Well, it happened. I "popped." That is a word that has been used in reference to my stomach at least a dozen times in the past week, almost always accompanied by how "cute" I look. Guess how much I love this new commentary? About as much as I've enjoyed the previous 30 weeks of it! If only comments about my poppin' body had replaced the dreaded "how do you feel?" inquiry, I might be more patient. Unfortunately, people now ask it with increased frequency AND urgency. I have wholly given in to the grumpy pregnant persona I have cultivated, and I do not even make excuses anymore when I snap back, "I feel tired of that question, please stop asking." A few moments ago I stood in a hallway, flanked on three sides by three sweet coworkers taking turns talking about how damn cute I look today and how pop-y I am, and I yelled into the fray of it, "STOP! NO MORE BODY COMMENTS!" To which they sort of chuckled in an "oh, that's Elizabeth for you" kind of way. To my dismay, people are EMBRACING my spiteful attitude, sort of in the way you love a curmudgeonly grandpa who says inappropriate things that you somehow find endearing. "Well, that's grandpa for you. He can't help it, he's old. Isn't he adorable?" Which, for the record, is the last thing grandpa wants you to think of him.
In other pregnancy news, Mae continues to be right on target after her initial dip below average: I measured 30 cm at my 30 week appointment. I also found out I'm allowed to opt out of gestational diabetes testing, which I did. I have zero of the signs or symptoms and I hate the "one size fits all" Western medicine approach to pregnancy, so heck yeah, count me out! I also opted out of all the repeat blood work since the first round was perfect, my hemoglobin count at 30 weeks was excellent, and my insurance sucks. I'd much rather put those hundreds of dollars toward my chiropractor and a massage or two.
Here are a few milestones from the past two weeks: I can't see my feet when I look straight down. Mae is big enough and kicking hard enough that I can sometimes see my stomach move; last night I was reading and had my hands resting on my belly, and she jolted the whole book which made me laugh. I am swelling for the first time and can't wear my wedding rings anymore (it goes on easy in the morning but taking it off at night is a challenge, and I've decided that's not a fight worth fighting). Sometimes I throw up for no reason, because the Relaxin hormone makes it hard for my gag reflex to keep anything down. My bellybutton is still an "innie," though!
I wrote the first half of this post on Tuesday morning, and now it's Thursday and I'm starting to come to terms with how I will exist in a country that just elected a misogynist, racist xenophobe as its next president. I know people who voted for him, and I know that many people voted for him despite and not because of these qualities. Still, it's a lot to swallow. Instead of my daughter possibly being born on the inauguration day of the first female president, her birth will now eternally be linked to the rise of power of a man who brags about sexual assaulting women, and of millions of Americans who now feel entitled to act on every hateful impulse they may have. On Tuesday night and all day Wednesday I wept, apologizing over and over to my unborn baby girl for what awaits her on the outside. I wondered if I should have shared my own sexual assault stories (yes, it has happened to me more than once) with people I knew might vote for him. Would it have made a difference if I could show the very real impact of the rape culture we live in, many of us blindly because millions of women like me remain silent? Is that the kind of example I want to set for my daughter, a "grin and bear it" and "don't say unpleasant things" role model? But I did stay silent, and I maybe didn't do very much else to help my candidate get elected because, like most Americans, I was sure the election was in the bag. Now I have shut down, incapable of processing the cabinet he will appoint, the Supreme Court justice(s) he will nominate, the progressive work he will undo.
I understand that this is a pregnancy website, not a liberal/progressive site, and as such the readership is likely mixed. I don't think of myself as an elitist - I work with low-income people and I live in a rural area with a mixed political and cultural population that I love and embrace - and I understand that he won because our nation is deeply troubled by the status quo. I know not everyone who voted for him will do hateful, racist things, the kinds of things we've all seen all over our social media accounts for two days that horrify most decent people. However, I can't write this week's blog entry and not talk about the impact the election is having and will continue to have on my pregnancy. I'm deeply depressed. I feel impotent and terrified for the national and global implications. People say it will be okay, but it might not be. I can't stop thinking about that. And I also feel very guilty that this depression is impacting Mae; how could it not?
So that's where I am. Very pregnant, very scared, and very sad.
*The political views expressed in this post belong to the author and are not a representation of Lamaze International, as we do not maintain a political endorsement of any presidential candidate or party.