I am more pregnant. The foetus has transformed from a theoretical thing that I knew was in there making me vomit, but otherwise had few meaningful interactions with, to a squirmy little trampoline star with definite opinions on when I should get up in the morning. Sporty like its Daddy.
The ancient Greeks believed in the quickening – a moment in foetal development when the soul arrives. I sort of believe in the quickening now too. There’s someone there. It’s a weird, amazing, never-felt-before feeling.
Interestingly, right up until 1869, the Catholic Church, whose theology was influenced by the Greeks through Aquinas and Augustine, also thought there was a quickening or “ensoulment,” when the mother began to feel the foetus move. Then it changed up its mind and decided that the soul is there from conception.*
My, my grandma, what an early ensoulment doctrine you have. All the better to oppress you with, my dear.
Anyways, it’s a pretty neat coincidence that the period of the quickening is also the time when in our technological wonder of a modern world you can make out the shape of the foetus’s genitals on an ultrasound and start buying the correctly coloured balloons for your gender reveal party!
I will get to the gender reveal presently, but first I thought you might all like to be updated on my boobs and other important facets of the second trimester pregnancy experience.
While the fact remains that only one of my boobs is bigger, it has recently become even more beautiful. Now, a delicate trellis of veins marbles down from my neck to feed it, rendering it weighty with blood yet perky as shit. If it were socially acceptable to take it out and show it to people, I would certainly do so. However, as society has all sorts of stupid boob rules, I must content myself with occasionally popping it out of my tank top to stare at it in private.
But the second trimester of pregnancy is not all about having one perfect boob. It is also supposed to be the happy, horny, energetic trimester. It is true that I am very happy, what with the excellent situation where soon I get to be someone’s Mum. Just typing that made me well up. I’m blaming the hormones. I can’t wait to be someone’s Mum though. I can’t wait to meet the person whose Mum I am to be. And the welling up became crying. Happy crying. Happy, yes. Perhaps emotional in general?
Horny, not really. Just a normal amount of horny. Not age 20 studying for your university exams on a sunny day in a sweaty library crammed with people in summer clothes horny. Not falling for each other we haven’t left the bedroom for three months our friends all think we’re dead horny. Just regular my boyfriend’s a ride and I love him but we both have jobs horny.**
Energetic, no. Pregnancy is a lot of naps. Now, I have always been a pretty big fan of naps. After work naps. Afternoon naps. Caffeine naps. Disco naps. Sexy naps. I never met a nap I didn’t like. While pregnancy naps are an exciting new edition to my accomplished napping repertoire, it must also be said that there are rather of lot of them. And my napping to doing shit ratio currently skews heavily towards pillows. That’s okay. Slowing down’s okay. BUT MY CAREEEEEER WHAT ABOUT MY CAREEEEEER. Shut up. Slowing down’s okay.
Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The gender reveal! And the gender reveal is that gender is a socially conditioned and experienced identity and you can’t discern it from a tiny blurry penis or vagina*** on an ultrasound screen! I don’t know whether this wee human is going to be masculine or feminine any more than I know its sexuality or whether it likes The Smiths. I do hope it likes The Smiths though.
Yes, I’m a frightful pedant. I’m sorry. I know that the words sex and gender are colloquially used interchangeably in this context, and what you really want to know is the sex. And the sex is: A SURPRISE.
There are two reasons I kept the sex a surprise. First: feminism. I can’t protect the tiny person from the approaching tsunami of pink and blue gendered bullshit forever, but I can ensure that it doesn’t arrive into a world of colour-coded expectations for who it should be and how it should behave. Second: selfishness. I like to wait til Christmas to open my Christmas presents.
My Frenchman would have liked to know the sex. I suggested that he could find out and not tell me, but this didn’t seem like a workable solution given the fact that he couldn’t even keep the restaurant he booked for my birthday secret.
He had a dream that the baby was born and I still wasn’t letting anyone know the sex. I’d even hired a man to come in and clandestinely change the nappies. But my Frenchman was in the room during a nappy change and saw a little penis peeing a helicopter circle in the air, then thought “oh no – I’m not supposed to know!”
This is what stress dreams look like when you’re having a baby with the international face of female body hair.
In the end, my Frenchman kept his eyes open and I kept my eyes closed during the genital part of the ultrasound. He says he’s not sure what he saw. So maybe he is good at keeping secrets after all.
For my part, I’m just enjoying this crazy new phase of feeling the foetus kicking and bouncing. When all’s said and done, a baby’s a baby, and so long as ours is healthy, has ten fingers and ten toes, and is a girl, I will be perfectly happy.
*The medical discovery that the majority of zygotes never make it to the traditional quickening stage didn’t seem to put the Church off its souls at fertilization theory. Apparently God has a lot of souls and doesn’t mind wasting a rake of them by popping them into microscopic organisms that don’t even implant. Maybe a highly populated alien world exploded in a far off galaxy and there’s a lot of souls to spare or something. I don’t know how these things work.
**I suppose more horny, comparatively speaking, than the first trimester, when you gag every time you try to brush your teeth and aren’t capable of putting anything more substantive than a toothbrush in your mouth.
***Vulva, yes, vulva, sorry other feminists.