I Feel Like A Woman...

I debated over whether to use that pithy lyric as a post heading because I may receive hate-mail for putting Shania in your head. Loathe all pop-country with a vengeance. But...

Yes, I am feeling my womanliness a great deal lately--both in terms of the biological hand nature has dealt me (yes, I continue to bloat ripen and swell bloom) and in terms of the gender role society has alloted me.

Wait, don't go! This is not one of those theoretical wanker rants. Just a bitch session amongst us ladies (and enlightened males) OK?

I've been horribly negligent of all things bloggy lately, and this is probably compounding how I am feeling. Stressed, overworked, blobby and pissy. One of the main reasons I've been absent is because work has taken every last ounce of my energy lately, and even though a good blog can restore the spirits, so can a comatoze evening in front of Battlestar Galactica 2.5 on big Fuck-Off Television (and if you are *not* watching BG, you crazy).

I spent the main chunk of last week in Illinois at a conference/workshop that took up a great deal of my time and energy over the last month. I won't bore you with the details, except to say this was one of those meetings with a demographic that is largely white and male and overeducated.

And, it seems, ad hoc experts in all things prenatal....

Let me tell you, there is nothing like going to a reception populated by several dozen complete strangers, and realizing that the only other woman at the thing is the head-honcho's wife, and she's busy making sure everyone has napkins. She offers me a glass of wine, and as I think "uhm, HELL YES." and demurely request a "small glass" a nasal voice from behind inquires "Are you allowed??? Phnar-phnar-phnar"

It was one of those moments where you find yourself in the face of a complete stranger, fumbling over "uh, it's the last trimester, and uh..." "HAHAHA! I'm European! HAHAHAH" and "well, studies show....blah blah" and so forth. When instead what you should really say is "Mind your own fucking business, and go ask your colleague if all that cheese dip is good for his prostate health."

And I wish I could say that this incident was an isolated one. But judging by the number of times my choice of beverage or food was questioned, you'd think I must have made short work of poisoning my unborn right now. That Coke after lunch, the coffee at the 8am meeting, the tuna croissant. Poison I am telling you. I could now provide you with a litany of rationalizations--that I am not really a Coke drinker, but it was that or drooling slack-jawed at my seat; that I drink coffee in the morning, but not again in the day; that I eat tuna, but avoid it more than once or twice a week... I do drink wine now and then, not in the first trimester, and always with gobs of food to absorb it--But fuck that shit... It's my business.

One thing I love about being pregnant is how complete strangers can show support and kindness towards you. I am always delighted to tell the cashier, if she asks, when the baby's due and if it's my first. That it's a boy, and yes, he has a brother. I don't even mind if a fellow gal pats me on the tummy, and makes a kind remark about how I am glowing (even though I am not). In fact, at this conference, I met some women that I'd corresponded with via email, and their first response was to give me a hug and delight in my bump. T'was a nice and "bondy" moment.

One thing I loathe about pregnancy, and this is part and parcel with the above, is how you become a form of public property. How the control over your body becomes a collective process, in which everyone, it seems, has a stake. Or at least, people seem much more comfortable with voicing opinions about how you should, or should not, be behaving right now. For the most part I can let these comments roll of my back--I am pretty secure in myself, and am acutely aware that although the lore surrounding pregnancy might often have all the trappings of medical fact, it ain't necessarily so...

Sushi? If it's good enough for Japanese women, it's good enough for me. Fresh mozzarella and brie? (see above on "being European"). But that's me. I also know that for some women, peace of mind stems from knowing that they've done everything by the book--and I respect that. Whatever works for you, baby. And while I might like a bit of cabernet now and then, I do draw the line at getting good and lubed (see how restrained I am?) This latter fact might indeed account for some of my pissiness of late.

I fear this cavalier attitude will induce a nice bout of botchilism and a hospital stay in the next few weeks. And I'll be eating my words. But on the other hand, there's a whole cornucopia of angst to be had over "what might happen" that are related to things you can't control. And I don't have the energy to get worked up about them (much). No, instead these days I apparently prefer to direct my energies by losing it over the stupidest of things.

(like bursting into tears because the dishwasher's not been emptied, or spending the morning frantically looking for my sewing machine manual, because apparently I cannot even thread the fucking needle without poring over the "how-to" guide. Did I mention I am making curtains right now? Well, I have made 1 curtain of 6. Only more evidence of my insanity. This project was selected as a relaxing respite; but I now realize that the very act of measuring, cutting, and pinning the things to the right size on the floor while I lumber and sway on hands and knees is an athletic feat in itself. But 5 more are coming, so help me....)

So yeah, you could say I am a real gas to be around right now. It's nothing that 4 or 5 margaritas wouldn't help out, but for now I must channel my stress into the simple meditative pleasures of sewing. Or bitching. Online. Yeah, that'll work.


Kristen said...

I drank a glass of wine every day my last 2 weeks of my pregnancy. And let me tell you, I ate some tuna fish they other day.

Seriously, it's criminal. Zapping my turkey and then watching as 14 people try to grab my belly and ask me how much weight I've gained.

It will soon be over, my friend. :)

SUEB0B said...

I try to be conscious about this and keep my yap shut, since I don't really know the first thing about pregnancy. I ask questions or make open-ended comments instead so the woman, who I know is excited, can talk...I certainly don't ask about weight gain...or hemmoroids LOL.

Anonymous said...

