I just checked my book sales for the first time in two months. This is the first time I’ve logged into my own website in nearly three. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably forgotten that you follow me on Twitter. If you’ve worked with me at all for the last few months, you might have noticed that instead of being prompt, responsive and committed to meeting my own high standards, I’ve been juuuuuuust squeaking by.
Sorry, world. It was unavoidable. Something has been sucking the life out of me in a greedy quest to feed its own existence. It’s a baby. And I am, of course, more than willing to let it do so for the next 19 to 25 years. Though I was fully unprepared for how difficult the first trimester would be (the fatigue! the evil, stifling blanket of fatigue!), everything that I am and all that I believe preclude me from blaming my need to temporarily recede from reality on a pregnancy. Oh no. If only that was the only thing.
For the past many weeks, my husband and I have also been homelessish. In early August, the house we have been attempting to purchase for nearly five months (really) was delayed past the end of our last home’s lease, and we had no idea how long the interim period would be. We stayed with our parents for a week. Then in a hotel for a few days. Then we spent another week in the home of a friend who was on vacation. And then it became evident that we needed a longer-term solution. So we have been living in an extended stay hotel for nearly a month. With our giant dog. Across the street from the mall.
I am aware that being legitimately homeless is far more soul crushing and exhausting than what we have been doing. I know many people’s situations are much worse than anything I’ve ever faced. That said, trying to remain an active member of society, let alone a productive creative professional, when both your home and workplace are shifting from beneath you for an undetermined amount of time, and while half your day is being sucked up by managing the paperwork hellstorm that is a two-month delayed house closing, is a tad difficult.
Then there was the anxiety. Not just about the house-that-might-never-be and the homelessness-that-might-never-end, but also because this pregnancy, which we have wanted so much to celebrate, was my second this year, the first one ending in miscarriage. And thus, I did what I assume every woman with an 0 for 1 pregnancy success rate does upon learning she’s pregnant, which is to assume the worst and fret over everything. All day, every day, I was overwhelmed with a fear I couldn’t shake. Add to that a hormonal mandate to take at least one nap a day and, even on my best days, only being able to accomplish about 70% of my normal output due to a fatigue so paralyzing it bordered on depression, and life has felt pretty damn near impossible for the last few months. And as someone who prides herself on multi-tasking and daily achievement, it has all been rather demoralizing.
And then last Wednesday happened. I had an ultrasound appointment, during which the tech had a difficult time getting the right angle for a particular measurement. The result was that I got to spend nearly an hour watching a live sonogram of our baby, which looked, for the first time, like a baby. And it moved. It waved its tiny arms all over. It kicked its skinny legs. Every once in a while, it would kind of arch its little neck and roll its head around like it was working on getting comfy. By the time it was over, whatever the last thing I had convinced myself was threatening my pregnancy was completely gone. Because there it was, being an incredible little thing, growing and healthy, and existing totally outside of the hurricane of fear and anxiety I’d been living in for so long. Somewhere I could exist too.
At that exact same time, our house was under final inspection by an appraiser. By the time I left the appointment, we learned it had passed the inspection. Nothing else was going to prevent us from closing. We were in the clear.
They say first semester fatigue lifts like a fog and pregnancy truly becomes enjoyable one magical day around weeks 12 to 14. Though it seems impossible that the timing was sheer coincidence, I woke up the next morning with my fog gone. Our baby is going to be fine. We’re going to move into our house (closing is Friday!). I accomplished more that day than I had in months, with an energy and drive I happily recognized as my old normal. I didn’t even need a nap. I haven’t napped since!
It pained me to have to pull back from my normal life. I worried, at some points, that by the time I was capable of functioning like a human again, the world would have moved on without me. But now, I’m feeling fine about my momentary withdrawal. It was necessary. I survived it. (We survived it. Poor husband, who has basically managed both of our lives for months.) I don’t worry about the forthcoming stresses of pregnancy or parenthood having a similar impact on me later on. Just not worried about it. After an exercise in pulling back, I feel fully prepared to step back up. There are simply too many exciting things to step up to for me to do anything but. Bring it on.
P.S. OMG, we’re having a kid.