A Myriad of Farts, Pay and Perks

Wow, this is exciting, maybe one of the most exciting things that ever happened to me - becoming a parent. Before Junis entered this world I was aware in somewhat vague terms that the birth of a child would supposedly turn one's life upside down. But to what extent - I had no idea. Starting with the process of giving birth. What a horrible piece of train wreck biology! It must be one of the most flawed things in all of nature. Yes, there are several drugs to make it bearable, but still, it's no pony ride - unless those ponies were sent from hell. I'm still in recovery and except for the permanent psychological trauma, I'm expecting to be back to my old self until the end of this year.

Anyways, with the delivery slogged out, the fun part starts - which entails tending to the needs of our baby boy. It's an adjustment, for a lack of sleep and a wild cocktail of hormones keep rocking my body. I'm getting used to it, and all the other things that have become more important now than pretty much everything I used to take for granted before - like personal hygiene or writing blog posts. These new priorities revolve around baby's well-being; his feeding schedule, my breasts, anti-colic bottles, strollers, burps and digestion, vaccination, and my breasts. I did mention my breasts twice, because of their significance in the baby equation. I'm sure I'm forgetting 3000 other things, but at least half of them do also have to do with my breasts. It doesn't matter, as there will be a few hundred new ones with each new week.

The baffling thing about all of this change: it is the ultimate happy drug. Having baby is a pleasure, even grumpy, moody and sometimes whiny baby is a joy to be around with. Knowing it's suddenly there when it wasn't a few months earlier is mind-boggling, and it even makes mundane things, like driving a car or going grocery shopping more fun.

Chillin' at the doctor's lounge

Suddenly I know there is a purpose in me doing these chores. Over the last few years, the excitement of self-preservation has slightly worn off. Yes, my own survival has always been important to me. But now it's even more important for me to stay alive. Baby needs me and my breasts (amongst other things, but mainly those two). It's a bit daunting to be needed that much, but it's also somewhat flattering.

Another thing I have been thinking about is how community pays court to parents, and especially mothers. There is this club you suddenly belong to. Gift bags get sent to you by the local council, banks are eating humble pie just so you open an account. Even the local tax office welcomed baby with bureaucratically open arms. It seems like women are given premiums for having their vaginas shredded. And then there's tax breaks, pay and perks, getting treated like royalty, just as if we have done something extraordinarily. It is a life-changer for us parents, yes, but what do the authorities have to gain? Another tax payer I guess, and possibly a potentially hardworking bee.

I'm still amazed at how I survived the delivery. But as to the act of conception, and to quote Bill Maher: it's something a dog can do. Well dogs can and they do do it, but not all humans can or want to do it. For most of us thirty-somethings, the act of procreation is not left up to chance. We're not completely surprised when that strip turns pink - as we know we doinked that month. It's good we have an awareness about it and a choice to do or not to do it, unlike our mothers and grandmothers. Yet, having belonged to the other, "less glamorous" club of childless couples for quite a while, I feel a teensy bit uncomfortable about the fact that we're rewarded for one and not the other.


Jet Li's Punching Bag

I'd like to blame pregnancy for a number of changes: gradually becoming Ming vase rotund being one of those things that takes some time getting used to. Since about 30 weeks I feel like a somewhat short-winded elephant carrying one and a half people, their provisions and the tinier one's most valuable possession - a giant water tank - up K2. Being puffed by day and near comatose by evening, a strange combination of insomnia and nightmares make it hard to come to rest at night - strange scenarios keep running through my head, such as binge drinking alcohol - oblivious to the fact that I'm preggers.

"Aren't you pregnant!?" my dream dialogue partner asks while pointing at my unmistakable baby bump showing from beneath a cropped shirt. "Oh s*** I just had 6 beers!" I yell out. So, not a beer gut after all!

Last week in my dream I was neglecting to feed future baby and I didn't even notice until it looked all thin, gray and sickly. I then forgot to take it home with me from the hospital. And once again I woke, drenched. It sure is not the kind of stuff that seems most likely to happen to me or newborn babies in general, yet still my mind seems occupied with these things.

There is day trauma as well. Did I mention my circus variety of pains? Lung pain, back pain, upper and lower, middle and front. Yes, there is a front back pain. Sciatic butt pain in combination with sore knees. Burning and itching patches of skin. Walking lopsided. I'm sure it's all a joyride against giving birth, but pregnancy sure turns out to be a nice prequel to the main event.

Something I'll never forget was baby's first movement during week 20, a very gentle trembling against my lower abdomen that first interaction, and the amazing sensation of being in touch with this tiny something. Before that, pregnancy felt like an abstract concept only recorded through pictures. It was highly romantic, this quiet moment we shared in the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Unfortunately these days even baby's movements have become something I don't particularly look forward to. It's like a merciless Jet Li character has taken over my body and my uterus serves as his punching bag. Rib cage pain from being violently drop kicked, having to pee with minimal or no warning from being punched in the bladder. I never thought I'd experience that kind of thing before my future days of senile incontinence.

Luckily the spatial requirements for making sweeping moves are beginning to run thin with each passing week, so baby's newer thing is the slowmo Matrix bullet move. From the outside my belly looks like a snake's digesting a rabbit. No, this doesn't feel natural at all. It is utterly weeeeiiirrrd.

Despite all that I can't ever be mad at baby, for not being kicked would be worrisome and being afraid for its health and progression so much worse than enduring all the aches and pains of the world. A strange masochism in itself this motherhood thing I'm growing into. But hey, I still need to take it out on someone. I'm not that good at turning the other cheek. World, prepare for postnatal retaliation - unless I'm not too tired after giving birth and all that...


Weekend Writing Warriors: The House Guest

Hey everyone, and welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors and my NaNo story Aned! Last time - a little long while ago, Eloise entered a grove searching for the white shepherd dog that seems to be following her everywhere she goes. I'll move forward this week, to where Eloise finds the mysterious dog hiding in the backyard, in her own dog's hut...

Eloise approached Aethelia's dog house, where the grumbling noise grew into a clarion growl.
"So what is the deal with you anyways, dog?"
She slowly knelt down by the hut, facing away from the entrance, with her heart hammering against her chest.
"It's not very polite to growl at the host, but I guess you must have your reasons to distrust humans."
She reached for Aethelia's red rubber ball and tossed it from one hand into the other. Moments went by. The growling turned into a soft gurgling, before it stopped. Startled, she felt something touching her arm; in the corner of her eye, the dog's nose quickly withdrew from her elbow, back into the darkness of the hut.

Aned - character drawing