So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

20 February, 2009


When I was a very young child, probably around when my brother was a baby, I started accumulating dribs and drabs of information about pregnancy. Very little of it made sense, and very little of it stuck with me, but there's one thing I remember: the concept of amniocentesis terrified me.

It just seemed like a thing of horrors - sucking out someone's insides through a giant needle, what's not to be scared of here? - and somehow I picked up the notion that it was mandatory, that every pregnant woman had to do this. It never occurred to me that people had been having babies for a long, long time before this procedure was even invented, it was just presented as utterly normal, default, part of the medical procedure that goes with this thing.

It wasn't a shock when I realised that nobody was going to force me into this, sort of a gradual dawning of relief. And it gave me this edge of jadedness about the presentation of the pregnancy-as-pathology-requiring-treatment thing in common culture. And I read Suzette Elgin (author, among other things, of The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense) talking about concerns of women and the elderly as constantly medicalised, pathologised, turned into Graeco-Latin terminology, and took that away to chew on.

I am, for various reasons, prone to hypochondria; every pulled muscle in my abdomen at the moment is good for a moment or five of panic before I can kick the analytical self into recognising the sensation. But one of the things that being pregnant has done for me at a gut-deep certainty is make clear that this is a normal thing, not a pathology, not a medical crisis; I may be impaired in some ways from my ordinary functioning, but the process I am going through is a natural one, and not something that I need to panic over, get tested every-which-way, micromanage. I'm achieving a state of calm that has been implausible to me in the past, naming my little freakouts as little freakouts, looking up a few things to check on them, and then letting go and being in this straightforward process of development.

I'm asked at least once every three or four days if we know the baby's sex yet, and I don't know how to explain from inside my head to the world outside that we're not going to any special effort to find out in the first place. This child is my child, whatever the gonads are, and I don't need to build up expectations now to care for the life tucked away under my heart. I don't need to rummage and inspect to find these things out right now. If we find out along the way, we find out along the way, but there's no need to go to special effort.

I've cleared my medical history and concerns so that we have a baseline to know what may be cause for concern, I've got blood tests to do to make sure everything is in order. But I have not been stabbed in the guts with a giant needle, to suck out my insides.

I have a guppy occasionally bouncing off my innards, and last night my husband and I heard the heartbeat for the first time. There is nothing to fear here.


little light said...

There's really nothing I needed more than news this good.

antiprincess said...

how are you feeling today?

Vieva said...

that heartbeat is an amazing sound, isn't it?

I still remember when we did the ultrasound, though - the tech was SO PROUD of finding out it was a boy. There was a little arrow on the picture pointing to the penis.

we were very confused. :)

heartbeat! *squees*

belledame222 said...