There’s a lot of cool stuff about being pregnant. There’s a lot of really horrible stuff too but I think that’s the whole point of life really. No pain, no gain right? Today, I want to tell you about something that happened to me when I was pregnant that wavered from cool to horrible and back again.
I don’t really remember everything about my OBs visits when I first discovered I was pregnant. I remember there was a lot of questions, a lot of paper work, a lot of excitement and a whole lot of Dos and Don’ts (bummer). I don’t remember the questions really or what exactly was on all the papers I filled out that day but I DO remember one particular moment and I think I remember it because it made obscure “I’m having a baby shit” really real for me. “When was your last period?” your OB asks, and you’re pretty sure, maybe not exactly but you give her an estimation and then she does it. She takes out this little magical paper wheel. She spins it carefully lining up arrows with numbers and then says… “So your DUE DATE IS….”
“Wow… did she just say what I think she did??…. are you serious? So my
DUE DATE is MY BIRTHDAY???” Yup. She said it alright.
Now I know that due dates being inaccurate is an understatement but it’s still a really weird feeling being told that your child’s birth will coincide exactly with the date of your own. At first I remember I felt really happy. I can’t really explain why. It was kind of like being told that before you even feel your baby’s first kick and before you even know if you will be welcoming a boy or a girl, you already share something super special with them. When my OB told me this news, I thought of how many times I would tell people that my baby would be my ultimate birthday present. I imagined the expressions on their faces, and if saying it would eventually get annoying.
I imagined being in the hospital on that day and being showered not just with well wishes for the new baby but also with birthday presents for ME. I imagined joint birthday parties with pinatas, and sharing the same sensibilities and passions with this little person who would be my ultimate astrological twin. In hindsight I can only review my thoughts at this time with three words: How fucking stupid.
The closer I got to my due date the more fantasies I reveled in. By then, I knew I has having a girl which brought with it a whole new level of foolish and idealistic scenarios that danced around in my head. She wouldn’t just act like me, no no, being that my baby is is now a girl she would, of course, look just like me as well! I would fashion a clone of myself inside my own body… correction, destiny would. Why else would she be scheduled to arrive on a day which obviously was intended originally for me??
Everything seemed so fantastic. My belly grew larger and rounder and so did my expectations. It was all so fucking wonderful……. until it wasn’t.
So I wake up and it is the day. MY day, and mine in so many ways. It was my birthday, it was my due day, it was my Birthdue day. So, why wasn’t I feeling anything? I waited. My husband kissed me and wished me a happy birthday and I got all the calls from family members wishing me the same. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s great and all, but where is this baby?? As the day trudged on, I felt the usual movement in my belly but not much else. I was getting disappointed, I was getting discouraged… I was getting pissed.
“Why do they give people a due date in the fucking first place???” I thought. What a fucking racket. “Why cant they just say something like the first week in April, or the end of November??” “Do these OBs really think that little fucking paper wheel somehow turns their asses in to God?? You just spin it and tell some eagerly expecting mother when she’s going to give birth down to the very day??? Okay bitch, why don’t you spin your little fucking paper wheel and tell me what tomorrow’s Pick 4 numbers are gonna be then huh!? What are you some kind of modern day soothsayer substituting your crystal ball for a fucking spinny wheel?? Where’d you get that thing anyway? Thing looks like a decoder ring from a fucking cereal box.”
Yes, so these are the things going through my mind while I lay in bed on my birthday until it is no longer my birthday. Needless to say, not one of my better birthdays.
The next day I woke up and realized I wasn’t mad at my OB or her paper voodoo wheel. I was pissed, rather, that I had banked so hard on trying to make a fantasy become reality. I didn’t realize it then, but this whole experience was really just preparation for the pitfalls of parenting in general. Was this the real destiny that was laid out for me? The whole process of learning to be let down, but not letting it get YOU down is as vital as it is recurring. And going even deeper, it’s the grander lesson of learning to be selfless — something that takes real getting used to when you first become a parent, and something that never goes away.
So I did of course give birth, and she did come close. Two days after my birthday to be exact, which as it happens, turned out to be absolutely perfect. As the past 6 years have shown me.
You see, there are years when I want to have a birthday and years I don’t. When I do, it is far enough away from my daughter’s that I CAN do MY thing.
When I don’t, it’s close enough to my daughter’s that I can completely ignore it and focus on her’s instead.
As the number keeps going up, and one year slips past the next, I find myself favoring the latter.
I should warn her though, when I get up to a birthday, like the big 4-0, the one who will be learning the lesson of selflessness will be her. And so she’ll have to settle for something a bit more quaint.
Happy Birthday to me.