On pregnancy…

Unfortunately, no, this is not the joyful post where I shout and scream from the rooftops and retweet 47 times that we’re finally successful at our tries at getting pregnant. Well, not yet anyways… Soon, God willing. And trust me, you will not miss me shouting and screaming and retweeting the glad tidings 😛

It’s about a beautiful short piece by Rebecca Barry, on the joys of being pregnant… Enjoy…

One day you wake up stupid and sick. You can’t remember what you were saying in your last sentence. You pour hot water through the tea strainer and down the drain without putting a cup underneath it. You want to throw up all day, but you also want to eat Campbell’s chicken and dumpling soup. Vegetables make you sick. Milk makes you sick. Your husband sleeping too close to you makes you sick. “Congratulations,” says your doctor. “You’re six weeks pregnant.” You have a thesis to finish and two classes to teach. You turn to your husband and say, “You’ve ruined my life.”

You always thought you’d love being pregnant — that your body would take to it happily, the way it did to bourbon. But you only feel good when you are eating, which then makes you sick. “It will pass,” says your mother, your doctor, your friends. “It probably won’t,” says your mother-in-law. “I had my head in the toilet the whole nine months when I was pregnant. Didn’t I, Tony? I only gained nine pounds, and six of them were the baby.” You have already gained ten pounds. You wonder if you should go on a diet. Instead, you eat an entire pizza.

You get stupider. You can’t remember your students’ names, and one day you can’t think of the word “voyeuristic.” You stand in front of 22 young writers trying to act it out. “The desire to look into other people’s lives,” you say. “You know, what we all like to do as writers. What’s the word I’m looking for?”

“Sad?” says a student, who will later turn in a journal with an entry that starts, “Today was my first day of writing class. The professor’s boots scared me.” You consider giving that student an F.

“You lose 40 IQ points when you get pregnant,” says your friend Sheila, who sometimes sees ghosts. She’s been calling you weekly to ask how you are, even though she gave up a baby a year before she got married. She and the baby’s father, who is now her husband, weren’t ready. They didn’t have the money. They weren’t married. She took some abortion pills, and after they slid down her throat she cried for two hours. Now sometimes, when she passes a mirror, she sees a small shadow hovering near her head.

“You lose 40 IQ points when you get pregnant,” says your friend.By your third month, according to the update from babycenter.com, which e-mails you every week, your baby’s eyes are finally on the front of its face and its ears are in the right place. It still has gills and is smaller than an avocado. You, however, are huge. “You might be beginning to show,” babycenter.com says. You’ve been showing for a month. You get mad at babycenter.com. Also Gwyneth Paltrow, who has the same due date as you and looks like a reed. You resent all the movie stars who are getting pregnant like they’re buying a new pair of shoes. Now you can’t even do this without the pressure to look like them. You are still nauseated and very pale. You tell your thesis adviser you’re pregnant. “Hooray!” she says. “Have you thought of a name yet? Bucephalus is widely underused.”

You want to like being pregnant more, especially since everyone is happy for you. But you feel like you have too quickly become a vessel for everyone else’s happiness: your husband’s, your mother’s, your mother-in-law’s. Jerry Fallwell’s. Your brother who loves golf sends you a card that says, “Congratulations! What a magical year you have ahead!” and this makes you feel like everything else you’ve done in your life doesn’t matter now that you’re going to be a mother. “It’s not magical,” you say. “It’s biological. A monkey can do it.” You are already tired of babies. Babies, babies, babies! The polar ice cap is melting and songbirds are dying. “Do you know what human beings do?” you say to your husband. “They kill everything. What would be magical is if I gave birth to a penguin. They’re endangered.” Luckily, according to babycenter.com, Bucephalus, who has just lost his or her tail, can’t hear yet. Your husband tells you not to worry, you will probably give birth to a liberal, and they will soon be endangered too.