It was coffee for me. I was ready to come to blows with anyone standing between me and my coffee when I was pregnant.

Kelly said...

I avoided caffeine the first trimester and a half, but after that I pretty much had caffeine every day. It was my one indulgence and provided a lot of comfort during times that were anything but. granted, my son has five tails now, but whatever. ;-)

virtualredhead said...

Ah, the third-trimester illogical sewing bent. Been there, sister. It's a symptom just like swollen ankles. Ya can't help it--don't try.

Anonymous said...

Oh, for the love of margaritas. I'm 7 months pregnant, and OFTEN I could have killed for a margarita..or a rum runner....or a Mike's Hard Lemonade. I have indulged in a glass of wine only VERY occasionally, but you're so right about how people assume a pregnant woman is public property! Just a few more weeks left to endure this...then we get to endure everyone's opinion on how to raise our children...oh, will it ever end??!!

Mom101 said...


I was like you, only sans sushi. I ate all the turkey and fresh mozarella I wanted. then again, it wasn't much considering all I really wanted were donuts and Frosted Flakes.

I was once called on ordering a coke in a coffee shop and my response was, (now imagine this sweetly and wide-eyed): "Well, when my top-rated high-risk OB told me that two caffeinated beverages a day was fine, she didn't mention anything about getting a second opinion from a coffee shop clerk. But I'll be sure to ask her about that at my next appointment."

Boy that felt good.

Her Bad Mother said...

By the end of my pregnancy, I was *this* close to quaffing 3 martinis back to back. Just to flush the kid out.

It is probably the worst thing about pregnancy, after back pain and heartburn - the publicness of it. And nothing to do but grin and bear it and BITCH. Bitch LOUD.

And know that you and I will have big fat drinks sometime after it's over.

Mocha said...

Geez. I would never presume to tell you about what to put in your mouth just because you're pregnant. I'm not that uncouth.

It's not above me not to ask to lick your belly, though. In front of all those colleagues, too. Drip chocolate all over your belly and yell, "Come on, everybody! Choco-GingaJoy! Woo hoo!"

Because you know what? It's virtually the same thing.

Tina C. said...

caffeine is no longer on the no-no list anyway.

although i somtimes enjoyed the extra attention (it was during those comments and conversations when i first started to suspect that there was an international mom-club and i was about to be a member of it), i tried to see the comments and attention as caring and concern for the new addition to the human family. however, i actually got very few comments from strangers about my diet ('cause i did my drinking behing closed doors...)

virtualredhead said...


hee hee hee hee.

mothergoosemouse said...

Just the fact that you were able to write about one of the things you love about pregnancy speaks volumes. Frankly, I was a real beyotch to people who dared criticize what I was or wasn't doing (especially the co-worker who was absolutely AGHAST that I didn't have a changing table).

I partook in the occasional beverage - including an entire pint of beer in a smoky bar over the holidays with my oldest and dearest friend - and ate ahi tuna at the dinner where Kyle and I celebrated Tacy's flawless amnio results.

Being pregnant - no matter how much misery you're in - is no picnic. That's why I usually restrict my comments to: "I hope you're feeling as well as can be expected."

Kevin Charnas said...

Ummm...yeah, listen, do you REALLY think that you should be sewing curtains right now? I mean, you are prego and well... I'M KIDDING!! I'M KIDDING!!! HA!
People always have their fucking two cents, don't they? Fuckwads.

Just next time, say something like, "Look, after doing all that blow last week, all the heroine the week before, plus I'm just crawling with STD's, I don't think that this little bit of wine is going to do much harm, do you?"

ozma said...

The world is not the pregnant woman's friend. God, the people who would tell me their labor stories. And then proceed to tell me all about the nightmare of having children. All the way up to the teen years.

I was more scared of the baby part than the labor part so I especially resent the baby horror stories since it was so nice to have a baby! But I didn't get to realize that thanks to all these people who would not shut up. If she was 3 weeks and I said "she doesn't cry that much" they'd say "wait until she's six weeks!"

Oh, my God. What is wrong with me? I'm complaining and I'm not even pregnant. Joy, I'm so happy to hear you are eating brie and sushi and drinking wine. (What? We are not supposed to drink coffee?!? AY!) I missed those things horrendously when I was pregnant and so--you are inspiring me for my next pregnancy. And I remember the crying over nothing. And the feeling of deep weariness. I'm so glad you have TV and brie.

cinnamon gurl said...

I so hear you about the public property while pregnant thing. I mostly enjoyed the attention until a coworker said, "Awww. You've got the waddle." It was around then that I decided to go on mat leave a bit early.

What surprised me was that the public property thing didn't end when the baby was born. Now I get parenting advice and endless endless questions and comments assuming he sleeps through the night (this is a sore point for me). Then the advice really pours in about how to get him to sleep through the night.

Anyways, I came here from Her Bad Mother. I liked your comment.

lildb said...

oh, miss sugar doll. rarrrr.

hey. I've got the solution. *snaps fingers*

I'll drink 'em for you! and, hey! looka there - I'm already on number three. so. we're all winning.

did I spell that right? see? number three's working! huzzah.

hang in there, sister sledge. and if all else fails, drink the curtains.

sunshine scribe said...

It's not like you were snorting coke or smoking a big cigar?!?

I loved the stranger-support and kindness that comes along with being pregnant but the judgers ... I could have done without them. YOu have every right to bitch my friend.