Every week I subject my mother and a few other friends and family members to a truly terrible cell phone bump selfie with a riveting caption like “THE BUMP IS GROWING,” or “LOOK AT MY STOMACH.” And every week, my near and dear text back the appropriate gushing responses, emojis, etc. to assure me that the poorly lit, half-body, awkward selfies I send to document this baby are appreciated. But for you all I’m trying to keep it a respectable once a month affair. Mostly because I have no clue how to bump pose, and if someone would like to send me a non-awkward guide to posing with a growing stomach, I would be eternally grateful. Especially now that I have crossed the threshold from “kinda fat/maybe a heavy drinker” to “probably pregnant.” Of course, while this is a nice clarification, I still get just a tad insulted when people can tell I’m pregnant without my declaration, an emotion even my friend at 33 weeks confesses that she still feels. What’s that stranger??? You NOTICED that I have a tiny basketball under my shirt, that I am wearing jeans with a [fantastic] elastic panel, that I am strutting about with my hand knowingly on my stomach? HOW DARE YOU. But don’t think I’ve just put on weight either. No, please go on assuming that I am a size 4 supermodel in retirement, constantly resorting to Yoga and juice cleanses to maintain my trim physique. Yes I know that I was never those things even before growing a human in my person, but that is how I, in my hormonal majesty, have decided you must see me. DO NOT CROSS ME ON THIS ONE.
25 weeks! Or 5.83 months if you do the math, which I did, just to be certain. For months we just shrugged off any baby preparation duties because we had so long… and now I am counting weekends and thinking, what? How are there only 15 weeks left? We need to register with the hospital! And find a pediatrician! And move boxes out of his room! And write 2 chapters of my dissertation as promised! And pick a name that isn’t Gustave Felix, the joking name my brother’s fiancé suggested…. that has become how I refer to this bump. This is a problem. It’s also how parents end up naming their children horrible things.
I started feeling him move a couple weeks ago, much later than many expectant moms due to my placenta placement. [I can’t believe I just put the word placenta on this blog. Gross. But true!] Three hard thumps as I was falling asleep… followed by days of a repeat sensation every time I tried to rest, leading to at least one crying bout of exhaustion in the midst of my excitement. But last Friday, he finally started kicking enough for James to feel it, and I can’t even tell you how excited that made me. No one explained to me the strangely isolating aspect of pregnancy. James is as excited and supportive as any spouse on the planet could possibly be…. but this is still happening in my body. And until that bump grows bigger and he can feel and see more, it is easy to feel like it is just my thing, my baby, my wonderful burden. Being pregnant has given me a whole new sympathy for the women who find themselves expecting without a support network, without people to get those grainy cell phone pics and send back all the heart eye emojis, to ship them boxes of maternity clothes, to enthusiastically listen to reports about indigestion and lotion rituals. To remind them that this is a human, a whole soul, a life of promise, even when it felt like nothing at all. Being pregnant has made me more pro-life than ever… and also given me new compassion and pain for women who are going through this truly alone.
But enough pregnant rambling. Suffice to say that baby boy is growing strong and we are growing more attached every day. Gustave Felix (MUST FIND A REAL NAME), you’re a winner. Now please, stop kicking my bladder when I go running.