In my uncle's garden
Saturday, January 25, 2003

I measured my waist today and it's an even 44" in circumference. This would be more interesting if I knew what it was before I got pregnant. I've certainly eclipsed my original size, though; the size 22 jeans now fit without a belt (I was wearing size 20 before).

My sister-in-law came over last night. She hadn't seen me for a few weeks, so she was in a better position to judge the changes in my belly, and she says it's a different shape than before. I looked in the mirror this morning to see what she meant, and she's right; I have a definite protuberance in the middle of my belly, rather than the soft indistinct roundness that was there before.

My breasts look like pregnant breasts too; my nipples are darker and more defined. They look more useful.

I think I'm still losing weight; my back seems even less flabby. "I", in the previous sentence, refers to me alone, the host. I'm sure Delphine is gaining weight, and I expect our combined weight will be greater at the next midwife visit than it was at the last. I'm very curious to see how much I weigh after I give birth, and to see how my weight changes over the next year.

The interesting thing is that I haven't done any real exercise since some time in November, so this quickened metabolism is purely pregnancy-induced. I'm going to pick up the exercise, um, real soon now, even though the Experts say that now is the time to begin tapering off your activity level. (For me to taper off would involve hiring someone to fetch me tea at work. And perhaps carry me to the bathroom.) I can tell that I'm getting weaker and my stamina is worsening, and I'd like to improve those things so that I'm ready for the labour. As long as I don't overtire myself I don't expect I'll do any harm to myself or Delphine.

The other day I had a conversation with some very smart people about being a stay-at-home mother. I'm not sure how it started, but the tone was generally pretty disparaging of women who stay at home and don't work. One of the comments I recall was something like "Every man I know whose wife stays home was looking for a woman who would do that." Implying (or, I inferred) that the men deliberately looked for someone dumb enough to not want to work, and by extension that Blake married me because he knew I'd be content staying at home and greeting him at the door with a martini every evening, and furthermore that I would never earn enough to make it worthwhile for me to work.

Surprisingly, the conversation didn't really bother me. I must be growing a spine or something. I'm comfortable with our decision that I will stay home and bring up the children while Blake works, because it's sound. I don't like my job. Blake likes his. I don't earn much, relatively. Blake does (almost twice as much as I do). I lactate. Blake doesn't. We're both happier with me bringing up the children rather than out-sourcing the job to someone else; I think I can do a better job, and I will enjoy it, and we can be sure that our values are being passed on when the children are most receptive to them.

Those are good reasons, and more important to me than the idea of pursuing my career or impressing my friends or fitting in with the rest of society. If I'm the only one they know who stays at home, and if they secretly think that it's because I'm lazy or stupid, that's fine, because it's so much less important than the well-being of my family as to be almost irrelevant.

The thing I do worry about, though, is that my brain will turn to mush when I stay home. When I was unemployed back in 1998 I rapidly became bored and miserable staying at home; I watched a lot of TV and didn't get a great deal done; I felt stupid and useless and started to get depressed. I had no-one to blame but myself, and I don't want it to happen again. And this time I'll have the intellectual well-being of another person to consider, so it's even more important that I stay engaged and intelligent.

I will not switch on the television during the day. Daytime TV is unequivocably crap, and once you start watching it's hard to turn away. So I won't start. I will read the Saturday newspaper every week -- the front section, too, with all the politics and news. I will do the Saturday cryptic, to keep my math-brain oiled. I will read books about science. I will go out once a day, to the park or the bookstore or the library. I will take the children to a museum or the zoo at least once every three months.

I love my mother-in-law. She keeps buying all this baby stuff. I think she's possessed. She's bought me enough one-pieces in newborn size that I don't need to buy any more. She's bought receiving blankets and bibs and outfits.

I still need a whole bunch of stuff, but she's made a dent in the amount of clothing I'll need after the baby gets too big for newborn sizes. In fact, between what she's bought and the hand-me-downs I got from a guy at work, I might not need to buy anything in 6 month sizes at all. Although I probably will, because cute!

We still need to get a whole bunch of practical stuff; hardware like a car seat and a stroller, and software like diapers and towels and facecloths. We start shopping next week.