You notice that every time you say you don’t feel good in your pregnant body, people say, “You’re not fat, you’re pregnant,” as if being pregnant should solve everything. But you loved your pre-pregnant body, and this new one has changed into a factory that has nothing to do with you. Your legs have thickened, you’ve begun to blush easily, and your breasts are so busy you wouldn’t be surprised if they got up in the middle of the night and set up a cafeteria. It amazes you that no one talks about this, that the only rhetoric you hear is that pregnancy is beautiful. When you say you feel huge, people tell you you’re gorgeous. Glowing. Beautiful. But to you, it’s not beautiful. It’s powerful. You have double the normal amount of blood coursing through your veins. Two hearts beat inside you. You have never felt more ferocious. When your Pilates teacher tells you not to walk alone at night, you tell her not to worry: You could walk into a war zone and say, Bring it on. Point a gun at me. I will break you with my bare hands, because I am pregnant, and you couldn’t handle the nausea alone.

You’re pretty sure you used to be more conciliatory.You miss getting drunk.

By the fifth month, babycenter.com tells you that the baby has begun to drink its amniotic fluid. You assume this means that not only is it swimming around in its own toilet, it’s now drinking the water. “Which means it has a dirty mouth,” your husband says. “Just like its mother.” Then he falls asleep.

You stay up late reading about birth defects and the vitamins you should be taking. You are still nauseated. You look at your husband, who is sound asleep. You think about how all he had to do was have sex with you, and how you have to deal with everything — how much this is going to hurt, the breast pump, the sagging boobs when you’re done nursing. You think about how much money you’ve spent in your life on tampons, birth control, ibuprofen, bikini waxes — about $32,560. You think about what men get away with in the world and you can’t believe they have so much political, social and economic power.

You miss getting drunk.

One day, the baby stops kicking you. For 14 hours you feel nothing — no nausea, no fluttering, no slow, rolling motion in the pit of your abdomen. You are lost and unmoored, the way you felt when you put your parents on the train to the airport after they visited you in France, and their sweet, familiar faces got smaller and smaller until they were gone. But then there is movement again. A blip, a ripple. Unbelievably relieved, you tell your mother-in-law, who is visiting. “That’s the thing about birth,” she says. “You’re that much closer to death.”

Then she tells you a story about the time she saw the husband of a woman who had cut a pregnant woman’s stomach open and took her baby.

You get that sharp surge of joy and sadness you always get when you see something beautiful.Instinctively, you put your hands on your belly to cover Bucephalus’s little ears, which now work, according to babycenter.com.

“That’s a terrible story,” you say. “That’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard.”

“I know!” says your mother-in-law happily. “She met her at Wal-Mart.”

You worry that you aren’t connecting to the baby. You worry that you aren’t connecting to anyone else because you keep saying what you think. “I hate being pregnant,” you say to a group of people you barely know (and then the whole way home you apologize to the baby: “It’s not you I hate, Bucephalus, it’s the pregnancy”). When one of your colleagues says the main character in a story is pathetic because she’s promiscuous, you put your head in your hands and say, “Your argument is hurting my brain.” No, you tell your students, who want to know if they can e-mail you another draft of their essay, if they can make an appointment outside of your office hours, if they can make up the four classes they missed because they work in a nightclub and don’t get out of bed before three in the afternoon. “That’s bullshit,” you say, when one of them cites a study about women abusing men more than men abuse women. You haul your pregnant self out of your chair and say, “Show me that shit-for-brains study.” (Miraculously, your evaluations that quarter are the best they’ve ever been.) “Yes,” you say when people offer you a bite of whatever they’re eating. Then you take three times more than they offered you. “Go bother the dog,” you say when a friend asks you how you can be pro-choice when you’re growing a baby yourself, when you can’t even kill a lobster and looking at a tank of them waiting to die makes you impossibly, inconsolably sad.

Then one day you’re sitting alone on your porch with your baby inside you and you look up at the birch tree in your front yard. It is autumn, and the leaves are so bright yellow against the white bark, against the blue sky, that you get that sharp surge of joy and sadness you always get when you see something beautiful, especially in the fall when the natural world tells us that death — like birth, like hope, like love — is an inevitable, glorious, soaring thing. “That,” you say to your baby, “is what beauty feels like. You’ll see when you get out.

