Well, That Was Fun…

… said no pregnant woman ever.

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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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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. 

Responding to Inane Pregnancy Article

Really? Is this REALLY the best list you could come up with??

I know that I tend to rant and rave about things that other pregnant women likely suffer through quietly or don’t even see as troubling, and that’s fine. To each, her own. That’s why this is my blog and not someone else’s. I know that I’ve also alluded to the annoying culture surrounding pregnancy (and, I would imagine, parenting) by making snarky comments about the Bump app that I still use because I like a few of the entertaining bits of information that it provides; however, for more biological information, I just resort to my Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy (not that I couldn’t rant about different parts of that book, too, such as the cover of the book). This post, however, is about a very specific article that arrived in my email inbox yesterday morning from the BabyCenter–to be honest, I don’t even remember signing up for this website–because I’d officially hit week 19.

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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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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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Deep Breath, Strong Heart

And there it was.

Until I surpass my ninth week, a lot of the way I think about this pregnancy and therefore what I will end up writing here will have to do with comparing and contrasting this pregnancy with my first. In some ways, they’re very similar, like my sore breasts and blessed lack of morning sickness. In some ways, they’re very different, like my need to eat a whole meal every two hours this time as opposed to my need to drink a lake in one day last time. One striking difference happened last Thursday: my first prenatal checkup.

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So I’m Pregnant… Again…

Second pregnancy, all the rage.

The first time that I found out I was pregnant was a few weeks after Thanksgiving in 2015. My husband John and I had decided to try to conceive the following summer, but combined with missing him after being apart for a week and losing any of my remaining shits to give about the academic job market (which is abysmal and discouraging on the best of days) and finishing my dissertation (which I ended up finishing and graduating that May anyway), well, whoops…

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