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The Damn Dishes

Yesterday, as you may have guessed, was hard. Yesterday was one of those small mountains that tests a marriage and I’m not ashamed to say that I bitterly failed that test and then kicked the test in the face and yelled at it.

I think Baby G must be going through a growth spurt, because I am tired. Capital T, T-I-R-E-D. I’ve also gained three more pounds this week (and that can’t all be ice cream, right?) . And whereas usually I would just feel a few kicks throughout the day, more-so in the early afternoon and in the evening, yesterday was just a full-on, non-stop pummelfest and despite appearances to the contrary please believe me when I say that I’m not complaining about this- I swear I am not complaining about this.¬†

I know how lucky I am to have these kicks, and my god, this is the goal right? A healthy, strong, vivacious little pumpkin is the dream and I relish the sense of strength and personality I get from feeling each movement. So I won’t complain, but I do want to be honest about this experience and not just write down all of the sweet moments, the pastel memories. I remember reading mommyblogs before I got pregnant where everything was softly lit instagram pictures and perfectly styled maternity photo-shoots and it was daunting, the perfection was stifling. I wanted a real look into it, warts and all. That’s what I’m trying to do here, too.

So. Not complaining, just…elucidating? If I’m honest, the kicking was making me nauseous at some points. The movements and the way they slid back and forth under my skin and how if I thought about it too much¬† (which was easy to avoid when they were sporadic but more difficult when they were a constant one-two-one-two) kind of made me claustrophobic, completely weirded out by the knowledge that there is something alive, THIS obviously insistently alive, swirling around in there.

I feel guilty writing this, because this isn’t how you’re supposed to feel, I don’t think. And I don’t feel like this ALL the time, I LOVE those kicks, those rolls, I do. They make me smile when I feel one unexpectedly and I invariably raise my hand to my belly, absentmindedly rubbing a little hello in return.

But I didn’t love them so much, yesterday. It’s a strange thing to get used to and physically, yesterday I just wasn’t up for it.

As I wrote in my 22 week post, things with this pregnancy and my kidney condition have gone better than I could have ever expected. In saying this though, it’s important to note that my expectations were not exactly sky-high. And part of getting me to this point where I feel mostly good most days, is the fact that whereas I used to take 8-10 pills a day, I’m now up to taking around 20-24, in addition to the supplements my naturopath has me taking.

This is not always easy, sometimes I forget, sometimes I just don’t want to. I feel willfully disobedient and want to do anything, anything at all to avoid choking down one more fucking pill and I feel stubborn and obstinate and throw a small internal tantrum, railing against these stupid kidneys and these stupid fucking pills.

(and I know, I do know how lucky I am that there are pills, that there is a treatment. I know how lucky I am that it’s not worse. I know how lucky I am that I live in Canada, that I have a health plan to pay for most of the cost. I do know this.)

But sometimes still, despite these numerous daily pills supposed to keep me on an even keel, sometimes I find myself listing to one side and yesterday was one of those days. I woke up with telltale signs of low magnesium, all of my muscles felt like they were contracted 20%, especially the ones in my neck and shoulders, around my jaw.

I had a persistent headache, I felt like sleeping all day. I was grumpy and irascible and hot and just generally an unpleasant person to be around.

I went to work, forgot to take my pills with me, and when I got home I was just done. Done. And Adam, oh god, poor Adam.

How I felt yesterday was how I remember feeling in the months leading up to our wedding. Arguments we’d had for years suddenly took on more weight, more significance as I realized that their resolution didn’t just affect our immediate lives but the next fifty some-odd years. Suddenly we weren’t just arguing about the dishes, or how I parked, we were looking decades into the future and fighting to steer us in one direction or another. Things suddenly seemed more important.

Of course once we married, after the wedding excitement died down and we returned from our honeymoon to this newlywed life that everyone warned us would feel “so different”, it just, wasn’t. Life was the same it had always been, arguments about dishes became just about dishes again, rather than about the larger sociological implication of dividing household chores along gender lines.

Yesterday I felt shades of that same panic, of arguing ahead of myself. It wasn’t about the unemptied dishwasher, or our overgrown lawn. It was me sitting there feeling weak and needing help, and silently panicking that if he wouldn’t even mow the lawn when I asked, how would we raise a child together? If he could ignore a dishwasher stacked with clean dishes clearly waiting to be put away, knowing that if he left it I would have to do it, would he do the same with our tiny son or daughter sitting there in a stinky diaper?

As is so often the case in a marriage, we weren’t arguing about what we were arguing about.

Today, with the distance of a few hours and a good night’s sleep and the clarity that daylight always seems to bring, I can see this. I need to keep reminding myself that it’s not about the dishes. It’s about my anxiety, my frustration over not being able to predict or control the future. It’s about not knowing what will happen.

I need to remind myself that after the birth, after the excitement of bringing this little demon into the world, everything will go back to normal (or a new version thereof). I will be the same person, Adam will be the same person. Our relationship will work as it always has, and fights about the lawn or dirty diapers will go back to being about uncut grass and poop, instead of taking on the weight of our entire relationship – Atlas shrugging under that behemoth weight. That unfair significance.

This is marriage, this pushing against and pulling for. Constant shifting forwards and back- sometimes feeling like you’ve given too much and sometimes feeling like you’ve received more than you ever thought you deserved.

We do well at marriage, we are good together. I just have to trust that we will take on parenting the same way.

Today I sit here and I have only felt one or two kicks, the baby feels soft and quiet and the movements are soft and exploratory instead of hard and insistent. Glory, glory.

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