Archive for the 'pregnancy' Category

stolen

Someone stole my body from me. The whole thing, all of my pieces. I think I’m locked up somewhere dark now.

I know, because when I look down at myself, I don’t see me. I see all of the things I should be instead of being myself.

I’ve been stealthily, expertly, completely replaced.

Aliens?

I noticed it the other day, smoothing cream over my legs. Well, these legs, anyway. The ones that attach there, at the base of the torso. I was rubbing the moisturizer into them and I had this image of my head of other women smoothing other, probably more expensive, moisturizer into probably more expensive legs. Better legs. Legs that are longer and lither and tanner and sleeker. Legs that get described in books, lovingly, sometimes almost flippantly, like, of course. Of course, if she’s here, important enough to get a mention; she has these long, fabulous legs.

“I love your short legs,” said Bear, randomly, and I was insulted. “Short” was an insulting word for a second, and then I realized that he was being sweet, and he was serious, somehow, and he had, after all, started off with the word “love.” But “love” and “short” and “legs” do not work together in my mind, because I’ve memorized instinctively all the right proportions and measurements (even though I suck at numbers) and I know what is worth loving.

But I don’t know what is worth loving. Because I am worth loving.

I feel like I have an expert eye for beauty. It’s because I’m an artist, I’ve told myself. I have always painted. But really, it’s because I’m a girl.

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Kate on May 23rd 2013 in beauty, body, feminism, pregnancy

start working on feeling beautiful today! feel beautiful by summer!

It seems like one Harvard professor or another in exceedingly blue, alarmingly stiff jeans is always coming out with a pop psych book about happiness and how misunderstood it is.

(source)

Apparently, people make a lot of the same mistakes about happiness over and over. We keep thinking that we have to work really hard to get to it, and do certain tricky things to capture it, sort of like that scene in Avatar, where they have to bond with the giant flying dinosaur things, and they’re just as likely to get killed, because you have to really earn that bond—not just any Na’vi can fly! But man, when you stick your hair tentacle into your bird dinosaur’s tendril thing and make that platonic, yet soulmate-y connection—there is NOTHING else like that shit. So worth it.

My point is, we expect happiness to be hard. But (apparently) it isn’t really. And instead of fighting and waiting for it, we should probably just work on recognizing where it’s already sneaking around in the shadows of our current lives, like a little smiley cat burglar.

I think it’s like that with beauty and self-acceptance, too. Continue Reading »

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Kate on May 20th 2013 in beauty, body, pregnancy

I don’t want to analyze my parents anymore

I was thinking about therapy the other day. My therapist and I have drifted apart over the past six months or so. We had been doing phone sessions, which was great because it allowed me to eat while talking to her, and also load the dishwasher. But eventually, even those became complicated, with her new job schedule and my relentless morning sickness. And, without any formal farewell, we became unhooked and slipped apart.

The dishes have suffered. I’ve been trying to decide if I should make an effort. If I should reach out to her, or find a new therapist.

It’s often hard to explain to myself exactly why I maybe should, because therapy is often vague like that. I used to get annoyed at listening to my own problems. And then I’d have to talk about that. Which is awkward. The whole thing is awkward. Once my therapist said to me, laughing, “Kate, you overthink everything!” I liked her for that.

But when I think about therapy now, the part that frustrates me is really more about storytelling than anything else. Actually, a friend of mine who is a successful storyteller, like, as a thing, not just as an expression, said something about how in therapy she feels aware of the things she has to leave out to tell a certain story about her life. There are all of these contradictory, complicating details. There are all these details that are really the beginning of a totally different story or interpretation.

(source)

The truth is, we all need to tell ourselves stories about our lives all the time. It keeps things manageable. We get this sense that we have some idea of who we are. We sort out characteristics and assemble something that comfortingly resembles a personality. People, like dogs and chimps and probably caterpillars, too, like the reassurance of identifiable patterns. We pat ourselves on the back for being a person who consistently hates the taste of licorice—it’s a clue! Have you ever notice how proud people sometimes seem of their little weirdnesses? Oh, I NEVER wear periwinkle! It makes me nervous about buying people gifts, because what if I am forgetting one of their major quirks? What if I get them something in periwinkle by accident?

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the pregnant boobs post

What’s Happening To My Body Book For Girls was very clear about the stages of breast development. There are five, and the last one, in the illustrations, is very complete-looking. I was pretty excited about getting there. When I read the book, I was twelve, and my body was full of secret promise. I might grow up to be a supermodel! I sometimes sketched myself as the adult I imagined I’d be. In these sketches, I had long, straight pale hair, even though my current hair was tangled and dark. It just seemed like things would be really different then.

But after I went through puberty, things…weren’t. Where were my breasts? I had been promised some breasts! God clearly owed me a couple, in exchange for the raging period that menaced my favorite white pants and the horrifyingly uncool world of extra-thick sanitary pads. Instead, God, or perhaps it was the boob fairy, passed me by and awarded a magnificently extravagant pair to my best friend, who had until then resembled a delicate blond pixie herself. Now she was alluring and irresistible to boys.

