July whimpers to a close. 33 weeks.
The literal litmus test of procreating: go hang out in a 'Babies R Us' for 45 minutes. It hammers home like nothing else what is in store for you after the kid slips out of its in utero bachelor apartment and into your arms. Watch parenting at its worst – children being allowed to wander free from their strollers and mothers, never to be seen again. Watch toddlers hula hoop the toilet seat of a portable potty as Mom and Dad pull everything off the shelf and stand hands on hips, blocking an aisle deciding which model to get. Watch the 14-year-old white trash couple play with the stuffed animals like they’re intended for them, and not their impending child (!) and try to not weep for their lost youth. Listen to the assorted menagerie noises of squealing, crying, things falling, things breaking, musical toys bleating out their last whimper as the batteries die. Stand in front of a wall of breastfeeding paraphernalia and resist the urge to say out loud, “Ok, boobs, it’s your call. Whaddya want?”
If you can survive this chunk of your day, forever and irretrievably lost, feel free to bring forth a little being into this world. For potential Dads, the only good news is you get to use that scan gun again when you do the baby registry. If you’re anything like Nuv, that was the sole joy he found in doing our wedding registry – shooting barcodes, then me, then himself.
A Craigslist ad I could have placed this month:
Do you need somebody to show up and be emotionally devastated at a moment’s notice? Over nothing at all? I am capable of generating tears at a startling rate, length of time and capacity. Again, no impetus is needed. Ideally suited for funeral extra work, or if you have a fat girl crying fetish.
Moving around is suddenly more delicately purposeful. There is no willy nilly jump-up-to-do-that-thing-I-forgot-to-do anymore. It is slow and deliberate, and always accompanied by an involuntary moan or grunt that generates from your guts, and flies out whether what you’re doing takes 2% or 99% bodily effort. It’s getting into the car “OOooOOmph,” it’s getting up from the couch, “Yeeargh,” it’s collapsing into bed, “Swuuuurgh.” It’s a constant soundtrack of sloth and girth and it’s unavoidable. I am a beatbox of gross.
The kid’s movements have changed too. It is now head down (I can only imagine it being perpetually in a break dance headspin motion), bum and shoulders curled up, making each movement count, aka mildly hurt, as it is stretching the boundaries of it’s home. With 7 weeks to go I have no idea where it’s going to spread to next. My back? Up and into my arms? Arms that in pictures look like clogged white vacuum hoses. And I get asked why I don’t have more pictures of myself. Because I look bad. I know you’re technically sorta allowed to look bloated and malformed when you’re pregnant, but the few pictures that have been taken of me, that I preview on the screen of a digital camera, have been horrific. Instant “DELETES!” I’m ok with the weight gain in my stomach where the bubs is, but the blobby everywhere else jumps out in 24 karat graphic detail in pictures. So, why don't I have ay pictures posted? I can’t imagine unselfconsciously posing for prenatal glamour shots that I don’t then immediately light on fire when I see them.
We took a Prenatal In A Day class at the hospital. In the basement where the autopsies are done. On a beautiful Saturday. From 9am – 4:30 pm. Every dude in that room was fucking DONE come 2 pm. Our instructor was one of those lovely women that you’re sure has never heard the word “cunt,” and doesn’t know movies like “Faces of Death” exist or that porn is free on the internet now. She was so sweet and so genuinely excited for all of us, we had to forgive her for pronouncing centimeter, “sontimeter.” A lot. All day.
I learned a lot that day. Made me re-think a lot of things I thought I knew. And Nuv was the volunteer for a C-Section. So awesome. We watched a birth on DVD, complete with the unexpectedly gigantic sea anemone, aka placenta, oozing out afterwards. We also watched a completely charming DVD about breastfeeding, that while filled with grossly oversized naked mom boobs, also had images I can't get out of my head: the bubs being held skin to skin on Mom's bare chest and then just letting them wiggle their way down, feeling with their cheeks and mouth, all the way down to the nipple. Little heads bobbing, mouths agape, like little monkeys. Moms really just have to be there, and the kid will get the lay of the land figured out and have food sorted in no time. I left the classroom with so many stresses alleviated, and the feeling that maybe, just maybe, I can do this.