At Home, Arlington, Massachusetts
It's become so hard to write. Not because there isn't anything to write about, but because there is too much to write about. Every day is filled with so much to process, so much to try to understand. Most days I just don't know where to begin.
Christmas was both a very good and a very strange time. For some reason a lot of people seem to think that it's particularly special to be pregnant at Christmas. This is so bizarre to me. Why would it be more special to be pregnant at Christmas than at any other time of the year? I guess the insinuation is that somehow it brings you closer to Mary's experience. That I understand. But shouldn't pregnancy bring any woman at any time closer to Mary's experience and the mystery of the incarnation? Christmas is simply a yearly reminder of what we should know to be true year round. The whole idea that it's more special to be pregnant at Christmas just feels to me like part of our romanticization of maternity.
Being home while pregnant was also weird, but in a totally different way. It felt similar to the first time I stayed in my parents' house after getting married. It was a marked reminder of the changes that happen in life – the dreams of an adolescent Hannah about marriage and family are no longer dreams, but reality. After marriage the physical presence of this man in my childhood bedroom marked change in ways I could touch and smell. With pregnancy, my own physical space within my parents' home is changing. I'm not just bringing another body into this space, but my body itself no longer exists the same way. I literally no longer move around the house in the same way I once did and that will intensify once this baby is born. My very movement is now marked by another and the space I inhabit changes as I change.
I had my first "stranger touches the belly" experience over Christmas. It was awkward. It was after church and I was catching up with an old friend. Her brother, who I've never met, came over and we all started chatting about the baby. He asked me if people touch my belly and as he asked, he reached over and touched it himself. I don't think he even thought about what he was doing, but it was quite a shocker.
The belly is definitely taking on a life of its own. Baby V moves around all night long. It seriously is like she's having a party in there. Sometimes I wake up and she is thudding against the walls of my uterus. Not kicking, not punching – full body slamming. I love her so much.
The aches and pains are definitely on the rise, too. Driving ten hours to Pittsburgh was a beast. Everything ached when we arrived and it took a few days for my muscles to loosen up again. I've started getting this pain in my left butt cheek, and my lower abdomen gets sore. Sometimes it seems like the baby is balled up in one area of my uterus, either down low or the side I'm sleeping on and then it hurts. I move to my back and she seems to move to a more central area and the relief is wonderful. We have three more months to go, so I can only imagine her love of curling up right on my bladder is only a foretaste of the discomfort due to arrive when she's so big there is nowhere else for her to go. I probably need to be doing more stretching, and I definitely need to be walking more. I tried to dance at Debbie's wedding and that was telling. Everything was so tight I could only make it through a song or two before needing to sit down for a break.
I just can't wait to meet this little girl. Every time I think about holding her and laughing with her, smiling into her eyes, I feel like I have a high school crush all over again. We started registering for baby items over Christmas and that was the worst. I hated just about everything having to do with deciphering and picking out things we want for the baby. There is just so much crap in the world to buy for a baby. Even now I can feel my blood pressure rise thinking about the baby registry. But when I think about the baby itself, I don't feel anxious. I know there is so much that I could be anxious about, but all I want to do is hug her. It's hard to feel anxious and afraid when you just can't stop thinking about meeting the person you've been feeling inside of you for months.
(Whitney Waller, "Pregnant.")
About the Project
This is a very personal project. It tracks my growth and development as I journeyed toward motherhood over the recent years. It doesn't document every experience I had, and probably neglects my more joyful and peaceful moments in the frenzy of trying to communicate my fears, anxieties, and doubts. If you are a friend or loved one, please do not let anything you read here overshadow what you know of me personally. If you are a stranger, please remember that a living and flawed person stands behind these words. To all my guests here, please understand these are not political statements and try to extend me grace, even as I share my failures and foibles - I have repented of much of what I share. I don't share this journal as an exemplar, but rather out of the desire to share my hope that entrance to motherhood does not need to be a fearful thing - despite the very real fears I have fought against. Motherhood is simply a part of life and one through which I am discovering more of myself and my God.