(is this the boob fairy? source)

“So,” said a boy I had a crush on at camp, after we’d escaped together into the night to sit by the moonlit river and share our teenaged souls, “are your boobs, like, really little? They look kinda little.”

Well, then.

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Kate on May 13th 2013 in being different, body, pregnancy

bad at being a “natural” mother

“She was always a natural mother, even when she was a girl,” said a relative, describing one of Bear’s cousins. Everyone agreed. I agreed, too, knowing her a little. I could see it.

Some people are natural mothers. They get down on the floor with other people’s kids, and they know just what to say. They like kids, naturally. They have a certain ease, an automatic knowledge, a comfort with their own bodies that allows them to be silly in all the right ways, at the right moments.

(source)

My face still feels awkward to me, from just behind it, where I live, even though I’ve been wearing it for so long. I catch myself thinking, “Am I making the right expression?” I think this is what it means to be awkward—to think like that. Even if it doesn’t show. I know it doesn’t always show. I know plenty of people don’t think I’m awkward, actually, but it doesn’t even matter, because I am. Those girls and women who have quick, gigantic smiles and who touch everyone with friendly effortlessness have always seemed gifted and a little magical to me. I think I associate that with being a natural mother.

No one would describe me as a natural mother. (Except Bear, who is loyal like that.)

What bothers me a lot right now about being pregnant is that there’s a chance I’m not that interested in children. And it’s almost definitely true that I’m not good with them. Especially not really little ones. Often, I forget to even notice them.

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Kate on April 29th 2013 in fear, life, motherhood, pregnancy

why “get your body back” is BS

Sandal giveaway winner results at the bottom!

 

Well, of course, someone had to take some photos of me at a party, wearing my favorite dress (should I just stop wearing the clothes I love to events where there might photos taken?), bulky, lopsided, unfortunately proportioned, and my pregnant beauty bubble, so to awkwardly speak, was popped.

Shit.

No matter how many times I tell myself patiently, firmly, “NO. Don’t pay attention, the photo is lying!” there’s that part of my mind that goes “But this is the truth! THE TERRIBLE TRUTH IN A RANDOM, IMPERSONAL UNIVERSE WITHOUT A GOD.” My new tactic is better, I think. I tell myself, “So what? So what if I’m ugly?” And that is always more helpful. But at that particular moment there had been much talk of beautiful women, much instant evaluation around me of women as either pretty or dismissible, and it seemed as though it did matter, at least enough. Because even if it’s out of sheer laziness or habit or nothing important or just in passing, people seem to talk about the way women look first, and constantly, and always.

Anyway. I had been previously feeling glorious in all my pregnant majesty—belly outthrust, butt and thighs cushioning, the breasts, well, you know, they never cooperate, but whatever. But I had been liking how my new bigness feels essential, necessary, and full of purpose. I am carrying a baby human. I am holding the trump card. Kiss my goddamn pregnant belly, Victoria’s Secret. I don’t know. Something like that.

But the frightening thing is that somehow, some of the same obnoxious rules from before seem to apply. There is no escape.

(it’s a little like being trapped in a maze sometimes. source)

Within the world of women talking about being pregnant, there is a lot of discussion about gaining too much weight, about gaining it in the “wrong” places, and especially, about getting all of our bodies back, after.

This is very important, I’ve learned. The goal is to reclaim the former body as soon as is humanly possible. The magazines are all about it—not that I’m reading them, but I see headlines because I can’t just close my eyes in the checkout line. And it’s all over the internet, too. Tips and regimens and lists of exercises and rules to live by that will allow us to spring back, practically unaffected, pure, clean, tight as virgins.

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Kate on April 8th 2013 in beauty, body, fear, pregnancy

writer with baby

I am too scared to go to a mommy group.

I signed up for Park Slope Parents and joined a “birth club,” and endless email threads spool out along the length of my laptop screen as people write back and forth and back and forth, planning their next meet-up. And then they write to each other afterward to say “it was so amazing to meet you all!! All forty of you!! And your wonderful hubbies!” And I am still cowering in my apartment, afraid to step outside because I might get run over by a seriously jacked up stroller. Those things are so technologically advanced now—they’re like transformers. Some of them are probably voice activated. You can fit your whole life in one, if you can only master the mechanics, like an organist, always toeing pedals as your hands move busily above.

(It’s totally a stroller)

My mom and I went to Babies R Us and looked at the things that babies are supposed to have. Fleets of bouncy seats with dangling, jangling things attached,  high cloth walls around play sets that will educate your child from birth to college while you’re in the other room, living your life, and hulking herds of gleaming, multi-compartmented strollers. I panicked and bought a stuffed giraffe. I couldn’t face the handlebar innovation. I couldn’t face any of it. I felt suddenly like I needed to sit down, so I feigned round ligament pain.

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Kate on March 28th 2013 in family, pregnancy