(Diary) Week 32: I Fell In Love With You
You don’t want anyone to treat you differently.
You go to great lengths to make sure that people don’t.
You take Zoom calls from your shoulders up instead of meeting people in person.
You post content on social media that’s over a year old.
You wake up and put on sneakers and live out the exact daily routine you’ve done every day for 5+ years, even on the days when you can’t swallow your oatmeal or walk a straight line, because believe it or not!!! you are pregnant.
You wish that you could have hid your pregnancy forever, but you can’t anymore.
Even when you wear a giant winter coat and a bunch of sweaters, people can see through it all.
All of your secrets show, eventually, no matter how hard you try to hide them.
I can tell you’re pregnant, a woman says to you at 5am while you’re walking your dog around the neighborhood. Because now you’re starting to show in your face.
You wonder what the hell that even means?
You wonder why people feel they get some sort of free pass to make outlandish comments about your body when you’re pregnant.
You’re really carrying around your ass, aren’t you?
What, did you put on 50 pounds already?
Do you have a plan for how you’ll loose all this weight when the baby comes?
You wonder if they’d ever say this to a person who wasn’t growing a child inside of them. You know the answer but even so, you respond with niceties.
At week 32, the baby can hear you. You don’t want the baby to listen in on you cursing out a complete stranger with your fake Brooklyn accent that only comes out when you’re pissed.
It’s not that you want this to be your secret forever, it’s just that you feel like it has to be until being pregnant feels real.
It’s been 32 weeks and you don’t believe there’s a baby inside of you. You’re convinced it’s a robot and someone in the distance has hijacked the remote control.
You feel it creep. You watch it slowly move. You wake up at 3am to a left hook, then a right hook, then a jab, jab, cross.
More than anything, you’re scared you’ll never feel like you and this thing inside of you have any sort of relationship.
Connect with your baby once a day, everyone tries to tell you.
But instead, you put off even trying. What’s the point until you get your hands on that damn remote control?
Yet everything, everything, everything, changes the exact moment you fall down.
Your stomach slams the floor.
You try to push yourself up but you know what you just did.
You just crashed and took the baby down with you.
You’re supposed to protect this baby. You’re supposed to do the right thing. You’re supposed to be a mom!
But you’re careless and reckless.
Look at what you have just done?
And all of this happened because of one simple truth:
You didn’t want anyone to treat you differently so you didn’t act pregnant. You do stupid, unreasonable, and unsafe things that no pregnant person should ever do.
You scream in horror:
No, no, no, no, no.
But nobody hears.
You’re at a gym. The music is loud. People see you fall. Everybody hopes you get up.
Eventually, you do and you grab your stomach.
Is the baby okay? What if it isn’t? What the fuck did you just do?
For the first time in 32 weeks, every emotion you’ve tucked away inside of you, pours out on your face.
You know you’re scared. You know that there’s so much that freaks you out about all of this. You know that you and this baby haven’t connected in the way the textbooks say you should have. You know that your entire life is about to change and you’re not ready for it.
But in that moment, as your heart races and your breath quickens, you know something that you didn’t know before.
That you fiercely love this little thing inside of you and you don’t want anything bad to happen to it.
The office secretary tells you to count the kicks for an hour.
The more kicks the better.
Your husband tells you everything will be okay.
I know you didn’t mean for this to happen.
The doctor asks you what you were thinking.
Running in a workout class at 32 weeks?
You tell everyone you’re sorry.
You rub your hands around your belly button.
You ache in disbelief as the fetal monitor gets strapped to your mid-section and you sit still, for hours, in a hospital bed.
The baby is fine.
You got lucky, the doctor says.
And as you toss the hospital gown in the trash, you stare at yourself in the mirror.
Why do you have to learn everything the hard way? Why do you have to make things in your life so uneasy?
You know why.
But you’ll never admit it to anyone else.
It’s not that you’re so scared of everything.
You’re simply just so scared of yourself.
You keep your pinky on your stomach at all times now. You feel your eyes pop open to check for danger at all hours of the night.
I love you so much, you whisper to the tiny little robot, realizing you don’t need a remote control.
Who cares if anyone treats you differently?
You don’t need anything.
You already have exactly what you need.
You have always had it.
You just didn’t know.