Two things happened to remind me that my body is changing, yet again, and I’m tilting into the third trimester:
First, on an innocuous Thursday, as I was stepping out of the shower, I failed to lift my food up high enough to step over the bath edge. My foot caught in the shower curtain, a tangle of filmy plastic sheeting and soap suds, and I ripped a hole in our shower curtain. (My husband thought perhaps it was our toddler, but no, it was me: the twenty-seven week pregnant wife.)
Then, on a walk in the woods with a friend, I went down. Suddenly slipped and fell. I was wearing my good sneakers, my walking sneakers. A great pair of yoga leggings. I wasn’t walking too fast or even that briskly; my ankle just slipped and boom, bang, a knee and a buckle, my wrist skidded against the asphalt, and I was face-first in the ground.
Everything was fine, sans a slightly elevated heart rate and some gravel in my palms. But I felt shaken, and reminded: my body is metamorphosing. I’m expanding, and widening, and loosening. My hips are softer, my ligaments are stretching, my sense of coordination changing.
Pregnancy, for me, has brought with it a heightened sense of vulnerability and fear, especially in the last trimester. Time shifts—45 minutes becomes long, planning events in between bathroom trips, more necessary. Space also shifts; I don’t want to be as far away from home. The experience is exacerbated by the longstanding expectations around me, as though my friends, family, colleagues expect me not to change. I am confronted with the expectation to be a super hero, to be fast and resilient and energetic and above all, a better version of me, exactly at a time when I feel softer and more scared and more alive. More receptive.
I want to be held, particularly by water. I want to bathe in the swaying summer wind of rustling grass and trees. I want the forest to tickle it’s sun-filtered light onto my skin while I breathe in the last few moments of my belly ripening a new human into being. My baby doesn’t care what time is, especially not the urgency of manufactured time. He doesn’t need me to be faster, more, different, or better.
What if super heroes weren’t harder, faster, and better, however?
This is my super hero self, it feels like: a waking up of my suppleness, my pliability, and my emotional intuitiveness. I am turning on my receptors, tuning in, and reacquainting myself with what it means to be alive. To be sensory and sensitive. It is against my culture, not my body, that I feel at odds.