It hasn’t been an easy couple of months at our home. Morning sickness faded into a sudden, intense lactose intolerance that took way too long to pinpoint… which faded into a sudden, intense heartburn that registers as intense nausea.
All I can say is that for someone who is nauseous all day long I sure can pack on the pounds.
A woman’s body prepares for any eventuality during her pregnancy, and a significant portion of expected weight gain is allotted as “maternal fat and nutrient stores.”
Doesn’t that sound fancy?
My body has apparently decided to outfit itself for some kind of famine of biblical proportions.
Great big earthquake? Stranded on a deserted island? Nuclear winter? Bring it ON. I’ve got maternal stores for MONTHS.
My maternal stores bring the boys to the yard… and they’re like, it’s better than yours….
No. Not really. But wouldn’t that be nice?
The nausea from heartburn is constant, but compared to the horrors of morning sickness it’s more than livable. Unfortunately, I’ve found a new pregnancy joy: Sciatica. (Have I mentioned how much I dislike being pregnant yet?)
Sciatica is doctorese for “a tiny, two inch section of exposed, raw, bleeding, vibrating, pulsating, excruciating nerve in your back that will cause you to whimper in agony and do your best to claw at the walls while remaining absolutely motionless lest you disturb it further.” Sciatica and heartburn are both proof of something I’ve always heartily believed: people should lay eggs.
The good news is that pregnancy did take care of the worst of my symptoms from rheumatoid arthritis. Except for a couple of breakthrough days the swelling and pain is minimal. Yaaay for small favors. Unfortunately, the long-term damage is still there, and packing pounds on an already heavy frame is not doing my damaged knees any good.
I try to enjoy these months of “freedom” from the shadow of RA, but it’s hard, knowing what is probably just around the corner once I give birth. I know it’s my own faulty immune system attacking my joints, but I can’t help but personify it. I feel like I’m sharing my body with an unwelcome guest, a snarling wolf who batters and howls at the door even on the days when he’s not allowed inside. Those of you who live with constant pain know how it can be— there are good days.
There are bad days.
Unfortunately, there just don’t seem to be any free days.
When I was young, I used to dream about flying. I’d revel in the feel of conquering the wind, tasting its sweetness against my face.
Now, I dream about running.
In my dreams I am young, and my body is agile. When I run, my feet flit along the surface of the ground and I can feel the strength of my youth rising up to buoy me. I dash about, never breathless, never hurting. I twist and leap. My body sings with the joy of living.
There’s a release in every movement, a delight in my strength. The purpose behind my dreams is always thinly veiled substitution for the real plot: freedom from my pain.
I can taste the joy of my pain-free, agile body, and it makes me laugh.
Try as I might to avoid the moment, I always wake up. I hate waking up.
Sallow-faced and puffy-eyed, I slowly heave myself to a sitting position, trying desperately to ignore the rolls of extra flesh and the ponderous, heavy feeling of my body. Of my soul.
I love my husband. I love my son. I even love this unborn little parasite who wedges its little feet down in my pelvic cavity and drums its evil little heels against extremely sensitive nerve endings.
I can love them with all my heart, but if I’m honest with myself, it’s not enough. Maybe it is for some woman, or maybe those women are just better at lying to themselves than I am. I need a reason to feel excited about life. I need a purpose. I need something to pit myself against– something a little more intricate and involved than Just. Plain. Surviving.
Why not NanoWriMo?
I admit, it’s not quite the same as backpacking through Europe and Asia, completing the Tevis Cup or hiking the Appalachian Trail, but at least it would be something.
Besides, something seems to have happened to my words.
I used to have a steady flow of words dancing inside of me. They ebbed and flowed, depending on how I felt, but they were always there. It’s soothing, having them inside of me, whispering silently. In quiet times they were calming, trickling by in melodic spurts.
When life went wrong they’d bubbly up, frothy and angry, surging forth in a heated, scalding rush. I had no choice in those moments but to let them splash out onto paper. There was no containing the words when they reached that point.
Some of my best writing came from those moments. Rage-filled and tear-laden, what it lacked in proper grammar it usually made up for in sheer, violent expression. I rarely showed it to anyone. Who has the strength to rip open their emotional veins , spill themselves onto paper, and then show the result to a stranger? What do you say to them? “Please, be gentle when critiquing my lifeblood. Keep an eye out for extra commas, dangling participles, and the very essence of what makes me who I am.”
Here’s the problem, though: Something has happened to my words.It’s not depression. I know that feeling– I spent the better part of a year after the DragonMonkey was born with my smile mask firmly in place, doing my indifferent best to slog through to better times. It’s not that. It’s more like… that side of me that I prized so highly has dwindled. Where once there was a steady gush, now there’s only a trickle. I can feel them sitting there, quietly dormant inside of me. I know I haven’t lost the ability to feel, to write. It’s more like it’s just gone into a quiet hibernation.
And that, more than anything, scares the crap out of me.
Even if I don’t capture the words on paper as often as I should, I’ve always considered myself a writer. I may lack the discipline to sit down in front of a keyboard every night, but that doesn’t keep me from tasting the phrases throughout the day.
Now, suddenly, when I reach for my words… I find nothing.
This silence is eerie.
So… why not do NaNoWriMo? Maybe it will be the jump start I need to shock me back into life again.
On the other hand… I’m exhausted.
I work over 50 hours a week. I’m pregnant and struggling with finding my way through my newly-aggressive rheumatoid arthritis. I’ve got an almost 2-year old son. I have a husband with 3 jobs who is going to school full-time.
I don’t want to start something that I can’t finish. That would just be depressing. I’ve done too much of that in my life, and I’m trying to shut that door very firmly behind me.
Also, if I’m honest with myself, I’ve never been all that great at fictional pieces. I’m too realistic, and the people in my books tend to be too realistic. By the time everybody’s finished using their God-given common sense, it’s somewhere around the third chapter and it usually makes sense for everyone to just wander off and watch Grey’s Anatomy or do some dishes instead of doing anything book-worthy.
Realism never made for great drama.
On the other hand, I’ve got to do SOMETHING. I considered doing doing NaNoWriMo last year, but I hadn’t even heard of its existence until it was already half a week into the competition. By the time I decided I wanted to do it I was already more than a week in the hole and I knew I’d never finish in time.
Have any of you done NaNoWriMo? I mean REALLY done it? Was it worth it?
For that matter— what do you do to pull yourselves out of your slumps?
I used to:
A: Turn to horses (not a possibility right now for obvious, pregnancy-related reasons)
B: Take some time to myself and just disappear from society. I’d quit answering phone calls, quit going online and just spend some time living in my thoughts. I’d spend every spare minute I could outdoors. You’d be amazed how good for the soul a few consecutive nights of walking a beach can be.
Unfortunately, time to yourself and living with a two year old are pretty much mutually exclusive.
So, no words to purge the mess, no time alone, and no horses. I’m pretty much at a loss at how to fix me.
Any suggestions, guys?