Here’s what I’m doing for Mother’s Day.
I’ll probably have brunch at my mom’s with my husband and the kids. Then I’ll get wicked heartburn and waddle back to my minivan. I’m 38 weeks pregnant with our fourth child, and about to turn 43. It’s been an interesting nine months.
Back in September, I had just put my youngest child on the schoolbus and thought, wow, my life is really going to change now. All three kids in school full time. For the first time in a decade I’ll have my days to myself! I’ll write another book, take on more assignments, get to the gym four times a week, take up squash, run for political office, build model airplanes, climb mountains, ford streams.
Almost immediately, I started throwing up. Around the clock. I knew the drill. I was definitely pregnant.
As I write this, my husband is crashing around in the background sighing heavily and tossing stuff out of our closet and muttering under his breath that our (small-ish) house just isn’t big enough for our (large-ish) family.
It’s a four-bedroom bungalow, a Sears house built in the 1920s. It’s not huge but basically it has room for everyone and everything. The kids and I stare at their dad and wonder what he is expecting to happen to the size of our house between now and next week. Besides, how much room is a little baby going to take up? Babies are little. There’s always room for another baby–kind of like Jello.
We’ve emptied out my home office. Now it’s the nursery (which is what it was five years ago before it became my home office). This created considerable clutter with boxes of files and loose papers getting shuffled to our bedroom. Having an office is your bedroom is not very feng shui but, on the plus side, I won’t be getting any work done anyway. I’ll toss some files and have the kids organize their toys to make room for “the tot” as our five-year-old calls his new brother or sister.
That’s another thing, we don’t know what we’re having. Even though there are ample opportunities to find out, we decided to be surprised. I’ve been evaluated at the hair salon, the grocery store, and at our town hall signing up for Little League. Some people want to feel my belly, others just look, some have me turn around. The concensus? It’s about 50/50.
You’re all in front–that’s a boy.
Your face isn’t puffy–boy.
Your belly’s not pointy enough–girl.
Your wedding ring still fits–boy.
You already have two boys so–it’s a girl.
I didn’t let anyone dangle a ring on a string over my belly this time. I don’t really care what it is as long as it’s a baby, a healthy baby. My long-suffering 10-year-old daughter will either get the little sister she’s hoping for or she’ll get a third little brother and will remain the princess in our house. She’ll always have her own room.
Meanwhile, I sit here typing with my stomach stuck to the top of my thighs and flip through the spring magazines:
Banish Belly Bulge!
Bikini Fit in 6 Weeks!
Fight Flab with French Soup Diet!
The belly banishing, bikini fitting, and flab fighting will have to wait. Friends encourage me to eat and put on weight because I can. Have a piece of birthday cake. Go for it. You have an excuse. You can lose it later.
You look great!
This is what the women say.
But men react differently to my (large-ish) appearance. Whoa, you got big! Hey, look at you! You’re ready to pop!
One nice dad said, “You look fine, like you swallowed a beach ball.”
“Yeah,” my husband added, “you look like a woman who swallowed a woman who swallowed a beach ball.”
This is why I don’t help him with the closets. In fact I think I’ll go cram a few more things in there.
I’m looking forward to three days of hospital rest, pain killers included. Happy Mother’s Day.
–Susan Konig, a journalist, is author of the new book Why Animals Sleep So Close to the Road (And Other Lies I Tell My Children).