Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"I'm pregnant"

I said these words to a former colleague today, when she asked how my plans for a PhD were coming along. She threw her head back and laughed, and laughed. And then I laughed, too. It is, after all, a bit ridiculous. Everything I had planned is uprooted. And yet, in the hole that's left where my goals were, is a reassured sense that things will be okay. (Note: flair for the dramatic is certainly not lost during gestation.) Besides, when were things ever really that stable?

I'm getting better at saying it without wanting to cry afterwards. I told the ladies at the dentist office today, and it wasn't so bad. Sometimes--in fact, a lot of times--I'm pretty happy about it. One thing's for sure, though. I'm not getting better at recoiling when people begin to coo at me, or offer me horrendous advice that in no way applies to me.

I've learned that once these words are spoken, the utterer becomes public property. No discussion is off limits--correction--several subjects are certainly off limits, but having a pregnant woman in the discussion suddenly makes people feel entitled to the ridiculously personal details of my life. The exchange of information takes place as coffeepot banter. My life? down the drain. Can you hand me the sugar?

I'm getting better at connecting the dots now. What is the most riveting and personal experience of my lifetime is actually pretty exciting news for other people, too. It's OK to share (just don't touch me). And what I can't really get over is how the most riveting and personal experience of my life is also quite a universal one, one that ties me in with centuries and continents of poets and thinkers and just plain ol' wonderful, lovely women. I don't say this to marginalize women or men who do not have children. There are several layers of experience that connect us and identify us with those who came before, and those who are around us; I just happen to have stumbled across one that I didn't have before. And as with anytime you find yourself connected to a new vein, it's as much a blessing as a curse.

..and since I first acknowledged these words, my speeling has gone down the drain.


Dedalus said...


What? Something in my eye. Geez.

*gruff punch on upper arm*

Nice job, kid. Carry on.

(Let me be the first to say: girl. And I don't believe in any mystical shit but it just seemed obvious. Hey, I've got a fifty-fifty chance of being right. She'll be awesome.)

Dr. Virago said...

Just to be contrary, I'm guessing boy.

More seriously, there is no hole where your goals were -- there's just a detour. I know lots of people who had kids during their PhD years, and in many ways it's a lot easier at that point than when you're in your first job. And just think what an awesome role model to your girl or boy you'd be. And by the time you're done, s/he'll be old enough to go to your hooding ceremony -- how cool is that?!

I'm not giving up on you, so don't give up on yourself.