Monday, March 26, 2007

The Ties That Bind

I just spent the past week in the Midwest, because my little brother got married. A bunch of my extended family traveled North to my parents' house for the St. Patrick's Day ceremony. I stayed at my parents' house, too, and it was somewhat unnerving to have so many people hovering over me. Everywhere I went, someone was asking me if I was tired or hungry or fussing about me not eating or sleeping enough, or telling me I shouldn't do this and shouldn't lift that, or I needed to do this or get that. It was freakin' exhausting.

My husband was not with me (he was stuck at work), so I had no go-between, nobody to say "it's okay, she's really fine" or ask people to keep it down during the 3 hours per night I did get to sleep. My mom and my sister caught on pretty quick and treated me like a person, not just a baby-carrier. The rest of the family...well, I know they meant well and had the best of intentions, but after a couple days I just wanted to yell "I'm OKAY! I take care of myself ALL THE TIME! At home I eat and sleep and go to school and clean the house and go to the store and I haven't died yet! Please stop FUSSING!"

There were a few cases where I had to explain things like why I'm avoiding aspartame and that no, I don't tell my doctors everything, because they just do not give a crap. And why I don't want an epidural if I can help it. And that yes, I'm still riding my bike to school, I actually feel much better when I do because I need the exercise.

I got lots of "advice" too, like my new sister-in-law's mother telling me flatly "well, I hate to break it to you but just because you and your husband were both small babies, that has nothing to do with how big your baby is going to be." Or my grandma telling me that the pants I was wearing did not have a big enough panel.

It's really nice to be home again, because my husband knows that one cup of coffee won't kill the fetus and it's really better for everyone around me if I don't skip it, that I will say something or trundle off to bed when I get tired so he doesn't need to ask, and that rubbing my belly is not a good thing to do because the stretched-out skin is very raw and tender there. He also knows better than to argue with me when I want to do something, which is more than I can say for some of my family members.

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