Two men, maybe in their thirties, drift towards me as I stir sugar into my tea and their voices eventually reach my consciousness.
First Man: ... she told me she really misses being pregnant...
Second [with an air of shock]: Really?
First: Yeah... I mean, she didn't like the beginning because she felt sick, and she didn't like the last month, because she was really sore, but she loved the middle...
Second: Oh yeah?
First [like he's impressed by this woman]: She loved how she felt. She LOVED the way she looked....
They drift away.
I was both fascinated and repelled by these two men talking about an absent woman's experience of pregnancy. I fought the urge to burst into their conversation since I identified with this woman and felt maybe I could represent her somehow. I felt I understood her.
In those weeks right after Swee'pea's birth, I looked back on my pregnancy as the easiest part of motherhood. All the feeding, cleaning and keeping warm was done automatically without any conscious effort on my part. Sure, I didn't know the magical unique things about Swee'pea or about the joy of holding him, of basking in his love smiles, or any other aspects of our physical postpartum relationship. But I also didn't have the sleep deprivation, the pain of recovering from major surgery, the panic induced by his cries, the sore nipples, growth spurts of near-constant demands to literally suck me dry or any other of those wet milky scary heady sleepless early postpartum emotions.
Crazy-Making, Episode 623: School Lunches
13 hours ago