Up until Tuesday I had been immersing myself in the familiar comfort of academia. The smooth distraction of study, of thin slices of paper between my fingers, of late nights spent bent over this article or that with highlighter in hand, the rushed moments before a deadline where all that knowledge is flowing out of one form and into another. Now I find myself in this quiet space between spring and fall where I have nothing to focus on.
The isolation of pregnancy is beginning to overwhelm. The comments are wearing “You are getting so big, are you really going to get bigger?” or “29 weeks, you are so small. Are you sure you are eating enough?” “Aren’t you a little young to be having children?” My body has begun to ache and pull in all different directions and the weight it starting to accumulate more rapidly even though I am trying to stay away from ice cream and french fries I desperately crave at times. Little Harper is using me as her own personal bounce house and favors the spot right beneath my ribcage on the right hand side. Because she is so active I often find myself experiencing small panic attacks when she is still for too long, absolutely sure that something is wrong. I pace and bend and stretch attempting to get her to move. I drink ice water and orange juice and then just when I’ve decided something must be going terribly amiss she twitches or turns and I start to breath again.
I listen to my friends talk about their lives, about the parties, the fear of graduating from college, the cat and mouse of dating, the all together unattached nature of their existence and as my belly grows so does the distance between us. Mostly, I do not envy them, I love my life. I love my husband who still amazes me daily with his humor and kindness, my little dogs who curl around me with their heads on my belly growing more and more quizzical as Harper’s movements grow more pronounced and my little guppy in utero who I learn more about with each passing day as we both prepare for her to come into this world. Yes, I really do feel lucky to have been dealt this hand in life but our differences are so distinct that I realize just how alone I am in the whole thing, just how different my life is from theirs and the island I am on floats farther and farther from everyone else. Often times I find myself jealous of the circles of women sitting in coffee shops or at restaurants, sipping something and talking freely and slipping into comfortable silence but most importantly not alone. I fear that when all of this has come to pass, one of the biggest experiences of my life, the birth of my first child which will undoubtedly be a rude shock into motherhood, I will turn to find the room empty as people have slowly but surely filtered out and moved on to less foreign things.
Every sound is a testament to my desolation, the tick of the clock, the passing of cars on the street outside, dogs barking in the distance. As the summer approaches and the days get longer and more beautiful I find myself awake in the middle of the night, sometimes for three or four hours, listening to Guy breathing beside me, the dogs shifting positions, glancing over to the baby crib recently assembled in the corner of the bedroom and watching the day bloom from the darkness. It is only in these moments when I find rare solace in my isolation and feel the hope that this baby brings.