I have some weird, only explicable in the lens of pregnancy, pains though. Mostly it has to do with my right arm. I have a ridiculous, totally not-OK, huge, giant knot in my right shoulder region. I am planning a session with a masseuse as soon as possible. Until then, it seems to really bother me close to bed time. In that same arm, my elbow is bothering me, like a what I imagine a nasty case of tennis-elbow to feel like. It just hurts when it's straight or all-the-way bent. I don't know what that's all about. These two elements seem to combine to give my wrist an ache and also my neck on that side. I'm hoping that the massage will clear it up, or that it'll pass into the ether like nausea in my second month did.
I've started doing yoga again. Every time I return, after a lapse in my practice, I pummel myself with questions about why I stopped in the first place. There is never a good reason and I'm always grateful to be back in practice. The first two days were pretty tough; this has been the longest period of inactivity I've experienced in many years. I think I went two months without lifting so much as a finger or quadricep in an effort to exercise or hike. So, the first two sessions were all about finding my level where it is now, and accepting it. Once I figured out the right amount of time to be practicing (which is about five minutes before I begin to lose my temper due to exhaustion) I found the space and opening that yoga brings. On the third day of practice I could feel my muscle memory really take over, my breath even and deepen, and the space where peace lives enlarge inside me.
I've also acquired a stack of books eight high to read. My lapse in reading (and writing) since moving to Belfair has bothered me the entire time I've been experiencing it. I decided to indulge and get some fiction I've really been wanting to check out and to give myself an hour per day of reading time. I happened upon a thin book called The Zygote Chronicles, by Suzanne Finnamore, in my scan at the library last week. The reviews on the back were calling it "kind, touching, readable, and terrifically funny." It's a mere 123 pages and "takes [the reader] from conception to delivery room" through the eyes of the narrator. The narrator is awesome. She's hilarious, clever, quick, an advertising executive living in the Bay area who's having her first child at thirty-eight. The book is laid out as "memos" to her unborn child. Each memo is filled with stories about what she ate that day, or how she felt, or what her co-workers, mother-in-law, best-friend, say.
I have identified with many nuances of the narrator's story so far. The way she describes her friends. The way she fell in love and knew it so immediately. The pregnancy symptoms she has experienced, they have all spoken to me in lovely, and sometimes reassuring, ways. I thought the idea of writing to her unborn baby (zygote, fetus, etc.) was a great one and incorporated it into my daily plans. When I found myself really absorbed and loving the narrator, I promised myself that I would not compare myself to her, if I did begin writing my own "chronicles." It has been a fun process so far. I'm not sure if I'll share any of them, at this point. While the book is hilarious and has the feel of a guilty pleasure because of it's readability it also has a lot of wonderful human lessons and tenderness. There are many parts marked for sharing, but this one has been my favorite so far.
That night, after happily announcing your sex to everyone, I wept. I am thirty-eight, and know now that I will never have a daughter. A daughter is a precious and secret dream I have carried with me since I was five. Your father heard me crying and said I was crazy, and that he had no sympathy for me. He said I was hurting his feelings because, lest I forget, he was a boy, too. How could I be so ungrateful? I had no answer except the wind rushing past my ears as I fell down the chasm of self-loathing.
But baby, what I need you to understand right here and now is, it wasn't about you at all. I wasn't upset because I was having a boy. I was upset because I wasn't having a girl and in all likelihood never would. Perhaps as a woman I was, in some hideously final sense, finished. I don't expect you to understand this, but you seem very wise and agile, so I hope you will try. Because, baby, there is news. I have spoken with the Voice.
I should explain the Voice. I am as far from religious as it is possible to be in San Francisco. I laugh openly at television evangelists and consider Oral Roberts the worst sort of predator. Yet I am the daughter of a minister turned bartender, so I have a kind of foxhole faith that lives inside me, and I found it that night. I heard the Voice, coming from inside or above. It doesn't matter.
Voice said that the door for such things was, until further notice, ajar. And that this was something I couldn't control, life. This was news to me. I had conceived exactly on schedule, passed all my tests. I am vice president at a major ad agency. I assumed I could executive-produce. In my wild arrogance, I thought I was controlling not only conception and life but gender.
Voice explained that He/She had the keys to the van. The best thing Voice said was that I get to be reborn as a man. That part of me is in you, and I will experience something many women never get to.
Voice said that maybe I was not finished, but maybe I was. Voice stressed that no mistakes were ever made where these things are decided. None. It wasn't like the government. And that having a boy was exactly what my soul needed most.