Friday, October 05, 2007
I like to think that I walk with the regal gait of the Divine Feminine these days, swaying gracefully left and right to accomodate my growing womb, gently rocking its contents into a tranquil state of fetal well-being.
but let's face it - I waddle. Like a big-ass duck. Even before I was pregnant I waddled, owing to my shall-we-say-generous physique. The only difference these days is that I'm hauling around a seven-pound sack of parasite, which not only requires some maneuvering but also makes my sciatica sing like Renata Tebaldi. so I'm slow and cumbersome. and yesterday afternoon, tired and cranky.
There's one intersection I have to negotiate on the about-half-mile walk home. it's a dangerous one, even with the helpful Mr. Walk light. Cars do NOT pay attention to pedestrians at this intersection. they blast through red lights, cut right-on-red corners, basically cruise on through like they own the road with no regard for people crossing the street. but that's people in cars for you. Usually I don't let it get to me.
So I trundle across the road (think of the oboe (?) solo in Peter and the Wolf, to get a good grasp of my pace and attitude as I drag my ass across the street, or whatever slow-and-heavy piece you like). But I'm halfway down the sidewalk on the other side of the street, nearly home, when this white car pulls up beside me, and a woman leans her head out the window, and shouts out "YOU REALLY SHOULD LEARN HOW TO WALK FASTER!" and drives away.
my only regret is that I was unable to get it together enough even to administer the most basic double-one-fingered-salute. But I was so confused! what did she think she was going to accomplish by that? Was it an insult, or a Public Service Announcement? Did she think I was going to immediately start bouncing down the sidewalk with a song in my heart and a spring in my step?
geez, I thought - must be nice to have a CAR, that you can DRIVE AROUND IN, and HOLLER THINGS AT RANDOM STRANGERS WHO ARE WALKING HOME AFTER TAKING THE FUCKING BUS A LONG DAY AT THE OFFICE AND CAN'T YOU SEE I'M FUCKING PREGNANT?
but boy, did that get me to thinking.
Lack of car notwithstanding, the White American Pregnant Lady is, in many respects, one of the most privileged of personages. Especially if she's an adult and not a teenager. Especially if she's lucky enough to have a job indoors with no heavy lifting or exposure to environmental toxins. Especially if she's lucky enough to have a husband. Especially if her family is cool with having a baby.
People cut me all kinds of slack all the time. I rarely have to lift anything, or be on time for anything, or really actually DO anything. and people give me food, and stuff, and then say "no, I'm glad to do it - you're pregnant!" I don't know how people actually feel about me, but they sure do treat me like I'm special and delicate and worthy of making a tremendous fuss over.
But I'd say I'm in about the nth-fraction-of-a-percentage that gets this preferential treatment, globally speaking.
and it's bullshit. Women get pregnant ALL THE DAMN TIME. and carry on with their lives without a fanfare following them wherever they go. They have to do whatever work they were doing before they got knocked up, carry on bending over sewing machines and pulling up weeds and carrying laundry and mopping up other people's shit and whatever else women do around the world. but somehow I Heidi get to coast for nine months because I'm a Special White Lady Carrying A Special White Baby.
It's not like I'm hauling the Last Hapsburg Prince around with me, or some genetically-modified Experimental Sewwwwwwwwwwwwwwper-Genius. I have every reason to believe that Wolfgang will grow up to be really really ordinary. He'll eat, sleep, shit, puke, grow up, drink, smoke, fuck, and die. He'll be a jerk sometimes and a great guy sometimes, just like everyone else.
if he even makes it out into the world alive. it's not even a baby yet, though the urge to anthropomorphize is (obviously) irresistable.
so where do I get off, snailing my way across the street like that?
Especially if she's lucky enough to have a husband.
of course, by "husband" I mean "supportive male partner, which partnership is sanctioned by law, who does not beat her."
I'd edit if I could get into the edit function.
That person in the car...tsk. She didn't get no learnin' from her mama. She needs a good slap.
well, she got away too fast, being in a car and all.
and yeah, she was a bitch. but a little perspective never hurt anybody. I came away from it quite humbled.
I would be flat astonished if Wolfgang grew up to do anything at all remarkable.
I'll be satisfied if he stays out of juvie.
And please don't extend that to your kid, even in jest, okay?
when did the doctor say you'd be better?
I see what you're saying, but I'm not sure I really believe that I (or the baby) am that much of a special snowflake. I mean, maybe every snowflake is unique, but en masse, it all adds up to just-plain-snow. and it really bothers me for some reason that people are so quick to fetch me and bring me and get me a footstool, when it seems like, worldwidely-speaking, everyone else who's pregnant gets business-as-usual.
or, then again, I could be totally wrong. I don't know much about pregnancy customs worldwide and I could be way off base.
