The Bodacious Belgrade Blog

November 2, 2008

Watching Your Wife Go Through Pregnancy

Filed under: Uncategorized — bunitingi @ 3:00 am
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I was somewhere around 13 years old when i casually walked by my sister’s room and overheard the serious discussion my mother was having with her about Periods. She was maybe 10 or 11 and my mother was giving her the heads up. I myself had sort of heard of them, but my knowledge of exactly what the whole thing was about was sketchy at best. I stood quietly outside the door where they couldn’t see me and listened in.

I walked away stunned.

I knew they were supposed to be not fun, but outright pain? Bleeding? For 3-5 DAYS? EVERY MONTH???!!!!????? HOLY S***!!!! HOW the **** did women DEAL with this?!?!?

It was then that i realized women bear a burden, something way beyond what i had ever imagined. My manly burdens at the time mostly consisted of trying to avoid getting kicked in the balls and accidentally catching my manhood in my zipper (which well into my 20s i often bragged had not only never happened to me, but i couldn’t understand how any dude could be such a raging retard that they could actually do it. Then one night i had a little incident and that’s the last i’ve ever brought up that topic again).

When you’re a kid, avoiding impact with your balls is tougher then you think. Ask any guy when he got the most ball slams in his life, and it’s always during childhood. After the onslaught of adolescence it just doesn’t occur with anywhere near the same frequency.

But periods! Holy bejeezus! This was a different universe! I had no IDEA. What a crappy break…

I gained a certain respect for women that day that has always stayed with me.

Fast forward 20 years. I ‘ve now known many women with varying degrees of intimacy in various types of friendships and relationships. Unlike when i was 13, they are no longer a foreign element, and there is no big mystery to unveil. I still think periods are a major pain in the ass, but nowadays for more selfish reasons. I didn’t think there were any new big surprises waiting for me on the gender front.

I was SO wrong.

I have watched my wife go through 9 months of pregnancy, and sit here with her now in anticipation of the Day Of Exodus, when my little Moses (NOT his actual name) parts the Red Sea and comes forth unto the Land of Canaan, and while i knew in general what this whole pregnancy thing entailed, actually watching it up close and personal has far surpassed that shocking day when i was 13.

I’m not even saying it’s all bad. Some of it is is incredible. Maja’s relationship with it is entirely different then mine. I visit it. I go over to Maja and talk to the baby inside her belly. She is simply always with it, and has commented many times that during most of pregnancy she hasn’t actually thought of it as a separate entity.

I have watched the morning sickness, the fatigue, i have fetched kiwi by the bucketful, watched the tummy grow, brought untold glasses of lemon water, driven her to countless doctors’ appointments and watched her leave the house to go to her birthing classes. These 9 months have been a lifetime in and of themselves. I have done everything i could to help her, but for all of it, i still feel in some essential way i simply stand on the sidelines.

She bears the brunt of the burden no question. Hell, most of the pregnancy i get to sit out on my terrace at the end of the night, drink a few beers and smoke a few cigarettes, while she is in bed trying to get comfortable. The list of changes and bizarre things her body has gone through is literally too numerous to count. When the baby kicks her tummy, it looks eXACTLy like the movie Alien. The hormones, the back aches, the preparations for labor, the this, the that…. bloody hell.

Some days when i think about it all, i feel like i’m standing outside that bedroom door with my jaw hanging open. And we haven’t even done LABOR YET. I’m TERRIFIED of labor, and i don’t have to do anything other then get her water, offer some king words of encouragement, and say push at the right time. And since i’m attending labor in foreign country where i don’t speak the LANGUAUGE, i probably won’t even get the whole ‘Push” thing right. The nurse will be telling Maja to “push, this is it, this the moment” while i’m standing there trying to figure out what she’s saying and wondering if it’s important. By the time i figure out what’;s happening Maja will be screaming bloody murder, the baby will be popping out, and the most i’ll manage will be at this prime moment to lean down and say something like “Oh, puuuush! I understand! Tingi, you need to… uh.. okay i see you’re already… uh…. wow, you’re doing great, honey. Keep it up!” Or even worse: “Tingi.. what’s the nurse saying? Is she… wow you’re really screaming…. is this… HOLY CRAP! Damn woman, that has GOT to hurt!”

Watching her go through this has changed my view of her fundamentally, and in a good way. I have a newfound respect for all women in general, but the depth of honor i feel towards my wife is… profound. Reverant. I’ve watched her be herself for years, but now i’ve watched her undergo something so fundamental, so at the core of life itself, i feel like Don Quixote kneeling before Dulcinea.

I’ve also watched her become more maternal, a gradual and subtle process that has occurred over the course of these past 9 months. So much of the burden of life rests of women, i wonder how this whole patriarchal thing got started anyway. (i don’t want a matriarchal society either for the record. Evolution of consciousness and spirituality would be preferred. In loo of that i’d just like people to be less of a dick.)

In the meantime, here at the end of 30s, i stand once again outside the bedroom door of revelation, jaw dropped in awe, and heart filled with love and reverence for my wife, and through her, all women.