“You’ll love it here,” you say, and your heart fills the way it once did when you saw your husband across the room and you knew he was the man you would marry.

How beautifully Rebecca has described, perfectly for me anyways, how it feels to experience the extremes of joy and, oddly enough, at the same to be able to experience a stab of sadness right after. I have always tried to express these emotions in words, but somehow I always come out short. I usually try to preserve the memory by taking a photo of the breathtaking scene, or to remember the scents associated with it, or even try to commit to memory the specific emotion experienced, but somehow or rather when they are replayed the experience is much diminished – like faded sepia photos of a lively party. I guess it is very true that to experience one emotion with depth, one must be ‘touched’ by its diametric – joy and sadness, pain and pleasure…

Until the day I shout and scream and tweet my own happy news – Jasmine.


On living life…

It’s been mad lately… Especially in financial matters… Being pinched so tight that it’s barely possible to breathe. But then again there are those pesky commitments that need seeing to, and then there’s the thing about having enough fuel to get to work to actually earn more money to pay off more of those pesky commitments. LOL! Ain’t adult life, filled with debts a blast!

Anywho, found this little blurb that cheered me right up 🙂

Off to grab a super late lunch now, while wasting brain cells on the idiot box – Jasmine.

On wants and needs…

Been meaning to blog on a whole gamut of things – life, work, love… the usual ups and downs and then some. Back to work on something completely new and alien to me, then back to not working after that not working out simply because it was all completely new and alien to me… Into the whole cycle of looking for work again and then back to work again, this time around something certainly more suited to my disposition. Thank the heavens above for that…

On the home front, it’s been frustrating on so many levels – the housework, the housemates (this one not too bad of a stress though) and the usual frustration of seeing Aunt Flo again after trying to conceive in every conceivable way… *sigh* Perhaps it is not yet my ‘rezeki’, or time to receive our bundle of joy… We will keep trying, not that my dearest Giraffe is complaining 🙂

I keep telling myself, when the grumbling grumbler within me awakes, that I must and I should be thankful for all that I have – a good husband who loves me with all his heart and is doing his darnest best, a roof over my head and food on the table, a family who loves me unconditionally, more clothes than I could possibly wear in a lifetime, relatively good health and the knowledge that I am still learning the wisdom of life, and that as a Muslim salvation for my soul can be found, and that God is always listening. Putting the words down is driving home the point even deeper, that I am indeed fortunate to have this life and not another (that sometimes we all envy, even if it’s just once in a lifetime)…

Harder for me to learn though, is that there is truly a difference between what we want, and what we need. More material possessions, more holidays away from home to fritter away whatever hard-earned money that we make with blood, sweat and tears – is it truly what we need? It is a realization of epic proportions – what we want is not necessarily what we need. Finding reconciliation between the two has always been difficult for me, simply because as a child nothing was ever denied to me… Instant gratification was equated with love, and it is very very hard to learn otherwise because it’s been ingrained…

This Ramadhan though, has been good and kind to me – the usual ‘gastric’ pains have kept away, and I have been fasting with joy. As the experts say, during the holy month of Ramadhan, the channels of communications to the heavens above are open and clear, and one should be making their wishes during this time of the year… Taking this opportunity to make my wishes as well, I do hope that someone out there is listening…

And to that note, indeed someone is listening – I have gotten a job, life and love have been good to me, and things are on the mend… Alhamdulillah… Stumbling across the mad chasm that is the net, I found this interesting piece of art, which describes perfectly the state of mind I am trying to achieve.

I hope that it would be as enlightening to you, as it has been for me 🙂

Good night, and may your wishes come true tonight – Jasmine.

On the secret…

Stumbled upon a very beautiful short movie by Jean-Sebastien Monzani while whiling away my hours of insomnia on the web… Very inspiring, and it has given me the realization that we must live our lives to the full each and every day. To live without regrets and to live well, to do the absolute best in everything that you do – being a Muslim, a partner, a sister, a friend, an employee… It doesn’t matter what it is that you do, but do it with your heart and soul, and let it bring you joy.

