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

02 April, 2009

The Timeshare

I spent a while the other day peering at my body in the mirror.

It feels thick and unfamiliar to me. Not just in the now actually visible curve of belly, the immensity of the left breast rendered heavy enough to point downwards, the contusion-colored nipples, the smattering of acne between my breasts. Just ... different.

It's not wrong. This is what a body that is doing what I am doing right now looks like. This solidity, this embodiment, this thing is what a mother-to-be looks like. I know this, and I still wonder where the body came from that my head is sitting on right now.

I am simultaneously more invested and centered in my own physicality than I have ever been in my life and an observer of that physicality from the outside.

I know genderqueer women who found that their comfort with the concept of womanhood and being a woman was cemented by pregnancy. I know other people who found that pregnancy was the last straw in their toleration of the concept of womanhood, who then came out as trans or established themselves as firmly other-gendered.

I think I was expecting one of those, that I might learn womanhood from my child, or that I might finally kick off the last expectations that I belonged there. And yet I can't be surprised to find that the experience is really neither for me. Everything on an angle, here.

It just feels that it's ... not my turn in the timeshare. Right now, the body is working on constructing a life that currently wants to kick me in the bladder (thanks, kid). I chose the process, I went in with my eyes open, and now I'm a passenger until it comes time to do something else with the body.

My husband mentioned in passing talking about sex-life post-birth at some point, and there's a part of me that laughed, because I feel rooted and earthy and unsexual right now. I have the wrong body at the moment, you'll have to wait until it's my turn in the saddle again. Which isn't to say that I'm not capable of sexual response, it's just ... hard to get connected up to a sense of body that isn't otherwise occupied. I've spent a few evenings curled up against one of the fellows contemplating that if I were me right now, I'd probably be interested in sex, but right now, it's a ... distant sort of theoretical possibility, most of the time.

Who is the woman in the mirror, the one with my face?

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Only very tangentially on topic, but while I'm here, just wanted to recommend the books Spiritual Midwifery (by Ina May Gaskin) and The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth (by Henci Goer).

Spiritual Midwifery isn't everyone's cup of tea as it is impressively hippy, but it's got loads of lovely stories from women who enjoyed the process of giving birth, so can be inspiring if that's the kind of place you're coming from (or would like to be). It's not really about spirituality as some people use the term, it is about childbirth in quite practical and real ways, but it treats birth as primarily a wonderful and amazing natural process, and only secondarily as a source of medical anxiety, so I think that's what they mean by having "spiritual" in the book's title.

Ina May's written some other books since too - which may be better, but I haven't seen them.

The Henci Goer one is a critical summary of lots of proper scientific research, very useful for reference if you end up being offered any medical interventions.

Just wanted to mention them in case they were useful - disregard if not to your taste...