A Scattering of Reflections on Family and Pregnancy

Woman pregnancy month by month.
Image via Wikipedia

Because Christian’s on vacation, and because we have a long day planned, and because I have an assignment due that isn’t ready, today I’m going to share some random thoughts on pregnancy and family.

  • I’m in that in-between stage of pregnancy. My clothes don’t really fit anymore, but I’m not big enough for maternity. In fact, if you look at me you probably would just think I was gaining weight, not a baby.
  • Nighttime is especially troublesome. I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m having so much more trouble finding something to wear at night than in previous pregnancies. I finally figured it out: I can’t walk around the house in XL T-shirts anymore. I have to wear shorts. Always before, the kids were (read that: Alex was) so small that I didn’t really have to worry about modesty. That ship has passed.
  • When I’m pregnant, I dream vividly about the baby. Sometimes nightmares, sometimes transcendent moments, but mostly neutral. This morning, right before waking, I dreamed that I could not get the baby to nurse. In one of those irrational dream sequences, the baby was Nicholas, at Nicholas’s size, but newborn. He would latch but wasn’t interested in actually nursing. Not a nightmare, exactly, just stressful.
  • Sometimes I feel like I overuse the words “noise” and “chaos,” and people tune me out. My parents came for dinner on Father’s Day. My parents sat side by side on the far side of the table, and the normal mayhem ensued: Alex roaring at Nicholas, who was by turns screaming and giggling; “Wa-wa! Wa-wa!” and “Euh! Euh! Euh!” and silverware clattering to the floor… Finally my dad’s shoulders began to shake. He tried to hide the laughter for a minute, but then he turned to Mom and said, “I can’t believe all this noise. It was never this noisy in our house!” Aha! Vindication!
  • Remember Grandma, who reacted to pregnancy by saying, “Oh, dear”? I couldn’t understand her reaction, because she has four kids too. But I never realized that hers are all four years apart. So by the time the next came along, the last one was already trailing along afterDaddy, learning the ropes of the dairy farm. No wonder she fusses at me, with my 6, 4, 2 and minus-six months!
  • Speaking of lots of kids…I’ll close with this. In conversation with others, I always feel that I have to apologize for being pregnant again. I think of neighbors and colleagues who like me, but really struggle to reconcile why such a nice person would be so irresponsible as to have four kids. I can see the work going on in their heads, the effort to wrap their brains around it, turn it from something appalling (which they truly think it is) into something halfway justified. And the same argument always comes up, in one form or another: “Well, stupid (reactionary) (uneducated) people are having kids, so I guess we’d better have kids, too, so They don’t outnumber us.” (Remember that I live in the middle of two groups that pull far to the left and right, and I’m constantly resisting the pull of one extreme or the other. None of the right-leaning people I know see anything noteworthy about having four children. Only those who lean left.) I understand the logic of such a statement, but I can’t help wincing at the utilitarian way of referring to children.

Okay, time to get to work on my assignment. Have a great day!