I still haven’t really wanted to tell anyone that I’m pregnant. It’s mostly because I haven’t gotten over the fear of how awful it would be for something to go wrong, and to have to say so over and over. If not for the obvious physical clues, I would rather like to just wait until volcano is here and then say, “hey, guess what! I have a baby now!”
but of course it is becoming somewhat obvious, at least to people who know me — those who don’t would not be unreasonable to assume I am just a bit round in the middle — and I didn’t think a surprise maternity leave would be the nicest thing to spring on my principal, either. so I started… not telling people exactly, but not keeping it a secret either. (I suppose that’s the pregnant equivalent of not-not-trying.) and once I let some of my students in on it, everyone at work knew without me having to make a big embarrassing announcement.
while I am still pretty shy in response to “how are you feeling?” and “how is the baby?” questions from adults, I have been surprised to discover how much fun it is for the students to know about the baby. they are adorably and hilariously overprotective, telling me not to bend over or stand on my tiptoes. (for some reason these admonishments are endearing when they come from sixteen-year-olds, even though when adults tell me my backpack is too heavy it makes me want to start doing cartwheels down the sidewalk just to spite them.) when I stand at the doorway to greet them as they come to class, they say “hi rabi! hi baby!” spider’s ninth grade students come to crowd around my doorway and ask, “are you rabi? are you spider’s wife? is that spider’s baby?” they rub my belly and squeal. they describe my child to me:
if it’s a boy, he gonna be the star basketball player. and he’ll be tall and a good science student. he likes to read too and he’ll be smart but not like in a dorky way. if it’s a girl, she’s gonna be the valedictorian with a real articulate speech. she will be a popular girl but not like ‘yeuchh’-popular. she gonna know how to dress.
somehow I don’t mind any of this.
today we went to the hospital for the comprehensive anatomy scan. after being pretty excited about it for the past week, I spent most of the morning in a muted panic, worrying that volcano would be missing a heart valve or a kidney or a cerebellum. depending on what I’m wearing, I can still make my belly disappear almost entirely, and when it does, the students freak out: oh no where’s the baby is it okay? I tell them everything is fine, pull my clothes tight against my body, point to the place where the baby is kicking me. and I think I might not survive that question if I didn’t have such an easy, happy response. so while the ultrasonographer calmly narrated her measurements of all volcano’s features — four-chambered heart, three vessel cord, right leg, left leg, head circumference — and spider joked about the giant feet, I just cried, silently and unblinkingly, in grateful relief.
I suppose it would be easier to tell everyone if it were easier for me to believe myself. I think I, too, am waiting for volcano to come out and say to me, “hey, guess what! you have a baby now!”
for now, she just does her best by prodding me with her giant feet. I do my best by continuing to imagine her four months from now, fully gestated and plumped with babyfat, sitting on the other side of my body. it could really happen.