Disappearing Acts. On a daily basis, my patience and sanity disappear without so much as an alacazam. Case in point – the nursery. The room that will soon house the baby was, until about 2 weeks ago, a multi-purpose space. The transformation has involved hiring a crew to relocate the piano and some other heavier pieces of furniture; moving our home office upstairs; cleaning out a closet that’s stored everything from our vacuum cleaner to our dvd’s; and swapping out various bookshelves, framed photos, and decorative oddities throughout the rest of the house. For awhile it seemed as though everywhere we turned, we found another something that had to be moved in order to make room for baby. As MKL and I navigated our housekeeping “to-do” list, we argued, we compromised, and we longed for the day when we’d be able to stand in the doorway, admiring the finished product.
A few nights ago our bff came over to help us paint. After dinner we started to clear a few last-minute things out of the room. I’m not sure of the precise moment when my hormones took over, but apparently I wanted to give our guest/volunteer a show. The logical part of me that usually predominates in any project setting gave in to the power of pregnancy magic and…poof! It just disappeared. As with every illusion, there was a cover – a distraction to take the audience’s attention away from the trick. Pregnancy hormones became that cover, and I began to cry. A lot. For a good 10 minutes. It seems that the hormones didn’t think we were making enough progress in the room. My disappearing common sense knew better, though, and returned almost as quickly as it left. Just like magic.
Levitation. The art of levitation is one that I’m still mastering, but I’m getting there. I find that “pregnancy brain” has not just affected my basic arithmetic skills, but also my balance and coordination. However, through the magic of pregnancy, I’ve been able to make entire glasses of liquid suspend themselves in mid-air for a few seconds before hitting the ground. Sadly, those glasses are usually full of someone else’s drink and I seem to only be able to pull this trick off in public. But I think it still counts.
Three-Card Monte. In place of the cards in this trick, I use pairs of pants, three being the exact number of pairs I have that fit over my bump. I flatly refuse to expand my wardrobe too much, since I’ll only be pregnant for another two months. So each morning I do a little routine with my closet. I move the three fitting pants around quickly and distract my own eye into thinking I’ve found the money pair. And then I pick out one of a dozen maternity shirts and call it a day. It may not be an impressive trick, and it’s really more of a con than any other. But by the end of it, I’m fooled – albeit briefly – into thinking I don’t look like I’m smuggling a bowling ball.
Escape Trick. It’s hard not to feel a little caged in a pregnant body. We’re subject to a wide variety of physical symptoms, most of which you probably already know about: swollen feet, sore back and hips, stretch marks, etc. And there are more that no one mentions to you until they happen, at which time some wise mother of six will confirm that she also got winded getting into the car, or that yes, it does in fact take a helper to get you off the couch by the time you hit 30 weeks. She’ll probably also reassure you that your belly will eventually move on its own like that scene in Alien, but will hopefully convince you that all the visible movement is normal. The physical side of pregnancy is well-documented, and impossible to escape until you’re ready to deliver. The emotional symptoms are less well-known, and involve a lot more than letting your inner bitch shine through (personally, I mastered that skill long before I was pregnant). The pregnant mind traps me into constant list-making. I think all the time about what still needs to get done before the baby comes, play a game of “juggle the cash” in preparation for our meetings with the adoption attorney, and spend hours a day trying to figure out the baby’s gender. But just for 45 minutes each day, I escape. I spend my commute listening to inane chatter on morning radio, or singing at the top of my lungs. And for those brief stretches of time, I am able to pull off the illusion, and let myself forget about the baby. I can escape.
These tricks are each fascinating in their own special ways, and the body truly is full of surprises for these 9 months. But the most magical part of pregnancy involves those around you. It’s in the sweet and earnest “how are you” emails and texts from our friends and family. It’s in the way my wife worries about my every move and anticipates my every need. It’s in the fact that our bff actually came back yesterday to help us paint, and how our nursery magically looks like a nursery now. The magic of pregnancy is that everyone who loves you is just as enchanted as you are.