Hello Angela — I’m not really responding because I knew Ursula LeGuin, I’m responding because the same s**t happened to me as it does to every other mom-to-be and mother.
I adored reading this! Every word so true!
I feel like my first pregnancy may have been more of a black comedy or perhaps carnival of humiliating events.
Our mandatory pre-birth education sessions included a “don’t do this” video that ended with a male doctor averring “Childbirth may be painful.” The video started with him laying a swathe of M & Ms, Snickers, and Reeses on a table and intoning, “Chocolate contains caffeine which may harm your growing baby.”
After 8.5 months of attempted perfection, I attended a party with some friends at which the non-pregnant members were enjoying small plastic cups of rose wine. They nagged me until I drank a couple of ounces and I went home tormented by the thought I gave my baby a horrible congenital illness just because of peer pressure.
She just turned 26 and has all her limbs, two eyes, a nose, and a mouth. She’s coming over today.
Toward the end with her, I thought I was doing rather well although worried about my swollen feet and terrified I would not lose the appalling 30 pounds I’d gained.
I came in to work and my best friend said, “Amy, you’re waddling.”
My best friend. When at 6 months I thought idiotically I could wear a blue dress with a belt, my other best friend at work took one look at me and said in a high-pitched tone, “Blooooo-berry!”
This weird thing happened with both my babies that’s “blueberry” related. At about 3 months each time, I experienced “inability to pee.”
With my daughter, I was going for my first ultrasound. The appointment was in the mid-morning and the nurse said, “Drink 2 liters of water and whatever you do, don’t go to the bathroom. We need a full bladder to get a good image.”
Yes-indeedy! By the time my friend got me to the hospital I was already in considerable bladder pain. (The same “Blueberry” friend).
After the unbelievably painful procedure was over, I told the nurse, “I really have to go!”
She helped me of course, but —
I couldn’t go.
I went home with my pal who continued to say “Pee! Psssss! Peee!” until I wanted to kill him.
At home I still could not pee.
At this point I guess I was in the same circumstance as today’s Amazon workers. I called my aunt in desperation. She was a nurse and suggested a warm shower. After maybe half an hour in the shower, finally I was able to pee.
I called the nurse afterward and she said, “I never told you to drink two liters! I said two glasses of water!”
Flash forward twelve years and I am three months pregnant with my son Anthony and the baby I failed to give congenital illnesses to is now a big girl. We drive to see the big trees and have a wonderful day but while we are in the forest, I find myself “holding it in.” We got down to the ranger station and while in the bathroom, I tried to . . .
Same exact thing. Only it was like 20 degrees and we were like 250 miles from home.
This time I had to have medical help. Nobody wants that type of medical help unless they are in that situation.
The exact same time of pregnancy: it might have even been the same day of gestation. I call it urinary lockdown and it hurts like you-know-what!
Yeah everybody really “wants to know.” There couldn’t be a bigger divergence between what medical science and official publications, films and sites say about pregnancy, childbirth, and even parenting — and the reality of what it is.
Friendship too. I can still hear him saying, “Bloooooo-berry!”