22 weeks, then. I can feel skin stretching (it’s itchy), heartburn is very slowly getting worse, general strength and stamina is very slowly returning (including the kind of [blood sugar?] stamina that lets me go for a few hours without eating, hurrah), and maybe some libido is returning, too.

I have a friend who’s pregnant right now, and she’s been all about the sex for like her entire pregnancy, best sex of her life blah blah blah, while I had hyper-sensitive skin early on that made touching kind of nightmarish, and then of course you cannot possibly feel like sex while you’re nauseated almost all day every day. I just never felt like it, which is completely abnormal for me. It’s actually been one of the scariest things about pregnancy, for me … what if it never comes back? I know it’s mostly hormonal, and I wish someone could tell me exactly what hormones are doing what, and why, but I think it’s probably also partly psychological: adjusting mentally to becoming a new person—or taking on a new, additional, identity—takes a lot of inner processing, conscious and unconscious. Maybe I should ask my friend who’s in school to become a therapist for her take on it.

But regardless, things are finally, finally, FINALLY DEAR GOD looking up. The only times I tend to be nauseated anymore are late in the evenings, and I can so handle that. I’m not always completely wiped after a day of working on the farm, and I do dishes and take walks and cook, now. I’m kinda fat but nobody wants to hear about that. Also I’m probably not really that fat. At my GYN/ONC appointment yesterday, Dr. McDonald said I looked healthy, and like I hadn’t gained much weight. (Parenthetically, he was a practicing OB for a few decades, a few decades ago, and he told me that back then, they used to tell pregnant women to try not to gain more than 20 lbs! Wow! I’m there / almost there, and I’m just barely halfway through!)

Anyway. Here I am, sitting in the pale green light reflected from the hackberry trees outside the windows, drinking coffee, stomach full of the largest portion of oatmeal I’ve ever eaten (experiment to see if I can start having oatmeal for breakfast instead of the regular two fried eggs and toast), feeling myself landing on a new runway. Of sorts. I’ve needed my morning ritual, which consists of aloneness, coffee (or tea), and something evocative to read, for a long time. And I’ve made it. I sit very stilly in my wooden chair with the purple cushion, underneath the painting of St. Julian of Norwich, with the morning light. I’m feeling like myself, again, remembering that my entire life isn’t about pregnancy or this new baby, i.e., surviving. I have other wonderful things to do, in my life, and I think remembering and doing what I can to work toward those goals is one thing that’s really going to help me keep some joy & sanity throughout this baby’s first couple years of life. My first couple years as a mother. (Clearly I’m anticipating the worst, which is probably not the healthiest, but.)

I wrote up a new list of 3-5 and 5-8 year goals during the homily on Sunday. It’s one of the most inspiring things I’ve done since becoming pregnant. (That, and looking at this tiny long-sleeved white onesie that Katie Gray sent me—just looking at it—omg.) The lists include: raise Dominique chickens, have a baby, put together a second manuscript, buy a house, make another full-sized quilt, get a perennial herb & flower garden established, get a piano, organize an informal Christmas choral group, head up a preserving committee and a potluck committee at Care of the Earth (and on to 5-8 year goals:) raise Dwarf Nigerian goats, make chèvre, keep bees, write a third manuscript, and pay off my student loans. YES. YES.

If I get into this zone where I imagine I have to give up everything else because I’m taking on a baby, it’s so bad for me. It’s a breakthrough of sorts, to realize that I don’t want my entire life to be about this pregnancy, this baby. I have other reasons to be, other important things to do. My whole existence, with all its disparate parts, all the parts with all the different missions, is vital. Beating with life. I have to keep it that way. And I’m sure having a daughter (oh it’s a girl by the way) (!) will enter into this vitality with an astonishing, ravishing life of its own. Yes. It seems eminently likely.

Last night I made a pot-pie with homemade chicken broth (you just can’t believe it’s worth it to make your own broth until you try it), a Mexican heirloom edamame and summer squash from the farm, and frozen corn. The (no-salt) biscuit topping was a version of this tomato-basil biscuit I made a couple weeks ago, but this time I used tomatoes (also from the farm) that we’d dried and packed in oil instead of fresh tomatoes, and dried basil instead of fresh. Also Marshall roasted some Care of the Earth okra. I could explain the deliciousness of it all here, but Marshall said I should post the recipe, so I think I might do all that together in another post.

After dinner, for the first time in a jillion years (prob ~6 months), though I’ve thought of doing it many times but was always too tired, I made brownies (I adore brownies, I worship brownies). This, along with the re-establishment of the morning ritual, seems as good a way as any to mark Chapter 2 of pregnancy / new motherhood. Maybe things will actually be pretty awesome, after all. Maybe I’m getting a grip on life again. Cheers.