Um, yeah. That.
I don't doubt that there ARE places where it's business as usual, because everyone is so busy trying to find enough to eat that they have no time for coddling. But... that's not universal. There a LOTS of cultures where pregnant women get special food, special time, and special consideration.
really, it's okay. let people bring you stuff. i wish i had someone to bring me stuff. well, my best friend brought me some stuff yesterday, that was nice of him. then he sat there in my apartment and talked to me about his job and how some waitress at the Thai restaurant in our neighborhood had TB for the last three months and was -still working there,- can you imagine, and what's the prognosis with me, anyway? why do i have bronchitis? i bet it's because there's no air in here, you know there's no air circulation in here, right?
he's my best friend, and i love him dearly, which is why i didn't push him out the window. also he brought me stuff.
then i went to the bathroom and horked up some blood. i'm not getting you down at all, am I?
Yeah, i was watching the original Hitchhikers.
besides which, that's how it's -supposed- to be. yeah, there are situations and places where things really, really suck. the point isn't that we suck for our lives not sucking as much as theirs, the motherfucking goddam POINT is, it COULD and SHOULD be BETTER for everyone, and ONE WAY things do NOT get better for other people is by BEATING OURSELVES UP ALL THE GODDAM TIME. IT. DOESN'T. HELP.
and now i'm going to go whine for another three hours or so, and if my neighbors don't like it, tough motherfucking shit.
So consider your pregnancy as an opportunity for others to exhibit courtesy. We don't really have that many opportunities in our day to day lives.
Both my pregnancies were sources of shame to my family, and I was treated accordingly. No shower, no baby gifts, no happiness that a baby was coming. Just disapproval. Why? Because I was poor and I was single.
On the other hand, my (married) sister was thrilled at the perks pregnancy brought her. When she was very far along with her first, she showed me how she could just saunter across the street, jaywalk even, and cars would screech to a halt to accommodate the blessed pregnant lady.
So I really don't see the point in trying to connect a rather obvious example of a person behaving like a damn fool to some larger social consciousness thing where we always have to fall on our sword.
I once rode about 13 miles on a city bus, 8 1/2 months pregnant, and not a single person got up to give me their seat. (I worried about that, too, since I got jiggled quite a lot and couldn't balance well enough to hold on when the bus suddenly
braked) But obviously they thought I was just fat, and they certainly weren't gonna give me their seat.
I don't think I had any idea how fat people were treated until then! But it was a very educational experience!
heh. amber, you know good and well I don't need much of an excuse - if there's a sword within five miles, I'll fall on it. ;)
though I wonder if the thought process I describe in this post is simply an elaborate brain game I played to disguise my sudden spike of hatred for a woman in a car,driving blithely down the road, while I dragged my sciatica along the sidewalk, tired and miserable.
it's a good idea to make sure I don't transfer all my own personal headcake on to the baby, even in jest. One assumes he'll develop deep and complex personal headcake all his own.
nonetheless, a global perspective on pregnancy is healthy, and I should do more research.
kactus - I'm so sorry that people around you were so hosebaggy to you. I guess you find out who your friends really are in situations like that, and get some pretty unpleasant surprises.
maybe that was my problem. how dare I cross the street while fat? heh.
Also, what Belle said.
And while I'm at it, I'm about ready to call for a moratorium on the "not a unique snowflake" nonsense. Almost everyone I see quote that is some jerk who thinks they're Tyler Durden, or wishes they were - i.e., someone who thinks they really are a unique snowflake with a special message to impart, and it's the rest of all y'all who are interchangeable sheep. These also tend to be the kind of geniuses who think the message of Fight Club was that the biggest problem in their lives is IKEA.
Fuck that noise. You are a unique event in the history of the Universe; there will never again be another Antiprincess. She will never again be carrying her first child. Rejoice!
We can psychoanalyze everything we do and point to others who can't take it for granted. Does that mean we don't deserve water when we're thirsty, clothes, housing, etc.?
We can certainly do things like not take the pregnancy parking during the first trimester if we're feeling none the worse. But why NOT take advantage of some spoiling? It's not zero sum. You're not taking it away from some third world woman.
When Wolfie comes out and launches into his first concerto, your opportunity to milk the pampered princess thing is going to fade really fast. There's nothing more our society values than carrying the baby inside us; as moms, we have to be superfantastic perfection to get the pat on the back our hubbies (if we have them) will get for chainging the occasional diaper. For all of us who have passed the princess stage, do us a favor: do it up big.
heh. I don't know, though - those impenetrable directions and impossible-to-pronounce product names sure do keep ME up nights...
thanks, all-a-y'all. maybe I better just lighten up for a few more months. this too shall pass.