Until she nags me to do something i’m not in the mood to do. Then you can pretty much throw this whole diatribe out the window. Grumble grumble.

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4 Comments »

  1. Life is hard, and that extends to the making of it. I don’t claim special expertise, since I myself have never pushed a watermelon out through my pee-pee, but seeing the little alien being entering our world is a mind-exploding experience, one that I will be very glad to have a friend know the feeling of (most of my friends are monks, though lovable ones).

    For all your son knows, it’s 9,000 B.C. and he’s in a hut in the Fertile Crescent. He has heard noises, voices, and felt the warmth of his mother, but he does not have the foggiest idea what kind of world he has arrived in. That, of course, is what you and his mother are for.

    However, I’m 34, and I’m still not quite sure myself. It’s a long process…

    Comment by matthew — November 2, 2008 @ 5:00 am | Reply

  2. Think of yourself as a combination pack mule (which you already know about) and energy provider/masseuse. Don’t worry about coaching…or about the nurse coaching…because her body will most likely be telling her to push, or pushing all on its own. Not your job, that part. Holding her hand, holding her body up in any way she needs, keeping your head clear, hydration/food (if you sneak it in, which I recommend), and not fainting are your part.

    It hurts, but it won’t kill her or you; she can do this. It’s not all about pain; it’s also about power, stubborness, and courage, which Maja has in spades. Think less “horror movie” and more “world’s strongest man competition.” You know, the guys who throw redwood trees and pull trucks with their teeth. The uterus is an incredibly strong muscle. You mostly have to help her get into the right mental and physical space where it can work most effectively with the least danger. You’re the spotter. You’re Burgess Meredith.

    Ya’ll have the additional burden of worrying about the fibroid, and dealing with a Soviet-style maternity ward, so that does make it harder. But still not something you can’t do.

    Comment by emjaybee — November 3, 2008 @ 4:23 am | Reply

  3. I’ve been accused, by certain people who live in my house, of being too negative in my posts on this blog. It is not my intent, and if indeed I have inadvertently played the role of Captain Bringdown, allow me to rectify the situation with a positively toe-tapping list of events which your future holds:

    Hearing the word “Daddy” (or whatever equivalent you choose) spoken to you by your little creation. When one day he adds the “I love you,” it will melt your heart as quickly and surely as a blowtorch.

    Watching him figure out that he can crawl. He will try, good lord will he try, for months and months, until you think there’s no possible way he’ll ever figure it out. You’ll see the gears turning away, you’ll root for him like he’s the damned Red Sox, and one day, AHA, he’s got it! You will then be tempted to frame your sperm for posterity, potent as it is, until you realize that of course you sort of already have.

    Seeing his mind working. This happens on all sorts of fronts, but it’s rather amazing to watch the little scientist within take form. You’ll give him two cups one day and he won’t have the foggiest notion what they are. But soon he’s figured out that things can go in the cups, on the cups, and even between the cups. You’ll sit him in the bath and he’ll just kinda float there in this weird clear liquid. But soon he’ll be performing experiments, seeing what happens when you pour this stuff from one cup to another, or through this strainer thing, or on Daddy’s head. The boy will go from Dingus McGarnigle to Isaac Newton in a matter of months. The speed can be quite breathtaking.

    Hearing his first unsupervised conversation with another human. For a long time, you are the translator. People ask the kid questions and he just drools or gabbles incoherently, leaving you to fill in the blanks. Then one day you look over and, completely of his own volition, he has started up a conversation with another kid. You may not be able to understand all the words (though somehow other kids do), but you will know that he has taken a huge step into independence.

    Listening to his jokes. Not repeating, either, but coming up with his own things that he thinks are funny. Telling you with a straight face that something’s an elephant when he knows full well it isn’t, just to laugh at you when you contradict him. Humor is one of those qualities that’s hard to quantify, and to watch it take shape from scratch is fascinating.

    This one will work for the librarian’s kid: Seeing him read. Not the letters in ink yet, but from memory, speaking the right words to match the right page. He will have achieved this, of course, by having read it a million times with you, thus the importance (and opportunity) of reading classics from Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, and Mercer Mayer. One day you’ll hear a noise from his room, and you will arrive to find him with Green Eggs & Ham open on his lap, narrating for his own amusement. You may require intervention to prevent you from bronzing your testicles in memory of their power.

    This is a partial list, but it should at least give you something nice to think about instead of freaking out about the impending birth. Compared to all that is yet to come, birth, and even pregnancy, are extremely brief. Fun awaits, if you look for it. Start looking in 3…2…

    Comment by matthew — November 3, 2008 @ 10:43 pm | Reply

  4. I have to say, i never thought you were negative at all. However, i also must thank you profusely for that comment as it did get me excited, and there are many points you made i have never, ever thought of. Like the humor. Never occurred to me. First Obama… one down, one to go.

    Comment by bunitingi — November 6, 2008 @ 2:40 am | Reply


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