July 28, 2012

Sex reveal (cross posted)

I'm of the perspective that neutral baby things are ideal for first pregnancies, after all if your family expands further it is great for your items to be versatile. I also just enjoy neutral, bright colors. Pastels are pretty but in my own personal (and clumsy) experience pretty shows more dirt, spills, spit ups, and stains.

Still, I am a little too excited to keep the sex of the fetus a secret until December. And Chris and I are a little too impatient to wait for a surprise (though we admire deeply the parents who do wait! When else in your life can you experience such an incredible moment of shared surprise?!). So I am thrilled to announce what we're having (which confirms the suspicions and instincts of many of our family and friends, all along)!

My mom presented me with this bracelet that she purchased in the hospital gift shop when we were told what we're having during my anatomy ultrasound. I laughed through happy tears and asked if she had a blue one too, just in case. She said she didn't think she'd need it. Although she had a 50% chance of being right, I am still fairly amazed by her insistence throughout my pregnancy.

I still gravitate toward neutral items and (as a person mindful about gender fluidity) will be resistant to gender-normative ideas regarding character and personality traits while the fetus remains in utero and through her earliest months and years of life. But it is hard to deny the epic adorable that is girl baby clothing!

Thank you for all the kind words and messages of support along the way. It's been really heartening to hear from other women who have already begun their families, who plan to begin a family, and/or who are enthusiastic about others' choices to begin families. It means a lot to me. xo

July 27, 2012

One's on the way... Plus belly shots

Almost 22 weeks.

I feel bigger every day. And the top of my belly is starting to get more round and full. The fetal movements are consistent and sometimes distracting. It's very exciting and although kicks feel strong and significant for me (because they radiate from within when I catch them with my hand on the outside) Chris still hasn't been able to discern between movement from breathing and the fetus. I'm sure as the fetus grows it will be easier to feel (and become less novel to me... or maybe not? It is a fascinating and surreal experience that I tried to imagine in the weeks leading up to "the quickening").

I've been thinking a lot about motherhood and feminism lately. Growing up, one of the videotapes my siblings and I watched obsessively was "Muppet Treasures," which is a collection of skits from the Muppet Show. And this week I've found myself humming Loretta Lynn's rendition of Shel Silverstein's clever anthem for multiple-time, stay-at-home, mothers-to-be, "One's on the Way." Although I am not going to stay at home and will return to work full time when my leave is over, I do think the song highlights enduring socio-economic and cultural differences that alienate and divide mothers, even four decades later.

In the history of feminism, we have needed women to speak out against biological essentialism that reduces us to some sexist and idealized notion of inherent maternalism. But in that process of undoing, the resilient mechanisms of patriarchy found another method through which to pit types of women against other types of women and types of mothers against other types of mothers. Contemporary feminism encompasses many forms but because being pregnant is all still new to me, I am navigating unfamiliar terrain. And sometimes it is frustrating to acknowledge how divisions endure and how systemic mechanisms serve to further alienate women from each other. This is part of why "One's on the Way" looms large in my current consciousness.

Of course, the song's witty intra- and inter-gender politics didn't occur to me as a kiddo. But it's something I've been contemplating frequently, in the wake of article after article about whether women can "have it all," or perhaps more relevant, whether "having it all" is even on the menu for contemporary, middle-and working-class mothering. It's a lot to chew on! Anyway, you can see the skit from the Muppets here or Lynn singing the anthem solo, here.

Outfit details:
Old Navy Maternity Maxi Dress: buy it here (fyi this is sized generously. I am wearing a small with room to grow).

July 25, 2012

Recent preparatory consumption

Today on Plum District, the Honest Company has a deal where you spend $20 and get $40 worth of natural baby products/household products. I bit because I had been considering grabbing some things to try for a while. You can access the deal by clicking here.

Gap and Old Navy (and their affiliated brands) have a code that offers 30% off (JULY2012), including maternity and baby things already on sale. I shopped through ebates for cashback. Above are some of my favorites for a pregnant body, and babies of both genders. What baby wouldn't want a lobster print romper?!

