Updated Dec, 19th 2012
Remember the beginning of summer vacation, when you would look at the months ahead with so much ambition and optimism? I just relived it. Not with months of vacation, but with the beginning of a restricted pregnancy.
First I did the requisite grieving of life and liberty that comes when you are told that your uterus has a trap door (layman's terms) and that you must walk fewer than 20 minutes a day to keep from accidentally ejecting your baby (again, my words not theirs). No lifting over 10 pounds, no stairs, either. For the entire pregnancy.
I live in San Francisco. In a narrow three-story apartment. I used to walk everywhere, and my favorite way to kill a Sunday was to spend so many hours roaming the beach with my dog that we would both need to be hosed down after. So these new restrictions, added to the usual no whiskey, no hot tubs, no campfire smoke pregnancy rules... they stung.
But with no choice in the matter, I tried on a positive outlook, thinking of how much I could grow during these sedentary months. You know, intellectually. Spiritually. Meditation and reading and stuff.
It started so well. I soaked up that beginning-of-school-vacation feeling and the productivity that came with it. I read heady design books. I got through the first chapters of a few books on eastern philosophy. I knitted a first scarf or two and then told friends that I was thinking about knitting scarves for the homeless. (Because thinking about doing nice things for other people counts.) I consumed documentaries like M&Ms. I listened to so many This American Life episodes that I began to worry that my kid would come out thinking Ira Glass's voice was his father's.
Determined to try swimming, where reduced gravity would keep me and baby safe, I took exactly one lesson. Just enough to where I could flop around the senior citizen-filled pool with moves slightly more advanced than the dog paddle. Things were starting to slip.
My favorite line, as my amazing trooper of a husband would get out of bed to take care of his morning chores and mine, was "I'll stay here and take care of the baby." The sedentary lifestyle is habit-forming, you see. I accidentally bought $80 maternity jeggings because I was too tired to take them off in the store. It's mental too -- my documentary watching turned into compulsive viewing of romcoms featuring pregnant women.
As I've neared the end, I've gotten lazy, complacent, and resigned. Just like that end-of-an-ill-spent-summer feeling.
But hey, what better initiation to the first months of parenthood?
I have high ambitions again, with my newborn sensory capabilities memorized and a slew of infant learning games in my bag of tricks. But something tells me, when it's over, I'll be happy just to have made it out the other side.
Previous project info:
"Project Milestone: Share 2-3 ideas for your essay or story for feedback"
1. Something pregnancy related? (I'm seven months along.) I recently posted something like "Accidentally just bought $80 maternity jeggings because I was too tired to take them off in the store." on Facebook and it got a big response. I feel like this could be a great topic because there are so many bizarre and absurd things about pregnancy that you don't ever hear about. And I think there's humor in the implied imagery (bulbousness! slow-moving, lethargic bulbousness) and in the terminology.
2. Something about the culture shock between suburban/midwestern life and coastal/urban life? I recently had 6 familiy members from various parts of the suburban south/midwest visit at the same time. I was so excited to show off my beautiful, world-class city (San Francisco) to them, but it didn't exactly work out that way. (I'm from the "middle" and while I love my dirty, noisy city, I fully remember the things that make Texas/Kansas nice, too.) So I think it could be fun to write a good-natured take on the differences between the lifestyles in a "I saw:______ They saw:_______" format describing their visit to my city. I find it really difficult not to be to-the-detail honest in my storytelling, but I figure I could break out of that by drawing not just on their visit but all the weirdest things I've ever seen in SF, which could help "heighten" it like Grace suggested, while making it really relatable.