bumpwatch terror alert: week 23

one week until viability!

i got out my fancy blue dress yesterday because one of jared’s professors is leaving to take a long-term teaching assignment in china. he’s a pretty big deal. he kind of started the entire field of environmental history, which is what jared studies, & he’s a big reason why jared wanted to come to kansas for grad school. they had a conference addressing a bunch of his work yesterday, & there was a bon voyage party at this house after, attended by a bunch of his current & former students. so i was experimenting with getting dressed up for it.

the dress actually fits better now than it did when i first bought it, back before i was pregnant. i have gained about twenty pounds with this pregnancy so far, but i am down several pants sizes. it will be interesting to see how it all levels out once i give birth. unfortunately, none of my shoes fit anymore. thankfully, i’m not experiencing edema yet, but the ligaments in my feet are stretching out & my feet are a lot wider than they were before. only my sneakers still fit, & they’re a tight squeeze, plus they literally have holes in them. jared said i could probably just go casual & wear the sneakers, so i changed into jeans & a sweater.

at the party, one of his professors, who is a woman & has had a couple of kids in the last few years, so you’d think she would know better, saw me sitting around chatting with people & told jared, “wow, ciara doesn’t even look pregnant yet!” are you kidding me, woman?! i don’t think i look like i’m about to go into labor in the next five minutes, but i think i definitely look pregnant.

i kind of get where she’s coming from, because it seems like a lot of pregnant ladies are insecure about looking “too big”. the internet is full of women complaining about people expressing surprise that they are not further along than they are, or that they aren’t pregnant with multiples. women that are six months pregnant are getting nervous because they’ve gained eight pounds. there’s this whole culture that reinforces the idea that pregnancy shouldn’t really change your body that much, that it’s better to look small no matter how you’re accomplishing it, that it’s complimentary to tell a pregnant woman that she isn’t showing.

but COME ON. i AM showing & when someone says that i don’t look pregnant, i just hear, “you’ve always been a fatty fatty two by four, i see no change.” not to mention, i am not concerned about how much weight i gain, or looking svelte & stylish during pregnancy. i just want to try to be as physically comfortable as possible, & hope my baby is born healthy. jared said that maybe she just couldn’t see the bump that well because i was sitting…maybe.

also at the party, the wives of a couple of jared’s colleagues were chatting about what they do for work. one works in the social work office at the hospital, & the other is in child welfare, working with foster kids. i piped up, “so, when jared & i do this baby wrong, it is going to be AWKWARD!” jared laughed really hard, but other people kind of had a pearl-clutching moment. i don’t know what the world is coming to when a pregnant lady can make a few timely jokes about child neglect.

i had a few weeks of feeling really chill about everything, but i am back into pregnancy burn book mode again. here are just a few things that have been annoying me to an irrational degree lately:

1) the trend of fully-outfitted nurseries, complete with the baby’s name spelled out (in wooden letters or stickers or whatever) on the wall. why? are you afraid you’ll forget your child’s name? are you afraid the child will forget its own name? some people are starting to complain that this style has become too trendy & is no longer “original”. i know i haven’t been keeping up on my baby nursery trends for the last ten years, but…really? someone somewhere spelled out her baby’s name on the wall with wooden letters at some point in 2004 or whatever & was truly making a bold, original statement? but now it’s just as played as aviator sunglasses, apparently.

2) people complaining about the small ways they disapprove of someone else’s parenting (i always hate this), & then they top it off with a remark like, “& she had that second baby way too fast. her first baby wasn’t even a year old when the second one was born,” or some variation on this theme. like having babies back to back like that isn’t super-stressful? like a woman in that situation needs to be judged for that too? shut up.

3) prissy, impractical baby girl clothes. i don’t know why baby girl clothes bother me more than baby boy clothes. don’t get me wrong, baby boy clothes bother me a lot too. but baby girl clothes…put a tiny infant in a dress with a big decorative bow in the back, & she’s going to be laying on that bow & feeling really uncomfortable. put those cute little pink shoes on her & her feet are going to be constrained from developing properly. those ruffles on the rump of her onesie are throwing her hips out of alignment when she lays on them. & don’t even get me started on those prim headbands that serve no purpose except to a) get lost, & b) gender your child to strangers, because strangers are distressingly interested in the junk of strange babies.

4) when people prop newborns up into a sitting position for photos. why?! if they can’t sit up on their own yet, they probably shouldn’t be posed in that position. it stresses their joints. trust me, your baby will be just as cute laying down in a position that is comfortable for it.

i am just going to console myself with joyful memories of how a little girl ran headlong into a screen door last night at the party & knocked it right out of its frame so it fell on top of her & she was trapped. she was fine–just embarrassed. i laughed so hard, as did jared. everyone else was like, “ooooooh.”

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

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