July 21, 2012

Kicking and looking vs. not looking pregnant

Nearly 21 weeks

Last night while resting my hand on my abdomen, I felt two kicks so strong and distinct that they made me gasp. It was when I was winding down to fall asleep so I grabbed Chris's hand hoping for more. Of course, it stopped at least until both of us tired of waiting. Regardless, it was so wild to feel it from the outside and inside.

I proceeded to dream of a baby who I was attempting to swaddle, much to their dismay. It "baby hulked" its way out of the swaddle every time I tried to wrap it up. Very cute and funny! It felt really real, too.

Every time I think I am starting to look pregnant, onlookers (family, friends, and acquaintances) inform me I do not. I guess I am not used to seeing a thicker-for-me middle so it seems so obvious from my vantage point. But there is plenty of time left for me to "look" pregnant. In the meanwhile, I will enjoy that I can still go to the gym and feel ease in my continued mobility.

Outfit details:
Kate Spade rosette top (from the Kate Spade Outlet)
Max Studio skirt (from Marshalls)

July 16, 2012

On bonding and psychic connections

Celebrating my bday at home with Chris... the gifts were all family-friendly and family-themed.

The "pregnancy, week by week" emails include two things consistently: a produce size comparison of the fetal growth and suggestions for how the pregnant person should be bonding with the fetus. Chris's (and my) favorite part about these emails is the former. I find myself generally ambivalent when it comes to the latter.

I understand the purpose of these bonding tips is to try to make more "real" what is otherwise a fairly abstract and surreal existential state. But I am not sure that I'm ready to be singing songs and reading stories to my abdomen. I guess I am skeptical that doing so would produce a more "bonded" maternal identity. It isn't that I feel a disconnect either. I just find the suggestions to be bizarre (and politically unnerving) in their subtextual assumptions about personage.

The increased feelings of fetal movement have made far more real my experience of (an otherwise fairly low symptom) pregnancy than anything else. Those brief encounters of sight and sound in earlier weeks were helpful too.

I have heard women describe pregnancy as a feeling of being haunted (by a presumably friendly spirit). Being haunted wasn't my experience early on, when I was having dizzy spells and couldn't drink coffee. That felt much more like an enduring hangover. But lately there is a feeling of something abstract and omnipresent that stays with me. I find myself unconsciously resting a hand on my abdomen. And I'm discerning with ease my stomach's own grumblings from the "quickening." I may not be reading books or singing songs but I catch myself communicating psychically and occasionally aloud to that looming presence. It feels silly to admit that on some subconscious level my brain thinks that a psychic connection is possible but because the fetus is internal to me, I guess it makes logical (albeit irrational) sense.

Wait, do I actually believe a fetus is capable of reading thoughts the way I have presumed a ghost (or at times in my life when I was feeling spiritual, a higher power) could? This doesn't jive with so many of my actual (rational) beliefs. Pregnancy is so weird.

July 13, 2012

Bump Progression

If you read my other blog, Consume or Consumed you've already seen the first of these bump progression shots!

 Nearly 18 weeks!

Nearly 20 weeks!

Things are moving along and I am almost halfway there. I cannot believe it. We found out the gender as well as much more important developmental information (like the presence of necessary organs and what not) at my anatomy scan on Monday! Feeling good (and hungry), sleeping well, and starting to really feel movement regularly. It can't yet be felt from the exterior but I can feel shifts and pokes and occasional hiccups which is insane and surreal.

None of the clothes I'm wearing above are actual "maternity" clothes. With all the stretchy options and my bump still being relatively small, it hasn't felt necessary. I can still wear my regular shorts and a few of my drawstring skirts (which I admit, were all much more loose and baggy at the waist this time last year!). Many of my dresses no longer fit which is to be expected. But I feel good and comfortable.

Outfit 1 details:
Kate Spade Rosette top
Anthropologie "Ancient Myths" maxi skirt
BP sandals from Nordstrom

Outfit 2:
LA Made jersey dress from Piperlime.com sale