ShelahSo, most of you know that I'm an English teacher. For much of the last decade, I've been completely immersed...

So, most of you know that I'm an English teacher. For much of the last decade, I've been completely immersed in either studying or teaching English and American literature. My husband teases me for relating situations and characters from the things I read to our lives. Sylvia Plath's "Metaphor" perfectly applies to how I feel right now. The poem reads:

I'm a riddle in nine syllables.
An elephant, a ponderous house,
A melon strolling on two tendrils.
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
This loaf's big with its yeasty rising.
Money's new-minted in this fat purse.
I'm a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
I've eaten a bag of green apples,
Boarded the train there's no getting off.

I've gotten to the point where it's impossible to disguise my belly. When I'm in public people stare and give me a wide berth. I'm totally incredulous that some people can hide their pregnancies until they deliver (and even more disbelieving of the women who show up at the ER with "stomach cramps" and deliver a baby a few hours later). How do they explain the feet in the ribs? Or the hiccups? Or the relentless jabs to the cervix? I guess that a really baggy pair of sweatpants and a big t-shirt could hide some of my girth, even the baggiest clothes couldn't mask the pregnancy completely. Maybe some great big plastic bags or a clown costume would do the trick.

We went to Eddie's brother's wedding this weekend and I'm not looking forward to getting the pictures back. I ordered the dress for the wedding several months ago, when my belly was still little and cute. Of course, I ordered something that looked a little bit sexy back then, and will probably come off as borderline-obscene in the pictures. I was in tons of pictures with the bridal party, which included my non-pregnant sister-in-law and four bridesmaids who probably weigh three hundred pounds between them. Thank goodness I could pick Annie up and use her as camouflage´┐Ż

The only problem is that I found that I couldn't hold her for more than a few minutes at a time. Yeah, my ob told me at the beginning of the pregnancy that I shouldn't lift anything that weighs more than 25 lbs., but since I have a 47 lb. four year-old and a 30 lb. two year-old, I haven't been able to pay attention to that advice too well. In the last few weeks, however, I've found that I get completely breathless when I hold one of the kids for more than a couple of seconds. Yeah, I can still lift them into their carseats and lug one around in a pinch, but Annie is definitely learning that she has to walk by herself a lot more than she has been accustomed to.

Another thing I've decided is that a woman should only go bed shopping when she's in the third trimester of a pregnancy. The bed that feels completely comfortable to a non-pregnant person could be totally miserable for a "ponderous house." I've always loved the bed at my in-law's cabin. It has a pillow top and I love to sink down into it and feel softness all around me. Now that I've turned into an elephant, I feel like I'm suffocating every night in the bed. It takes at least an hour (and usually a bath) to fall asleep. Yeah, Eddie has been letting me sleep in a little later since we're on vacation, but it stinks that it's so hard to fall asleep. One of the first big arguments in our marriage was whether we'd get a pillowtop or a firm mattress, and eventually I deferred to my husband and went with the firmer one. Seven years later I'm really glad that I let him win that battle and can sleep comfortably at home.

I also identify with the mixed-feelings Plath feels in her poem--I'm so excited to be having a baby, rejoicing in being round and getting kicked, but still not entirely comfortable with getting so big. It definitely complicates life--I feel like I'm on display for the world to see, can't accommodate the needs of my older kids as well, and feel uncomfortable a lot of the time, but it will be totally worth it when Isaac is here for us to love.

Until next time,

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