I recently noticed that pregnancy is an excuse for everything. As a pregnant woman, I can get away with nearly anything because who would yell at a woman toting a beach ball under her shirt? Heartless bastards, that's who. For a while, I went from being way too stubborn about getting help to automatically assuming it will be granted without me asking. This happened after thirty-five weeks of doing my own work without getting help from anyone near me. I was determined to not let pregnancy claim my work ethic and become an excuse for everything. Sadly, when I finally gave in, I gave in hard.
True, that my pregnancy makes most things difficult that would otherwise be simple for normal people. For instance, bending is something I will only attempt to do if sexy times are involved. Otherwise, it doesn’t happen. The dog’s bowls are suddenly too far on the floor. The chip that I dropped under my desk three weeks ago is still there, most likely forming an uprising with the various live cultures growing off it. Anything with shoe laces is strictly forbidden unless I am sitting with my feet elevated for application, and I have about four packages that needed a post office last week.
These things are all legitimate problems that require assistance in most cases. Anytime I try to bend, my baby gets angry. A foot ends up in a ribcage, and a head rams so far into my bladder, I can’t tell if the warm feelings I get are from her touch or the fact that I probably just urinated on myself. I am full term, and should note that these issues didn’t really haunt me until around thirty-five weeks. Dignity has been a snowball rolling down Mount Everest since then, and it is quickly gaining speed.
You don’t really learn to appreciate the ease of getting out of bed until you start to resemble a turtle on its shell. When the dog starts staring at you with curious humor, as if you’re playing a game, and your husband whips out the iPhone to snap a video before helping you, it becomes time to take matters into your own hands. So I simply wait until he putters off to the kitchen with the dog, and then I silently (save for a few grunts) take my three minutes of maneuvering and proudly walk into the kitchen as if I just beat Jillian Michaels at kickboxing.
It all started when I eventually embraced being incapable of performing most basic functions and just let people help me. It happened slowly at first, with much persistence by bystanders to give me a hand. I would still proudly stand on the subway and politely decline if someone offered a seat. I would get up from my comfortable spot on the couch that took five minutes to achieve and grab my own water from the kitchen. Hell, last week I was still shoving boxes around my apartment and cleaning in a way that would make Monica from Friends jealous. After that day of power cleaning, however, I had severe lower back pain for about two days. Then I eventually decided it wasn’t so bad to take the seat on the train and maybe my husband could plug in the Christmas lights behind the TV. When I finally started letting him help me, he was drenched with relief. Thank God, she finally gave in. I can stop looking like an asshole in public when she insists on carrying her own bags.
No one told me that accepting a little help would lead to accepting a lot of help. It got easier to just stop grabbing my own glass of water or even flick on the light switch across the room. I don’t know if it’s exhaustion (I am more tired these days) or laziness parading as pregnancy pain. I have learned that pregnancy is basically the only time in an otherwise healthy woman’s life where she can be lazy as hell because it is entirely accepted by others around her. People forget that we can still do things, and their constant insistence that we can’t makes it easy for us to forget it, too.
I found myself asking for help with the dumbest things, like opening the key box at my office desk because it was simply two feet from me. Can’t look up an address on Google because I’m knocked up. Can’t help you figure out where to plug in a basic cord in the apartment because I’m swollen with baby. Can’t give you the pen on my desk because it requires reaching an extra inch. Granted, most of these are driven by my desire to be left alone by some coworkers, but the idea is there. It is so easy to blame pregnancy on my unwillingness to do something, and most people would raise an eyebrow at the legitimacy of my reasoning, but because I am with child, I don’t hear their curiosity. Not many people question the pain or stress a pregnant woman claims to be under, and with good reason. Most of the problems we moan about are legitimate and sad, all at once.
I finally got my head out of my ass and started helping a lot more. I went from doing way too much to not doing enough, and that bothered who I fundamentally am. I pushed too hard up until a week ago, and then I just slid down the wall like a junkie, most likely because I spent so long pushing that I just got tired. After my husband cooked a delicious, bountiful Christmas dinner for four, I made cookies and then did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen. He grumbled that I shouldn’t have, but I know he really appreciated it. I did something as little as getting the nausea pills from the car down the block for him, because he was really sick. Again, he grumbled that I shouldn’t have, but it was no problem for me. It only made me freeze my ass off in the twenty degree weather, but that has nothing to do with being pregnant and everything to do with being a wimp. These things seem so small to others, but the small things add up.
I get tired quickly. I still haven’t retrieved the chip and its new army from under my desk, and I now happily take seats offered to me on the train. I amgrowing a human inside my body -- an act that brings about the kind of exhaustion that others would not understand unless going through it. Hell, I always sympathized but never really understood the level of tiredness women feel until my own energy levels remained at just-ran-a-marathon for many consecutive weeks. This doesn’t mean I suddenly have to hop up and be my old active self; truthfully, I was being unsafe with some of my projects. It just means I have to find a balance while I still can. In just two more weeks, I will be experiencing the type of exhaustion that will make me laugh at my wimpy self if I reread this post, and then the snowball of dignity will continue south.
Until then, I will relax and enjoy the ride.
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