I must have been playing with fire...writing about motherhood yesterday while my hormones were in a high state of flux. Today, coming down from the worst and most painful part of my hormonal upheaval and easing back into the calmer waters, I am suddenly beset by...gosh, I don’t even know what to call it... Some sort of feminine madness.
I’m suddenly and unexpectedly intoxicated with the idea of our immanent state of “pregnancy”.
Let me take a step back and say that I never wanted to be pregnant. Not really.
Well, except for that one time.
It was the summer after fourth grade, and I was living with a friend’s family in Woodstock because my mother was being treated for cancer at Sloan Kettering in the city. To this day I think that my sudden infatuation with the concept of pregnancy must have been some sort of reaction to the idea that I might lose my own mother, because that particular obsession, for me, was isolated to that one hot, sticky, languid summer. Never again either as a child or as an adult did the idea appeal to me, not in that intense, visceral, intoxicant way.
For whatever reason, that summer, I mooned around in bare feet stuffing pillows up under my nightgowns, holding a hand theatrically to the small of my back and murmuring sweet nothings to my faux belly.
Of course, at the time, my image of pregnancy was a far cry from what it would be now. For once thing, I was like eight (or however old you are in fourth grade). For another, I was heavily influenced that year by the on-screen pregnancy of Robbie’s wife Katie on My Three Sons.
My imagined maternity wear, therefore, might have looked something like this.
I had an idea that I’d spend a lot of my time drifting about in chiffon peignoirs, much like January Jones’s character in MadMen, eating bon bons and powdering my nose.
Can you imagine? Me? In a pink peignoir?
In the intervening years I turned out to be a lot less January Jones and a lot more Lara Croft. I turned out to be patently disenchanted with the idea of barefoot and pregnant. I turned out to have much more of an affinity with the idea of adoption.
Well, don’t worry...I haven't completely departed my senses. I’m not sitting at home stuffing pillows up my nightgown tonight (wouldn't M. be surprised when he got home?). But I am feeling a little of that baby madness I remember from that long-ago summer.
It’s not that I want to be pregnant. Really, I don’t. I guess what I’m looking for is some sort of indication that we are...expecting, if not so much in the ordinary way. I want a sign, a stork, a Walt Disney cloud of butterflies and twittering birds to announce the immanent arrival of our “bundle of joy”. I want to order sugar-coated almonds and cigars with pink bands on them.
I want to pick out onesies, and maybe even a bootie or two. I want to lean over a crib draped in gossamer, and...Oh, heck. Maybe I DO want to wear that pink chiffon peignoir!
And satin kitten heels with marabou on them...
Maybe, after all, this madness is easily explained. Maybe it’s that just that February is easing into March. Maybe it's that my pregnant sister-in-law is sending me announcements for babywear sales. Maybe it’s that every other day the temperatures have been rising, the days lengthening and the earth melting, and the first birds stretching their vocal chords in anticipation of spring. Maybe it’s that I can feel the bulbs we planted last fall waking slowly from their dream state, deep under the rich soil, sighing and preparing themselves for growth.
Fecundity is about to take over our corner of the world again, and with it...well, with it, we may find ourselves undergoing our own mysterious transformation.
No maternity frocks for me, but maybe I can find other ways of celebrating our unusual form of “expectation” as our time for referral grows near.