Four. Months. Pregnant.
The kind of thing that has only ever seemed possible for other people.
The entire pregnancy/babyhaving thing has always been someone else’s game. I’ve never been more than a spectator while other people glowed and grew round, piloted their way through dramatic birth narratives, waxed eloquent over infant feces, and promptly snatched their offspring back from my ignorant arms the moment the wee bairn began to fuss. I could not possibly appreciate the complexity of Parenting (v. tr.); this walled-off subculture was off limits to the uninitiated. In the world of people wedded to their parental status, I was always the bridesmaid.
So you’d think that my ticket into this exclusive club would at least be exciting. And yet, four months along, I am curiously disengaged from the process. I have not yet begun to photograph My Abdomen This Week. I leaf halfheartedly through the Mayo Clinic Pregnancy Guide, wondering how many more bags of cherries I have left before gestational diabetes kicks in. The “Your Pregnancy This Week” emails, originally a source of boundless fascination, now provide such mundane insights as “Your baby is growing a layer of brown fat” or “a coat of fine, downy hair” or “waxy vernix” or whatever Mayhem is secreting this week. (The primary activity of a second-trimester fetus appears to be the development of a new skin coating on a weekly basis. Also, urinating into the amniotic fluid. And then inhaling it. You go, girl.)
It surprises me, how unenthusiastic I am.
It surprises me, how unenthusiastic in general I’ve become about things that have previously mattered a great deal to me.
Nothing else has changed in my life, which is fireworks-awesome as ever: my job remains incredible and challenging with tons of responsibility, my singing continues to lead to performance opportunities that are the stuff of imagination, and I am ridiculously happy with my magnificent husband, happier than anyone has ever seen me before. So that’s all good. No complaints.
But, lately, no excitement either.
About a month ago, everyone told me, I would emerge from the first-trimester slump. For the first time in months I would have my energy back, stop throwing up, and feel as terrific as I ever had. I suppose this happened, sort of: I don’t feel nearly as narcoleptic as I did in April and May, and I never threw up anyway. I’m still tired, though. I don’t have trouble staying awake past 8pm the way I used to, but even now, I can fall asleep more or less on cue.
It’s like I’ve been smoking apathy. I drift into work and am instantly distracted; I frog-march myself to rehearsal and spend much of it watching the clock; and, most alarming, I’ve become almost a stranger in my own kitchen. I think I’ve cooked dinner once in the past two months. I’ve practically quit baking altogether. The few times I’ve made myself do it, the result has been some of the most uninspired, lackluster work product yet to emerge from my oven. I can barely even keep house: yesterday I lifted the lid on a stockpot sitting on my stovetop, only to find that (a) it contained five-day-old plain spaghetti which (b) had actually gone off and was starting to reek.
This is ridiculous. My kitchen is my psychological headquarters. Food does not rot on my stovetop. Normally, it barely has time to gather dust in my pantry. Where has my industry gone? Aren’t pregnant women supposed to be nesting dervishes? By all accounts I should be at the top of my game right now, jet-propelled by the joyous hormones of mid-pregnancy. Instead, I wouldn’t mind burrowing into a nice snug little tunnel somewhere and estivating.
My superhero husband has a solution: he’s planning our babymoon, a week in the United Kingdom over Fourth of July. I’m still small enough that I can comfortably crash on someone’s couch, and we’ve never gone wrong exploring unfamiliar Gothic cathedrals. Maybe what I need is a vacation.
Or maybe as soon as I can feel Mayhem kick, I’ll quicken too.