I’ve been scarce lately, which wasn’t my intention, but not being scarce wasn’t necessarily my intention either, so there you have that. Still, occasionally I get a moment of clarity and realize, in a guilty panic, that I am not keeping in touch with family and friends, not being particularly active on social media, not writing, and not really going anywhere that does not dispense medical care or food.
Normally, for me, that kind of social isolation is a very bad sign. It generally means that I am hiding from the world because I am very busy convincing myself that I am a giant failure with crunchy failure coating and creamy bitter nougat. There is absolutely some agoraphobia at play here, and it could have something to do with this last breakup.
When I left, I felt as though I were running for my very survival. I can’t objectively measure the level of danger I was in, I can only tell you that my brain was sure that my life hung in the balance, and that there is no small amount of shame in realizing that you’ve made a baby with someone that had you sleeping with an eye open.
But then, my physical vulnerabilities have left me uneasy in public, too. There’s something very hyper-vigilant and primal about my need for personal space and calm surroundings. It doesn’t take much to make me feel cornered like a wounded animal.
Still, that doesn’t reconcile all the phone calls unmade, tweets unsent, and posts unwritten. I haven’t been sharing much of my inner dialogue as I once did, and I suppose that’s a function of all the changes going on within and around me.
My brain is changing; my reward centers are being rewired and primed to care for a new life. This is fascinating, in the sense that sometimes I feel like I know what a strange baby on the other side of the room is crying about, and terrifying in the sense that I might be actually losing actual intelligence about things that make me a grownup with an actual business, which I will need to be nice and successful if I want to wean this kid before he’s five.
I think about things, not in a dark or panicked way, but with kind of a languid objectivity. Like how a woman seemingly incapable of keeping a boyfriend can raise a strong and healthy son. But then, maybe I am the best mother for a son for just that reason, especially if I can admit the part my own commitment ambivalence plays into my circumstances. I worry about how I will show him that the world is a good and safe place most of the time, when my brain is hardwired to see danger lurking in the shadows.
I ponder circumcision, I notice with no small amount of wonder that while I have deep-rooted agnostic tendencies, I cannot bear the thought of not christening this baby. I contemplate my ability to be objective about who should be involved at what level in my son’s life; to strike a balance between believing in the best of people and the urge to rip the throat out of anyone brave enough to look at him sideways.
My body is changing, and while you would think I might have been more prepared for that, I was not prepared, not for the level of attention required by all of my bodily functions, nor for the free licence people take to comment on how big my breasts have gotten, or that I still just look fat- things that no one could ever really say if I weren’t gestating a human being. Sharing my body with this baby and with the general audience is harder than I thought it would be but still well worth the effort.
All of this thinking, worrying, and wondering is done under the watchful eye of my original family. The ancient whisper of familiar pheromones is like nature’s Ativan, or maybe it’s all the ice cream they feed me, but I’m generally calm and happy as my thoughts drift between wills and pacifiers.
I’ve not grown much patience in the last five months, either, and this infernal, eternal waiting is difficult. In a sense, we are more together than we will ever be again. In another sense, my entire existence is upended by a small male whose only communication with me is the occasional roundhouse kick to my uterus.
If any of this doesn’t sound like the most self-centered and boring conversation you’ve ever had, let’s catch up. It will only take me an hour to pee and find my shoes…