First of all, I'd just like to say thanks to everyone who leaves me sweet, helpful, comments. I've been majorly bad at responding to comments lately, but I do read them and I really appreciate the kind words.
It's uplifting when someone pays you a compliment because you know they don't have to. It's especially uplifting when you feel like you are a gigantic dinosaur of pregnancy, and people still say you like nice. I do try, most days, to make an effort with my appearance because there's a lot that feels outside of my control right now but I can make sure I slash on some lipstick and brush my (ratty, hobo, dirt-bag) hair for that little extra somethin', somethin'.
I look tired, because I am.
This week my body definitely feels 'pregnant'. For awhile now I have been grunting and groaning everytime I try and lift my caboose off the couch, but until this week that's really been the only real physical discomfort I've experienced. But as of this week my hips and lower back hurt. I've already been waking up a lot during the night because rolling over is now a three part process, but it's now a three part process that is physically uncomfortable, and when I wake up in the morning my hips are so sore.
I have been doing pre-natal yoga religiously since finding out I'm pregnant, as well as a pre-natal workout DVD, so whatever is going on with me is just a result of everything stretching out to make room for Little Baby and not because I am some sloth whose body is seizing from lack of motion.
I am also really, really tired.
So one of the things that seems to be different about pregnancy in Switzerland vs. Canada is that here, midwives are just part of the process. I have my regular doctor and within her practice is a midwife who I also see. My experience so far is that the midwife feels like she's there to support me, and the doctor is there to support the baby. When I do deliver, midwives are the delivery staff at the hospital and will be the ones present for the birth, with the doctor checking in (unless there's complications). After I go home from the hospital, the midwives will continue to visit me for a selected period to make sure I'm doing okay.
In Canada, the only thing that registered on my peripheral is that midwives are seen as an 'alternative' solution for your birth experience and you go to a midwife centre to deliver; they are not in the hospital. Maybe I'm wrong about this for, as I say, I didn't give a crap about anything pregnancy related back home since I was obviously not pregnant. But you hear bits and bites, and that's what I pieced together.
Anyhow, I really like this dual support of doctor and midwife and I like talking to my midwife. One of the things she said to me last week though, surprised me as a North American.
She wanted a break-down of my day-to-day, and after I gave it to her she stared at me blankly for a few seconds and then briskly told me it was time I started slowing down. I didn't really know how to handle that. Back home the message is that women are not supposed to let 'child-bearing' keep them from doing anything for fear of gender inferiority.
Yes we birth the babies, AND WE CAN DO EVERYTHING ELSE, TOO.
I remember a woman who returned to work after her baby was three months old because it was implied by the partners that any more time off wouldn't be acceptable. Was she forced to? No. Did she want children? Obviously. Did she also want a successful career in an area she was passionate about? Yes. Was she a walking zombie of hormones and sleep deprivation? Yes. We don't have to choose but there's a clock ticking all the time: You should be here. No here. No here. No here. Never let people know you're overwhelmed because you're supposed to be able to do it all.
But physically, is it possible?
I do not have as much energy as I normally do, nor do I think I am biologically capable of having as much energy as when I'm not pregnant. My body is growing a human being and I need to respect that, but the concept of slowing down--taking time--seems to me, the North American, like waving some ridiculous flag of defeat. Who told me that flag existed, anyhow?
Why are women expected to be able to carry on with their day-to-day with the same amount of gusto as when they aren't pregnant? Why do we feel pressure to take on everything, all at once, immediately after the baby is born?
I do not have anwers to these questions. They've just been something I've been thinking about since that midwife appointment.
In other disjointed pregnancy news, I finally had an honest-to-goodness pregnancy craving. Up until Wednesday the only thing I craved was fruit, and as far as I can tell that craving wasn't going to win me any comradery badges in any pregnant-women clubs I was looking to join.
I eat an insane amount of fruit.
Let's face it, if someone just confesses to you that the only thing they ever want to eat is an A&W Teen Burger with a rootbeer milkshake, the last thing they want to hear is some righteous asshole saying, "I only want fruit." They are looking for a partner-in-crime; someone who doesn't judge them for wanting some greasy take-out even though they're growing a baby.
(I remember watching an interview with Jennifer Aniston, and a group of women were confessing to their favourite guilty pleasure indulgences; when it was Jenn A.'s turn her answer--for her GUILTIEST indulgence--was 'taco chips and salsa'. Boo.)
Sadly though, I had not had any cravings...UNTIL WEDNESDAY.
The only thing I wanted on Wednesday evening was a big vanilla birthday cake with white frosting, all to myself. Oh how I wanted to hop in my car and drive to a grocery store to buy said birthday cake from the bakery section, but alas this is Switzerland and everyone had closed up shop by 6.
Plus they don't even have those delicious birthday cakes here.
So yesterday afternoon I listened to the midwife, took the afternoon off, and then I partially fulfilled this craving by baking chocolate cupcakes and frosting them with purple icing.
THEN I ATE FIVE OF THEM.
Nothing, I repeat nothing, has ever tasted so good.
Little Baby liked them too because there was a lot of kicking happening yesterday. I believe I just introduced my unborn child to its first ever sugar rush.