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For those of you who were hoping to read about a little bit of holiday cheer this month... you might want to search elsewhere. It’s not that I don’t wish you the best during this emotionally charged season (I do, really), it’s just that I’m not very good about writing about happy things. And holidays – whether yours involve candles or trees – are generally all about some uplifting spirit that infects us all with goodwill and sisterhood. Goodwill makes me nervous, frankly, and “sisterhood” was ruined for me once my friends started to join sororities. I still don’t get the appeal.

But the real reason this month’s column is lacking is mistletoe and holly and carols by the fire is that I am as nauseous as one human being can be without actively puking – and I suspect that that may happen soon. I had forgotten how sucky this part of pregnancy can be. Oh, yeah. FYI: I’m pregnant, due at the end of July, goddess willing and the creek don’t rise. The Hub and I have long insisted that the Diva not be an only child. I was an only and still pine for a sibling, that one other person to whom you can say “our parents are crazy” and they will know exactly what you mean. The Hub has a sister. They aren’t overly close, but they still have a shorthand that I envy. I think everyone needs someone who will laugh at words like “Uncle Joe’s toupee” or “Aunt Ella’s Thanksgiving” without having to have the joke explained.

Now, frankly, is as good a time as any for a new baby in the house, despite the fact that a whistleass will be in power for four more years. By the time the new baby arrives, the Diva will be three, which seems like the proper age to rock her world. I am not getting younger, frankly, and with each passing year I'm less inclined to do the no-sleep newborn thing again. The Hub and I both can take next summer off, for the most part. While we both have a good deal of work to get done before then, now is a good time to take the plunge.

Given that most of the larger projects I take on often wind up better as cautionary tales than ringing endorsements, there have been a few flaws in the plan. The biggest, of course, is that I’m a really awful pregnant woman. Most preggos, from the outside at least, gestate with grace while they almost hum from the glow of baking new life. I seem to just throw up a lot and, when not throwing up, I’m worried about throwing up. With the Diva, I lost nine pounds in the first three months. With the Chickpea, which is what we seem to be calling this one right now, I may actually surpass that mark. Despite that, I officially can’t get my pants to button. Life is unfair.

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The continual biliousness wouldn’t be that bad if it weren’t coupled with an equally continuous exhaustion. By the end of the day, I am an old nag just one step away from the glue factory. Once dinner is done, it’s all I can do to wave the Diva toward Dora’s Pirate Adventure and collapse on the couch. Most nights, I’m unconscious by nine. Nothing is getting done. I have towers of papers to grade, mountains of laundry to do and oceans of organizing to accomplish. For someone who measures her days by the things she can get done, this is a frustrating turn of events. Sure, the Diva and I are getting in some bonding time while singing “Isa Turn the Wheel” but this is cold comfort when there is no clean underwear to be found.

Still, the vomit and the exhaustion (and the constipation, which I won’t even go into) wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t feel so dang ungrateful when I complain about it. Please understand, I know that there are thousands of women who would kill to be in my woozy shoes. And I know that those women would like me to just shut the heck up about how rotten I feel. To them, I apologize. I know how lucky I am – I just don’t talk about how profoundly grateful I am for both the Diva and my life. One of my largest fears is sounding like a Hallmark card, which is why I don’t talk about the good stuff all that much.

But others look down their noses at whiney moms-to-be and have even less right to do so. The next person who tells me that all of the “discomfort” is worth it in order to have another one of God’s little miracles is going to get an earful of blue language and, maybe, some bile. To me, this is nearly the same as shrugging while you remind me that all women are made to suffer, be subservient to men and be content with whatever is given to them. I didn’t get the memo about God setting up quid pro quo contract, where every good thing has to be bought with a lot of bad things. And I wonder why I don’t really get organized religion.

This idea of suffering when pregnant seems to extend to the medical profession and those who design maternity clothes. I can understand why doctors are hesitant to interfere with pregnancy, given that it is a hard condition to really research without causing damage to either mom or fetus. For the most part, I’m all about not interfering. But what really butters my toast is our willingness to interfere with other natural processes, especially those that tend to plague men, even when we don’t fully understand the results of those actions. The natural course of eating three Big Macs a week is that you have a heart attack at 50. The natural course of a man’s body aging is that sometimes erections aren’t easy to come by (no pun intended).  These, however, are conditions that the medical profession is happy to try to stop with the best pharmaceuticals man can make.

Yet if a post-menopausal woman asks for a little something to help her get a little randy, then eyebrows are raised. And if a pregnant woman begs for something to give her an hour’s relief from the queasiness, an equally natural process, you’d think she was asking for her baby to be born with every defect known to man, as well as a few new ones. Instead, they push the B6 and the Sea Bands and the hourly crackers. None of it helps. I suck it up, mostly, and burst into rants and/or tears when I haven’t gone ten minutes without wanting to hurl. And, yes, I’ve been in that state since I sat down to write today. Still, I think my point is valid.

Again – and in light of the season that is upon us – let me mention my gratitude. I am relatively healthy. All is going well so far. I just am off my feed during the time of the year that is filled with all of the goodies I usually love. It’s hard to watch a plate of fudge go by without taking one, even when the smell is turning the nausea up to 11. This too shall pass, I know, and be replaced by other anatomical insults. Ho, ho, ho. And to all a goodnight.

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About the Author:
Adrienne Martini has been a theatre technician, apprentice massage therapist, bookstore bookkeeper and pizza joint waitress. Eventually, someone started paying her for her words and an editorial mercenary was born. She has written theatre reviews and features for the Austin Chronicle, blurbs about tofurkey and bottled water for Cooking Light and a piece about knitting summer camp for Interweave Knits. She is a former editor for Knoxville, Tennessee's Metro Pulse and recently picked up an AAN award for feature writing. During the day, she fields freelance gigs and crams knowledge into the heads of college students in Upstate New York. At all hours, she is mom to Maddy, and wife to Scott.



 

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