Day Eighteen of Thirty Days of Writing
[December 23rd, 2015]
Hey Little Guy,
Taking a dump now feels like the greatest thing in the world. It had been three days but I finally was able to poo today at 2:44 in the morning. I’m wondering if these are the kinds of things I should tell you when you get older, “Don’t get pregnant- you’ll be constipated!” My mind seems to take leave of me for small vacations where tangents crowd the street searching for the right food truck. Like that. How am I supposed to remember to eat all the right things and drink eight glasses of water everyday so that I start to feel like a water balloon and then pee every five minutes- and did I take my vitamins today and why do I constantly feel like I’m not getting enough protein? At least the seasickness on land feeling has passed for the night.
My belly feels like someone is stretching it oh so slowly with tweezers from the inside out. My back has been occupied by a thousand little jackhammers which are rooting around in my lower spine and pelvic bones. The sense of swimming returns. Are we underneath something? Why am I so awake to every horror?
This is the trouble. I try to write to you and I end up writing about you, about what you’re doing to me. I’m afraid that you will kill me — that you will kill what I’ve made myself out to be. Like how I just wrote ‘poo’. I would never have said that but now that you’re in my body I feel like I should watch what I think. It feels like you can hear all my thoughts. I am glad. I wanted to thank you and tell you that I’m already counting your fingers and toes. (Don’t worry, you have the right amount.) I love you so much it pains me even now in a way that makes all the pain I’ve ever gone through feel like progress.
Before I told my parents I was pregnant, I gave myself and my stomach a little pep talk. “Grandpa and Grandma are going to be a little cranky but, don’t worry, they are going to be soo happy when you get here. I am about to freak them out. So, don’t let this be your first impression of them, okay? They are really great.”
I’d never anticipated having to tell my parents I was pregnant. I’d never planned on having kids. I had especially never planned on telling my parents I was pregnant while I had no place to live, no job, I was not married, and it was a few days before Christmas. I thought about waiting to tell them, but it wasn’t going to be long before they would be able to clearly see that I was pregnant. I’d spent enough days in denial, time to drop some truth bombs. So I asked them to sit down on the couch so we could talk.
I will never forget my mother’s face. She was wearing a look of horror. “Are you going to…” She stammered. “I’m going to keep the baby.” Her head dropped and her eyes closed and I could tell she was breathing deeply. She was mad. I understood, but I held my ground. I knew I had to be strong in that moment. I had to make them understand that I could do this, all alone, if need be.
I wished I could make them understand that I understood the pain I was causing them as I described my partner and I’s plan to move to Portland, right after the New Year, so we could get established there. “We will move as soon as possible. I’ve already started looking at apartments. I want to get settled in with a doctor I like and get working. There are a lot of good publishing opportunities there.” My parents looked dumbfounded. They’d met my partner once and we weren’t dating at the time. I doubted they even remembered what he looked like. “So you’re going to take our grandchild and move all the way across the country?” My dad asked. I started to tear up. Goddamn hormones. Sorry little guy. Just remember, its all going to be okay. “I’m going to take my child to where I want to live and where I want him to start his life. This is my life. I have to try to do this.”
I didn’t know how to tell them that my first thought when I accepted that I was pregnant was I have to get out of here. For some reason it was abundantly clear that I did not want to raise my child in St. Louis, or in Michigan. I wanted a new start. I wanted the chance for everything to be new. I was scared. I had so much to figure out in such a short amount of time. I wasn’t even going to have health care by the time the baby was due. What I wanted for my child was so different from what I had experienced. It wasn’t that I’d had a bad childhood. I’d had a happy one. I just knew that the little one inside of me was special, would be more than I was, greater in so many ways. I could feel his energy pulsing through me. He was so bright. I knew in comparison everything else in my life would fade into the background. His light was a bright focal point, anything else that tried to enter the frame was immediately washed out.