Living with a pregnant woman is a bit like being a scientist in a bad apocalyptic movie.
I don’t mean that as badly as it sounds.
What I mean is that, living with a pregnant woman, you are witness to strange and marvelous changes that are unlike just about anything else in this world. And sometimes you are convinced that, if you just pay enough attention to those signs, you will unlock some secret that will save humankind from mass destruction.
I’m not referring to the physical changes. I’m referring to the tiny, almost imperceptible changes in personality, in the very being of someone.
With Marta, for instance, for the first three months she was best described as a choloric seafarer aboard a ship in a storm. In other words, she was miserable, uncomfortable, and never wanted to be touched.
Then, suddenly, those months passed. She became normal again. Or normal with a pregnancy patina.
Sometimes I will look at her now and she almost seems to be rocking in her seat. There is a strange peace to her–even when she tells me she is stressed or feeling down. She smiles slightly and, when I ask her what she’s thinking, she’ll say, “Nothing.” And it seems believable.
She’s also more affectionate than before. Which is saying a lot because Marta, though not as verbally affectionate as I am, has always been good about showing physical affection. She likes to hold hands. She’ll come up and hug me while I’m washing the dishes or making dinner. She snuggles. But, now, rather than snuggle, she clings to me like a tree frog as she sleeps. We went to see a movie last night and she kept stealing kisses while Bradley Cooper self destructed on screen.
And she cries, which Marta rarely did before. At least not as easily as she does now. It’s sad to witness but also fascinating (again, I don’t mean that as badly as it sounds). These are all behaviors that are in-character but also slightly out-of-character. As if there has been the slightest shift in who she is.
Sometimes at night, when Marta has suctioned to me in her tree-frog grip, I’ll reach around and touch her belly. I half-believe in those moments that I might understand a bit more about what’s going on inside her just by touching the source of that change. It’s rounding out now, her belly. And when I rub it, my hand rises and falls with its curve.
I wait for a great revelation to hit me, but it never does. This is not an apocalyptic movie. I am not a scientist. I’m just the partner of a pregnant woman, like some many other partners out there. We watch, we take notes, we try to understand. And the plot continues on, almost without our input.
And then, at some point, our pregnant partner gets up to go pee for the third time in the night and we, befuddled partners that we are, shuffle downstairs, because we can no longer sleep, and write a blog about our strange and mysterious life on the outside of all this, looking in. Meanwhile our tree-frog partner sleeps soundly upstairs, wrapped in her patina, cradling her belly bump.