Dreaming of blissful sleep, as I count sheep, cows, dogs and cats to catch the elusive calm tonight – Jasmine.

On An Ordinary Day…

Stumbled upon this video by Ridley Scott on Youtube… Utterly interesting!

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did 🙂

Off to document my day – Jasmine.

On what I am…

Stumbled upon Alana Davis’ beautiful cover of Ani Difranco’s song, 32 Flavours… Pretty much expresses everything that I’m feeling right now 🙂

Hope you enjoy it, as much as I do…

Thinking of those 32 flavours and then some – Jasmine.

On finding the ‘right’ partner…

Been spending a few hours going through the old emails from my Giraffe, and I suddenly realized what a romantic man I married. I used to take all that romance for granted, but now as time has gotten the best of us, we’ve been left bickering and certainly less than blissful newlyweds. It hasn’t been that long, but I now know that it takes real hard work to make a partnership/marriage work… And that got me thinking on the subject of love.

How do you know when you’ve found ‘the one’? Love is so elusive… It comes and goes, and even the most passionate or romantic of couples eventually fall into the rut of familiarity and sameness… At the end of the day, I personally would like to think that when you find someone who makes you happy, don’t let go.  And the person who is ‘the right one’ for you might not be rich or good looking… But hey, we all got to learn to be happy, right? How did I know that my Giraffe was the right one for me? When I can describe him as the man who truly does make me happy… And he definitely falls into the following categories –

  • Someone who knows what you need before you say it.
  • Someone who knows when to laugh and when to cry.
  • Someone who truly listens when you have something to say.
  • Someone that’s there for you during the good and bad times.
  • Someone who is caring .
  • Someone who loves you with all their heart and soul.
  • Someone who is interested in reality and not as a fashion display.
  • Someone who is honest.
  • Someone you can trust them like a sibling, confide in like a friend but most of all, love as the great lover they are.
  • Someone who is open and responsive.
  • Someone who is never critical and ill-tempered in respect to your needs.
  • Someone who knows when things have to be compromised in the relationship.
  • Someone who understands listening is a key, but using what is heard is even more important.
  • Someone who’s there for you no matter what.
  • Someone who is trustful.
  • Someone who is a friend.
  • Someone who gives a shoulder to cry on.
  • Someone with a great sense of humor.
  • Someone who has things in common with you.
  • Someone who takes time to listen and enjoy you for who you are and tries not to make you something else.
  • Someone with a constant open ear, open heart, and open mind to accept and love people for who the really are.
  • Someone who will always be there to support your ideas without argument and love you for everything that you are.
  • Someone that can get a point across without yelling.
  • Someone that remembers all the cute stupid stuff you love.
  • Someone that has a personality with qualities you don’t have yourself, but admire greatly in them.
  • Someone who realizes you’re two separate people, and appreciates the differences.
  • Someone who can sense a mood problem, and not take it personally.
  • Someone who understands the difference between PMS, and a real problem.
  • Someone who can make you happy when your sad.
  • Someone who tells you the truth even if you don’t want to hear it.
  • Someone who will not hurt you intentionally.
  • Someone who is a sweet, romantic person who cherishes you no matter what.
  • Someone that you can laugh with.
  • Someone who you can feel comfortable with and that you don’t care what kind of weird stuff they see you do because you know they will still love you no matter what.
  • Someone who will love you in spite of your little idiosyncrasies.
  • Someone that would do anything to show how much they care.
  • Someone who is a great pal, a great kisser, and a great lover!
  • Someone who allows you to be yourself around them.
  • Someone who will respect you.
  • Someone who cherishes your hopes and is kind to your dreams.
  • Someone who knows you’re not perfect, but treats you as though you are.
  • Someone who listens with their heart and is your source of inspiration.

Thank you my darling Giraffe, for being with me all these 11 years. Loving me without compromise and with full honesty and trust. I love you. Don’t ever forget that.

Dreaming of your arms around me – Jasmine.

ps – Sorry for the soppy-ness of it all… Just realized suddenly that I too, have been neglecting my beloved Giraffe.