I've been thinking. I really do like you, and I can appreciate that you know more about my body than I do. You went to school while I was still learning how to keep my hands to myself and wash up before graham cracker time. You, oh wise and learned sir, have delivered countless babies and seen things that make zookeepers cry. The numerous diplomas that line your office walls tell of your ability to memorize the muscles of the human body and the many ways to strike weight gain despair in a pregnant woman's heart. I'm not going to say that it counts for nothing. You have shiny instruments of torture, a fancy little lab coat, and a scary red box that tells me to KEEP OUT DANGER COMMUNICABLE DISEASES CONTAINED WITHIN. You are professional. You are educated. You are my doctor.
But as I said, I've been thinking. I don't know what it is about your office. Well, it isn't your office in particular. Medical offices in general cause me to feel very, very short and very, very warm. I can almost feel my brain liquefying in the heat and slipping out my ear canal so that by the time I reach your examination table, I am only capable of monosyllabic communication and the occasional terrified glance at the chart of smoke charred lungs on the wall. I've read that studies indicate it isn't just my issue. Smart people with clipboards and Excel sheets somehow charted this problem. Doctors' offices cause temporary brain damage and hearing loss.
Well, because I know that you want to provide me with the best care possible, I decided to write down all my questions and concerns so that we'll be sure to address them all adequately. And, in the event of my liquid brain sludge causing a hiccup, I'll just have instructions for you to read the list and respond in ways I can understand (including but not limited to: hand gestures, baby talk, myriads of fun new prescription medications).
I've been mentally working on my list since the last time we talked. You probably don't remember, but I'm the one who drooled in response to your questions about prenatal vitamins. I was only protecting myself by not verbally addressing your question.
Prenatal vitamins are a wretched invention that causes nine months of cranky to feel like nine months of cranky plus gastrointestinal distress. They were made by a man or a sub-species of woman that thinks it is perfectly normal to expect women to have a degree in biochemistry, make homemade organic gluten free banana bread for open house on three hours' notice, know how to caulk a sink, and look effortlessly pulled together in a Target t-shirt and ponytail. I hate this man/woman and will do all in my power to insist he/she live forevermore on a diet of iron and fish oil capsules.
Yes, I'll be sure to take my prenatal vitamins this month. Of course I understand how important they are and will no doubt change my feelings drastically on the inability to swallow a pill the size of my fist that makes me feel like I just ate rotten cottage cheese. Brain development, I get it. That way this child can grow up to be a doctor just like you. Sigh...this isn't going how I planned.
Plans? Do I have birth plans? Well...I am assuming I have to give birth to this baby...right? Did you think of another way? Well then, I want it just like nature intended: You give me a shot of something, I fall asleep, I wake up four months later totally healed and rested and able to fit into pants without stretchy blue tops. What?! No sir, I'm not the slightest bit interested in a giant tub or soft music. I want to curse and throw things and if something goes wrong, well...survival of the fittest, right? I'm JOKING! Seriously! Doc...please don't look at me like that. Of course I want to do what's best for my child. Except go through childbirth without a vodka bottle and then be expected to breastfeed and keep the angry redfaced newborn in the room with me.
Of course I've been taking my happy pills. They just aren't working like you said they would. Yes I heard what you said about getting exercise and plenty of green leafy vegetables. And while I really do expect to start walking six miles a day this week...well...blitterbifoozit. I clearly don't have much time left before your fancy coat and the smell of rubbing alcohol cause me to forget why I'm here and then pay you one thousand dollars for telling me I've gained too much weight this month.
Ok. Let's just get to it. Mister Doctor sir? I really need you to send me to a Mommasylum. You see, I'm just feeling overwhelmed and while these places are normally reserved for crazy people, I really think you could just let me check in for some much needed rest. I wouldn't mingle with the crazies, I promise! In fact, I wouldn't talk to anybody! I could finally read War and Peace, learn how to sew a button, and bask in the tranquility of solitude. This is a last ditch effort before I become one of those mothers who forgets the times tables and won't let her kids watch Smurfs. I'm trying to be proactive here, because as I've laid out for you in this color coded graph, my other attempts have been unsuccessful.
The thing is, I really did try to carve out a little 'me' time. What used to be a daily hot bath with candles and music is now reduced to eagerly waiting to take a pee once a week without someone walking in on me and asking what I'm doing and when I'll be done and if I need help tearing the toilet paper. My early morning exercise in the brisk pre-dawn air is now reminding myself to take the stairs. I used to run miles a day. I used to go to aerobics class for fun. I used to kickbox and do anything that didn't require loads of agility. And I used to wear clothes with a lovely number 4 on the tag. I now feel triumphant for scaling one flight of stairs. I feel that standing to eat probably burns a few calories. And as for my pants size...well. So far I cannot find the tag, as I get exhausted just turning the pants round and round looking for the halfway point. Sir, how can I find time to relax if I have pants this big? There's just no escaping the terror of jeans held up by stretchy fabric that for some reason is always dark navy blue. Why in the name of female sanity could it not be a color that doesn't announce I'M A BIG STRETCHY FAT LADY PANEL underneath a white t-shirt? Sir? What have you to say to all of this? Can you not feel my despair?
A week or two or six at a Mommasylum would be enough to convince me that I can come back and subject myself to close up facial scrutiny of my young daughter who insists on pointing to the moles on my face and laughing hysterically. I would return with enough mental pizazz to plan exciting menu options for the quickly approaching school year. I would no longer think 'ham and cheese on wheat' because I would make 'turkey, spinach, and muenster pinwheel crostada remoulade brioche'. And I would know what all those things mean. I'm not asking for a three month tour of Germany's castles. I'm not demanding Heidi Klum's trainer to make me feel better about myself. I just want some time, ok?
It is at this time I realize with horror that the doctor has been talking to me and measuring my belly, which looks oddly like a pig's from this angle. I've been talking to the nice doctor man in my head again. He is looking at me while I smirk at the laminated poster of What To Expect When Your Partner Has A Vasectomy. He doesn't look happy with me. He looks like a mean doctor who is going to give me a talking to about drinking water and proper carseat installation.
He opens his mouth: WOHWOHWOHWOH?
Why yes, I'm the one who called you late at night wanting to know if it was normal for your eyes to crave the color orange. No, I didn't figure out why the squirrels in my yard were singing Climb Every Mountain, though I suspect Republican involvement. Yes sir, I'll be sure to not call you at home again. I'm sorry I scared your wife. She sounds like she might need some iron and fish oil. Maybe you should write her a prescription.
So...I'll see you next month. I'll be the one with red puffy eyes clutching a box of Godiva dipped in nacho cheese. We might have that vitamin discussion again, but I'm sure if you keep bothering me it will make a huge difference in the life of my dietary supplement intake. We could even make a deal! If I take my vitamins, you won't weigh and therefore judge me and give me a mighty push further down the shame spiral.
How much do I owe you?