With a dad like mine I was taught very early how to be handy. I knew how to diagnose minor car issues and was no stranger to power tools. Dad and I had done many of our own projects (our aforementioned basement apartment being one of them) so when it came time for T and I work on our new home, pride of ownership flared and I was inspired to make it ours.
But when you’re eight months pregnant people seem to have this problem with letting you lift. Or paint. Or climb ladders. Or build. Or use the stairs. Or breathe. Or pretty much anything that isn’t sitting still and watching other people do those things. The pregnant lady gets to be uncomfortable and fat and observe. She’s told not to overexert herself, to take it easy – but for her, the countdown is on. It’s the last opportunity to do things without worrying about an infant. It’s her transition point from being independent to being depended upon.
I can’t even count how many times I was told to sit and relax. That I couldn’t paint. That I shouldn’t lift anything. Yes, it came from a good place and I was grateful, but it wasn’t ‘me’. When my doctor cleared me for painting, saying only that reaching was the issue, not the fumes, I had my hall pass to start on Tav’s room (for a 5-foot stretch anyway).
I wasn’t about to sacrifice my baby’s health, but I wasn’t going to do things that were unnatural for me either. Sitting still stressed me out and if stress was bad for the baby, then sitting still was bad for the baby. Standing, moving and working were the things that kept me comfortable.
There were days when I felt like a contradiction of pre-motherhood. I was expected to nest, but not nest too hard. I didn’t think about the baby in the sense that everything I did had to be cushioned and cautious. I thought of him in terms of what I had to do to make sure he was comfortable when he came out.
And that meant work.
I wasn’t going to sit and be made to feel delicate. I was going to remain the tenacious badass I’d always been. It took time and a decent about of selective hearing on my part, but our families eventually accepted that my stubborn ass wasn’t going to relax until I was good and ready.
I’m sure I’ll regret that once Tav catches on.
…if he hasn’t already.