column, Bachelor Girl went and got married. Now
Ive really gone off the deep end. At 41,
Im seven months pregnant. AND its
told this is the natural progression of things,
but I cant help feeling that, after years
of hard work at becoming a well-adjusted spinster,
Ive abandoned single womanhood far too quickly.
Perhaps this is signified by my latest recurring
the dream, I find myself single again after believing
I was marriedor at least on my way to matrimony.
I feel mistaken, misled, deceived, betrayed. In
the dream, Im left wondering how I can possibly
compete in the singles market again, having grown
fat and happy in coupledom. I need to lose weight,
dye my hair, get a Wonderbramaybe have plastic
surgery. Im thinking in the dream about
reading Pamela Churchill Harrimans autobiography
to learn how to engineer serial marriages to the
gazillionaires of the world. If Im gonna
go to all the trouble of transforming my physique,
I might as well be a gold-digger. I wake up depressed.
married for love. I got a great guy whos
gainfully employed (no gazillionairebut
then, I would have married him if he were a waiter),
handsome, happy, bright, fun and loving. Dream
Man even likes my expanding figurehe says
I look like one of those pre-Columbian fertility
goddesses some feminists wear on chains around
rubs my feet at night and sings lullabies into
my belly that seem to calm junior when hes
been stomping on my innards all day. DM reassures
me that my belly button can still catch lint (it
hasnt yet completely disappeared) and that
my boobs arent dragging on the floor (even
though I can no longer SEE the floor).
were on the subject of boobs, theyve
taken on a life of their own. In the first three
months, getting wired for maternity made them
so painful that I felt like I needed a crane to
lift them out of bed every morning. (One pregnant
girlfriends tatas looked like Pamela Andersons
original plus-size implants. She was thrilled
with her new cleavagetill her face
puffed up in direct proportion.) My boobs didnt
grow appreciablythey just turned to lead,
so I dutifully wear a bra 24-hours-a-day in case
they decide to seek my knees while Im sleeping.
recently asked DM if they were still perky or
had become pendulous. "Perky," he said.
"Youre a fertility goddess, not a grandfather
clock." He has a rare gift for saying the
right thing AND making me laugh at the same time.
however, is no laughing matter. I am not one of
those who takes blissfully to the swollen state.
I resent having to give up alcohol and sushi and
soft cheeses and weightlifting. I hateHATEsleeping
on my side (and I hardly ever sleep more than
five hours in a row anymore). Maternity clothes
are scary (took me the longest time to figure
out why maternity underpants are bigger in front
than in back). Maternity books give me heart palpitations.
The idea of labor and childbirthpassing
the equivalent of a bowling ball through an opening
maybe the diameter of a baseballREALLY scares
how did this happen? Well, beyond the birds n
bees, many of my single girlfriends in their late
30s and 40s are struggling with fertility issues.
Like many of them, I had been of the (apparently
mistaken) impression that I had a good decade
before I had to give up on procreation. Even if
the old time clock ticked out, I reasoned, reproductive
technology meant I could still pop em out
into my 50s (though I never did think about whether
Id want to mother an adolescent in my 60s).
getting married, DM and I were ambivalent about
having kid(s). After getting hitched, we decided
maybe it would be a good idea to try and thought
wed give it, like, a year before going for
intervention. Then all hell broke loose in the
media: we women had been fooled. Our biological
time clocks all ticked out in our mid-30s and
we 40-somethings had missed the deadline.
promised myself I wouldnt get stressed or
obsessed about reproductionId seen
how it can damage relationships and drive you
insane. But all of a sudden, I was noticing pregnant
women on the street and feeling cheated. Perhaps
it was something I really wanted after all, or
maybe I was just depressed at the idea that my
body wouldnt function the way I wanted it
to. Ambivalence dissolved into mild desperation.
got a prescription for the fertility drug, Clomid.
But before we had a chance to use it, we traveled
to Italy where DM had some business. There was
a whirlwind drive from Florence south to a medieval
mountaintop village called Scannonot exactly
a leisurely tour. In Scanno, we happened to meet
a psychoanalyst from Milan who was visiting her
nonagenarian mother. She recommended a restaurant
and later joined us there. The proprietor got
us drunk on Montepulciano and endless refills
of dessert wines. The psychoanalyst walked us
to our hotel. Before we parted, she said to me,
apropos of absolutely nothing: "maybe next
time I see you, youll be pregnant."
she cast a spell or have a premonition? Either
way, the pregnancy test two weeks later was positive.
We cant decide whether it was the Montepulciano
or the pasta, but I recently met a woman who got
pregnant in Italyat 45 and after several
failed fertility treatments. Forget in-vitrogo
first trimester was an emotional roller-coaster;
some weeks, I cried almost every night. It might
have had something to do with getting less than
four hours sleep a night for days on end. When
DM tired of trying to reason with me, he stomped
off to do the dishes or hunt wild game. Men! Thankfully,
I was spared morning sickness (although for a
while, the thought of fish made me turn green).
trimester, the sleepand moodsituation
improved. My belly started to swell and fat blue
veins traced my torso like a topographical map.
We went for genetic testing and nervously anticipated
the amniocentesis results; junior passed and they
sent us home with a photo of his penis. Suddenly,
the baby was reallast seen doing a jig on
a sonogram. DM and I had a very relieved, happy,
trimester, Im waddling around like Ive
been riding in a rodeo. Babys kicking up
a storm, launching somersaults, making waves across
my belly. Sometimes its a little too much
like "Alien" for complete comfortat
any moment, I half expect him to come bursting
through my rib cage, take a look around and slither
off down the hall
in utero, juniors incredibly responsive
to soundDM's voice in particular seems to
relax him. Often, babyll start kicking in
the morning when the alarm clock goes off or the
phone rings. Now were making the rounds
of obstetricians, childbirth classes, pediatricians,
hospital maternity wardsand trying to figure
out how to finance child care, schooling, college.
Ill have to get a real job someday,
maybe even move to the burbs (horrors)!
told that Ill quickly forget the pain of
labor and birth (pregnancy Alzheimers?),
that Ill leave any ambivalence I still feel
behind and fall madly in love with the little
critter whos going to make me lose sleep
for the next two or more decades. Ive had
this often wonderfulsometimes horribledelayed
adolescence for 20 years, and Im haunted
by the idea that I havent made the most
of it. If Id known I was going to wind up
happily married and knocked up someday, I might
have taken greater advantage of my "freedom."
But in the end, things turned out exactly the
way I wanted, and I guess we all have to grow
up someday. Im told its the natural
progression of things.
us with your comments.