I’m Very Pregnant (Yer Very Wha?)

I’m very pregnant. Very. In case you think I am exaggerating, here is a photo of me looking as if a bomb disposal unit placed me on a pier in the wilderness lest I explode and take half of Quebec with me.* It’s from three weeks ago, so I am actually even more pregnant now, and, impossibly, I just keep getting pregnanter. Where will this end?

pregnantist

Not only am I very pregnant, but I am also the only person who has ever been pregnant. Clearly, I have watched Children of Men too many times, because with every new stirring in my body I’m like, “Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Onsto me a dribble of nipple goo has been squoozed. Fellow Humans! Stand in still and silent awe of the miracle that is my fecund girth.” I’m sure this stopped being endearing months ago, but I can’t help it. I’m just excited.

My friend Shideh says I should write a blog post about all the terrifying things that happen to your body during pregnancy, that it would help keep the population down and be my contribution to the fight against climate change. But you know what? People can find out about the yeti feet, glucose mayhem, stretchy ribs, dyspnea, acid reflux, excess saliva, anal swabs, moles, skin tags, warts, acne, bloooood, sciatica, ligament pain, pissy knickers, trapped nerves, anemia, vertigo, pukey pukes, constipation, carpal tunnel, leg cramps, braxton hicks, insomnia, discharge tsunamis, migraines, and swollen everything in their own good time. All I’ve got to say on this subject is: some get it easier and some get it harder, but everyone gets some shit and no one gets all the shit, so we’re all cursed, and we’re all jammy bitches, and you can’t deny it’s craic comparing notes.**

The truth is, in spite of the body horror of it all, I’m loving being pregnant, and being very pregnant is my favourite bit. Intellectually speaking, it’s some trip. I reckon continental philosophy would have produced significantly different theories of solipsism if more of its main proponents could’ve been arsed to grow another human inside them. Consider this: there’s a creature that’s a part of my body, and it can recognise my voice and communicate with me even though it doesn’t know that I exist. If I am restless and worried, it is restless too, tossing and turning with me as my head rolls in circles at 2am; thus, from its earliest consciousness, it feels and is affected by the innermost state of another person and, in turn, it affects her innermost state profoundly. The solitude of the womb indeed.

I think my foetus has its own character traits already. Oh, you can accuse me of projection all you like, but I know this baba is a little raver, reliably doing the foetus equivalent of pre-drinking and dancing about a mate’s gaf in the wee small hours of the morning. This is good, because it means that, unlike its mother who always fell asleep first at slumber parties and had malteasers shoved up her nose, my child will be cool: the eyebrow shaver-offer, not the eyebrow shaver-offee.

Physically speaking, pregnancy is also some trip. My body is already different forever. I’m adorned from belly button to thighs with a red wavy pattern that will later turn silver and white, proclaiming until I die that I am fukkin nails. Tattoos are for wusses.

It makes me remember my Mum’s body when I was a little girl – the spidery mesh of pink and purple veins splashed about her knees, the hard skin of her heels, the sturdy soft of her arms, the time rooted, grownupness of it, compared to the untethered newness of me.*** I look down now and I see those same vessels bursting, those same practical callouses, the tone of my twenties relaxed and blurred into a body that’s been lived in –  by me, of course, and now also by someone else. I imagine the child for whom this is who I’ve always been. It’s an impossibly lovely idea.

Sadly, however, my one perfect boob (and I know you’ve all been waiting for an update) is no longer perfect; rather, it is a flat lying swollen fat sack, half flesh, half teat. But I will never forget its ephemeral beauty. Never.

Finally, socially speaking, being pregnant is, well, some trip. I have been temporarily elevated to a sacred and revered class of human. While this does occasionally make me worry that I’m about to be sacrificed to the Aztec Gods, mostly it’s very nice. Compared to Ireland, people in Canada don’t talk to strangers in public all that much. Maybe this is exacerbated in Montreal where you’re never sure what language someone’s going to speak. And I miss it, so I do. The chat. But not this last while, because, suddenly, it’s everywhere, language barriers be damned.

A man in a coffee shop told me about the birth of his daughters, thirty years ago, and it was plain from his misty eyes that it was one of the most profound and important times of his life. A woman on the metro sat next to me and regaled me with tales of her son, an only child, who she called the true man of her life. Creepy, but cute. Just last night, a man saw me dock my city bike, and, shaking his head, proclaimed, “Lady, you are gansta.” This is officially the second best compliment I have ever received. I always suspected I was gansta.

Everyone seems to know it’s my first. (Perhaps the fact that I’m writing in coffee shops looking rested and recently showered proffers a clue.) People are excited for me, and the sight of me about to burst must trigger a delicious nostalgia in them, a sense of the incommunicable things they know that I am about to know, things that they cannot tell me, that soon I won’t need to be told.

Then, there’s the belly guessing. This is where elderly women walk up and say “C’est un gar, ça” (That’s a lad, that) and explain that they know because the bump is forward and pointy or high and round or reminiscent of their own once-was bump which resulted in “un gar” or “une fille” as the case may be (it must be noted that there is little consistency between diviners). They look at me expectantly, so that I can tell them they’re right, and are disappointed when their guess is as good as mine.

It’s an exclusively female pastime, belly guessing, and I had no idea it was so popular. On reflection, however, it has many advantages as a retirement activity: you get to meet new people; spotting the preggos then running to position yourself casually in front of them in line at the pharmacy is good cardio; and it’s a whole lot easier on the wallet than a day at the casino. I am planning to take it up myself in the future.

The foetus is more or less baked. Now we’re just melting the cheese on top and getting it crispy. I’m pretty stoked to meet the baby and, especially, to find out if it’s a French or an Irish.**** But I think I’ll also miss being pregnant. I’ll miss the mind-fuck of it; the sci-fi transmogrification of it; the fact that all it takes to turn a big anonymous city into a little gossipy village is a gansta lady with a bump. It’s been beautiful. Really, it has.

Now to go get the arse torn out of me.

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* To take my masterclass in how to never ever have your eyes open in photos, simply send a cheque for squinty bucks to PO BOX {—X—- —X—}

** Okay, maybe I have one more thing to say actually, by way of advice. If you are preggers and you can’t poo, get off the toilet, hang onto the side of the sink, and squat until you’re peeking (peaking? peeking? peaking?), then get your ass back on the bowl. I do not know why this works, but it does and you are welcome. No I will not tell you how I discovered it. And I realise that this nugget of wisdom (pun absolutely intended) has probably just lost me some regular readers, but I also know that someday somewhere someone, perhaps gently sobbing at 4am alone(ish) in their bathroom, will think “wait, what did that gross internet lady say one time?” And that person will build a shrine to me in gratitude. A flushable shrine.

*** I am worried this description makes my Mum sound not hot, so, just for the record, my Mum is hot.

**** If I’m honest, I’m hoping for an Irish. My Frenchman says he doesn’t care either way, but he came home the other day with a miniature beret and some baby cigarettes, so I think it’s safe to say he wants a French.

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