imaginary outfit: slow expansion


imaginary outfit: slow expansion


It is bitterly cold here, but the sun is shining and the birds are singing. Birdsong is not something I associate with bitter February days, but they sing like mad in the early morning. The river is frozen, and I can sit at my work table and watch the squirrels bounding from bank to bank, creating narrow paths on the snow-covered ice.

The days are expanding. Every night, sunset falls a little later, and there are a few more minutes of light to enjoy. I am expanding, too. It's a curious thing. Though I understand the developmental facts, can check diagrams and use online calculators to convert week-by-week changes into familiar grocery store produce (this week: banana), pregnancy feels like a mystery I am living. Unseen things are happening. Even now, as I am getting rounder and feeling odd occasional flicks and twitches from within, a baby still seems closer to an article of faith than a fact.

I find myself wondering about how women thought about pregnancy in less scientific and fantastical times. My doctor calls the baby something of a lovable parasite, taking all it can from my blood and bones, and many friends have described pregnancy to me in sci-fi terms: alien and host, strange and surreal — hands and feet appearing just below your skin, the growth and movement of something other. But before we imagined these things, there had to have been other ways of thinking and feeling about it. In a time before aliens, was the process less alien? It's interesting to consider how easily ideas are bound by relatively new metaphors, and how quickly other ways of thinking vanish.

Clothes-wise, I'm trying to balance a yearning for far-away spring with the fact of freezing days and a body that's slowly shape-shifting. Some softer colors and subtle gleam are helping to lighten all the unavoidable sweaters. I disregarded all advice about hair elastics and belly bands and made the jump to maternity jeans as soon as my pants got uncomfortably tight. They won't last forever – maybe not even to the end — but since jeans are a daily staple for me, it was worth being comfortable. Part of this whole thing is stepping into exhilarating ephemerality. I'm using it as practice for making the most of the moment I am in without getting weighed down by the uncertainty of whatever lies ahead.