or lack thereof…

img_1415One of the things that being pregnant does is lead you to an array of online and print pieces talking about all things pregnancy, as well as hearing about all your family and friends’ experiences, ranging from what kept them alive during the first trimester to what they felt most comfortable wearing late in their third trimester. One of the things that I wasn’t expecting, however, was the overwhelming amount of body anxiety–and anxiety about having body anxiety–that I’ve encountered.

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“But You’ll be a Great Mom!”

As I mentioned in a post earlier, it took me a few years to work through some issues I had surrounding motherhood. It started with what I thought was a pregnancy scare (but ultimately wasn’t), but it forced me to really think things through that I’d only thought about abstractly before: Did I actually want to be a parent? If so, did I want to have my own child or adopt? What was I willing to compromise for my partner, who has known he wanted to be a father since high school? Parenthood is not something I would enter into lightly, especially since I’d never wanted kids, and so my epic journey of self-reflection and -discovery began.

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Today’s Food Diary

I’m so tired of thinking about food.

Instead of prepping for class, I thought I’d write a short list of all the food I plan on eating today because this is just crazy. My lunch bag was heavier than my work bag, which contains a myriad of things but especially my Old English notebook, textbook, grading, pen pouch, Boss headphones, and other miscellaneous things that fall to the bottom of one’s teaching bag. Like I say on the homepage of this blog, pregnancy is fucking weird.

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Uhtceare, “Dawn-Sorrow”

Remembering the first

Today marks exactly nine weeks into this pregnancy, which also marks the exact moment that I miscarried in my first pregnancy. In my mind, that makes this day the perfect time to finally write about that experience with all the joy, excitement, stress, sorrow, and trauma that that time period held for me. So break out your tissues because, if you’re like me, this one’s going to be a tear-jerker. Also, it’s long…

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