When I first moved to China, I developed a series of expectations about what it would be like. My expectations were based on SF Chinatown, The Orient Chinese restaurant in Carmichael, California, and the one Jackie Chan movie I'd ever seen.
To put it in the largest understatement ever, I was incorrect in many of my expectations. I thought the food was going to be the hardest thing about living in China. I've been home for two years now, and not a day has gone by that I haven't missed Beijing cai. I had heard about the pollution, but didn't think it was going to be that big of a deal. The pollution was, by far, the hardest part about living there.
What I'm saying is that a woman in her thirties has expectations, but they are often... wrong.
So it has been with pregnancy. I knew to expect certain things, and have been reading books catered to understanding those expectations, but in the end it's all been pretty shocking to me. And continues to be:
1. Weight gain.
Isn't this supposed to be the time when you are encouraged to 'eat for two', pack it on, and enjoy that healthy I-just-stuffed-my-face glow? No. Gaining weight has been one of the most emotionally taxing parts of this whole process. And speaking of emotions...
2. Uncontrollable crying.
I cannot watch 'A Baby Story', 'The Today Show', or several other TV shows I'm too embarrassed to mention without shedding a tear. Or a hundred. Thousand.
3. My eyes.
That's right. My eyes have changed shape. My contacts don't fit right. It's like my eyes have become pregnant, too. With little eye-babies.
4. My feet.
My feet haven't grown, as many of the books have warned me they might. Instead, they fall asleep if I'm sitting for more than... five seconds.
5. My teeth.
I have the kind of oral hygiene that should be documented in dentistry textbooks. This woman in her thirties has never had a cavity. However, pregnancy has made my teeth sensitive to hot things. So I buy Sensodyne and ACT and hope the checkers at Target aren't judging me.
Alright, universe, I get it. Life cannot be scripted. A woman in her thirties must roll with whatever comes her way, no matter how unexpected. And when it comes to Chewy, and all the expectations I have for her, I promise to keep it in check. If she doesn't want to pursue medicine at Harvard, fine. I'll settle for Yale. If she doesn't become a concert pianist, it is cool. The cello will do.
See? I'm learning.