During the 40-ish weeks in which a woman gestates a small California Raisin (the kind that sings Motown hits), she may encounter many contradictory observations from on-lookers.
"Oh, sooo big!" said the pastor's wife.
"Wow, you hide it so well!" said the new mother.
"Lie on your back," said the chiropractor.
"Don't lie on your back; lie on your left side," said the pregnancy manual.
"Go for the epidural!" said the new mother.
"Don't you want to spend the first moments of meeting your baby not drugged up?" said the other new mother.
The contradictions are symbolic, because pregnancy can be a completely contrary experience. Some days, I am painting the prospective play room, the one room in our home that is drenched dusk to dawn with sunlight. I move up and down the ladder steadily, spraying lucky green paint everywhere, sweatin' to the Oldies, wearing the biggest smile on my face because, for the love of my California Raisin, this kid's play room is going to rock. Other days I am a beached whale sitting on the futon, hoping that if I can send ESP messages to my husband about the frozen pizza I want to eat for dinner, I won't even have to use my mouth for the next 2 hours while I liquidate TiVo.
Some days, I'm contented to know that I am carrying a secret surprise so big, my uterus has ballooned from the size of a fist to the size of a cantaloupe. Other days, the hor-motional tides sweep me up in their wake and nothing can possibly bring me back to the shore of sanity other than the promise that, when I come ashore, I will be allowed to FREAK OUT for at least four continuous minutes.
And that's the intersection where the traffic jam occurs - where the contented pregnant woman in me meets the hor-motional pregnant woman. Neither one wants to yield to the other so they both aggressively veer into one another's lanes and my husband, the abiding passenger, suffers many false starts and whiplash.
The on-lookers will prattle on about their nightmare pregnancy or their happy pregnancy, and I will know that no pregnancy is always 9 months of night terrors or 9 months of beach. There are always glimmers of the contrary, and occasionally, as in my case, they last for at least four continuous minutes. Or maybe four months.
Four months down. Five months to go.