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xmas letter from a new parent

Dear family, friends, and strangers,

I reflect on 2014 and its many life changers.

Last new year’s was spent with my head in the bowl

But not due to shots at the local watering hole.

I had a bun in the oven and six weeks of morning sick.

Come summer we expected a new Dornadic.

Fatter and fatter I grew

staying away from meats, cheese, and any kind of brew.

Giant belly, swollen feet, and a bloody bumhole

Waddling around, counting down to the big arrival.

Until one day in August, the doc said, “We’ve got to get that sucker out.”

After lots of poking and coaxing, and a little (ok, big) shout

There she was, a skinny screaming pup, with long hands and feet.

Dark brown hair, blue eyes, we were so excited to meet.

The family said congrats, dressed in their best

Then promptly headed to Santa Barbara for a wedding love fest.

We brought her home, and as she lay on our bed, a tight screaming ball

We looked at each other, eyes wide, and giggled, “Now what, doll?”

Sure enough, she kept us guessing,

Is she eating, sleeping, pooping enough??? We were obsessing.

Then French people came and invaded our home.

Well-meaning grandparents, armed with baby clothes, oils, and tome.

Then it was all bavoirs, tétines, coucous, doudous.

Est-ce qu’elle mange, dort, fait caca bien???

Et puis, au revoir et à bientôt, merci, de rien.

Back to 4am feedings

Online readings

To pooplosions

And lotions

Reflux.

Sucks.

And just when I thought, I can’t do this, enough is enough

She looked square in the eye and smiled at us.

And with that, the heart melted, OK, she’s a keeper.

Happy holidays to you and your Santa believers!

babyfoot

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

So that’s where my original letter ended, but then my friend sent this response and I had to include it because it’s so splendid:

 

Just read your sweet xmas letter.

Things will sometimes be down and then get better.

And so take note, these little munchkins of ours are smarter than you think.

Just when you are at wit’s end and on the brink,

They turn around and give you a wink.

Our hearts melt and are overjoyed,

Till two months later and the next mental leap that leaves us destroyed.*

It’s definitely a journey like no other I’ve found.

Seeing them turn into real people is way better than being round.

 

*Originally “annoyed” she changed it to “destroyed.” I think this says a lot but I’m no Freud.

 

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Expecting: A Zine About Pregnancy

belly parade

Dear readers, fellow pregnant ladies and those who think pregnancy might be a hoot, I made a zine about my experience being pregnant. It’s not about the adventures and misadventures that led up to it, nor will it include the labor, delivery, or gory aftermath of childrearing. I will not broach the natural versus medicalized birth debate. Nor will I give any helpful tips or insights to alleviate physical or mental discomfort.

It is simply about what a strange time pregnancy is, how it changed my relationships with other people, with food, how it generally complicates social interactions, and all the bodily weirdness that no one tells you about. And you may identify with some of it. Or not. I’m writing it down now because I assume it will get wiped from my memory shortly after I give birth.

The physical paper zine is available on etsy and hopefully soon at Pegasus Books in Berkeley and Needles & Pens in SF! You should check out those locations anyway for their awesomeness. As well as San Francisco Zine Fest Aug 30-31 in Golden Gate Park.

Here are some of the illustrations in the zine as well as outtakes. Rest assured, there are no fewer than 32 nipple illustrations that appear in the zine. (I love painting nipples and bellies.)

first trimester floating

fetal fruit

about me

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Weird things people say when you’re pregnant

I’ve refrained from telling pregnancy stories until now because well, they’re pretty boring if you’re not pregnant. However, I think anyone can enjoy a good round of “weird things people say.” These weird things were said to me in the recent past.

Size Matters. Being pregnant sends the message that it is now OK to openly discuss your shape, size, and weight. Even strangers will engage in this behavior.

“You’re so big.”

“It’s so big.”

“You’re so small.”

“You’re carrying so low.”

“Can I touch it?”

“Oh. You don’t look pregnant.”

“Don’t worry, my friend gained 80 pounds when she was pregnant. She lost it all but now her skin sags.”

 

Vices. Be it their own or on your behalf, it’s now OK to comment on your personal choices.

“Are you supposed to be eating/drinking that?”

“It’s OK to drink a little.”

“I want to smoke, please leave.”

 

Funny product recommendations.

pillow

“You can’t have a baby without this….”

– crazy pillow for sleeping

– crazy pillow for breastfeeding

– nipple cream

– swinging musical chair

– giant jogging stroller

and on and on

 

Scary Stories. Something about seeing pregnant people triggers all the (often hearsay) tragedies others need to now share with you.

“I know this woman whose baby died right before she was supposed to deliver. Have a great day.” (-airport security officer)

“You think you’re safe after 3 months, but my friend miscarried at 6 months.”

“My wife’s water broke at 7 months.”

“When I went to this birth class, the instructor told us how this baby was born with listeria blisters all over its body.”

“This [insert messed up thing here, i.e. pooing blood, peeing blood, fainting] happened to me when I was pregnant…”

“…And she couldn’t look at fish again.”

 

Fun with Doctors. They can’t all be good with people.

“You had a big jump in weight this month, don’t do it again.”

“You have a marginal cord, that just means it could get compressed and the baby could be in trouble. Have a great day.”

“Oh that? That’s a zit. Hang on, I’ll get it.”

 

Then there’s all the comparisons people make between your pregnancy and theirs, be it regarding sleeping, eating, nausea, mood swings, labor, women like to compare themselves to other women. But I’ll stop here.