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My usual scattershot update

Is it normal to feel sedated toward the end of pregnancy? In my life "before," I thought I would be a basket case by this time. But I'm quite calm - sleepy, even. Could be relief along with resignation: now that I'm past the 37-week mark, the birth could happen at any time and not be considered premature. He's firmly positioned head-down (that thing constantly flexing and stretching against my ribs would be a baby leg), so C-section is likely ruled out too. I even tested negative for Strep B, which means I won't automatically have to get an IV with antibiotics during labor. Always a good start.

Other reasons I've ended up calm:
My shoes still fit - some women told me my feet would go up a size during pregnancy. They haven't.
Iron pills have not made me feel sick at all.
I can usually sleep through the night, even now, without getting up for the bathroom.
I have not yet sent Steve to the store to fetch me some bizarre food I was craving. I haven't craved anything bizarre, for that matter.
Steve is awesome. He is happy and delighted and loves to feel the young'un kick, and helps me find my sense of humor when I misplace it. He will be a great dad.

Speaking of the sense of humor: he came up with the idea the other night that someone should start a band called Belle & Sebastian Bach. (If you don't get it, never mind.) We both agree this would be hilarious, but are not so clear on what such a band would sound like.

I finished reading The Mill on the Floss yesterday, in my continued George Eliot kick. Not so thrilled with the ending of this one, so Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda hold their tie at #1 for my favorite Eliot book. But I still enjoyed reading it, and am now thinking I need to read an Eliot biography since this one was supposedly "the most autobiographical" of her novels. Which makes me wonder about a few things. I know she lived for decades with a man who was not her husband, because he was already married and his distant cheatin' wife refused to grant a divorce, but that sounds more like the main cruel twist of Middlemarch. I assume the Mill on the Floss similarities come in with the judgemental reaction from "society" and the shutting out by one's closest family members. I'm not big on infidelity, but see, the vast difference between her and, say, Thomas Hardy, who also lived a life of extramarital temptations and wrote novels about the cruelty suffered because of them, is that Eliot can actually make such characters likable. They're good, if confused; they're flawed, but not thoroughly irritating. In fact, Eliot's characters usually redeem themselves completely, or at least most of the way. Jes' my opinion, o' course.

Another thread of thought, spinning off the latest: I'd be interested to read a book sometime about Victorian theories of, and terminology for, medicine. I've already worked out that "consumption" was tuberculosis, and "ague" was some kind of fever; and "dropsy," I recently learned, was edema, often due to heart failure. And I think "apoplexy" seems to have often referred to a stroke. But the treatments were so baffling! There was mention in The Mill on the Floss of the possibility of an invalid needing jelly. Did they mean medicine was to be put into jelly? Or was jelly considered really good for invalids? And are Eliot and I talking about the same thing - gelatinous sweetened fruit preserves - when we say "jelly"? Furthermore, I've always liked how a shot of brandy cured most cases of chills, vapors, or what have you; and how dabbing your temples with eau de cologne tended to alleviate all kinds of weaknesses; but I have to wonder whether anyone can prove scientific results for such treatments, or if this was just a widespread placebo effect. We already know how useful it was to "bleed" people... *shudder* Anyway, I expect at least rachel2205, my resident LJ British History grad student, to have a word or two of answer on that one. ;)

That'll do for now. One more week of work (where I get no LJ access) - five more days of getting up early to put on nice clothes and commute downtown - and then I cease, and enter a new phase of existence. (Firstly, lazing around the house. Secondly, labor. Thirdly, motherhood. But we can call it all motherhood, to simplify things.) I am more than willing to make the exchange. And despite the supposed ultra-feminist, my-career-uber-alles attitude of "the world" these days, I have been getting practically nothing but support when I tell people I plan to take a few years off and be with the kid, even from people who aren't doing it that way themselves. So, thank you, world - either you're more tactful, or more practical, than I had thought; and either option is good news to me.

Comments

dirae
Jan. 10th, 2006 12:27 am (UTC)
I do envy that you will be able to take the time off with the baby. As it is, it looks like I will be back to work next year after some time off (Kevon and I are quite accustom to a certain financial level that the dual-income provides. We could survive decently enough on one salary, I suppose, without dipping remotely close to any level of poverty, so this is somewhat selfish),

Childcare costs are outrageous though. 3 months alone is approx. 1500 dollars in a quite nice, licensed facility. One place I found is about 1/2 a mile from the school but highly sought after so I'm already beginning to get associated with them despite not needing them until Oct. (I keep trying to persuade Andrew to become a nanny, but I don’t think that would work out J)

Still, I am torn. There is a real possibility that I could look into the face of my baby and refuse to head back to my job. The horrible thing is, I'm *needed* at my job as well and it pains me to think of leaving my students. I just don't want to turn into Richard Dreyfus in Mr. Holland's Opus who spends so much energy working with other people's kids that I'm spent when it comes to dealing with my own. Alas, my career is very mother-friendly so that easies my mind somewhat... still, it is something weighing on me most days.
mollyringle
Jan. 10th, 2006 02:20 am (UTC)
Ah, yes, much as I hate to say something everybody has been saying for ages, it does seem true that women are pressed to do everything - including a job, household duties, and raising a family - simultaneously these days. Thus, this is one of the few times when I've decided I was actually lucky to have a fairly lackluster job (i.e., something I wouldn't actually call a "career"), since I don't mind dropping it nearly so much as people who actually have some emotional stake in their work. In fact, I almost suspect I've been deliberately avoiding more responsibility and ambition in a career, just so that I could easily abandon it when it came time to have kids.

However, that hasn't been a great thing altogether: even if you decide to stay home and abandon teaching for a few years, you'll still benefit from the years of work under your belt; whereas all I'll have, when it comes to re-enter the work force, is a collection of admin jobs. :) (Unless I go back to school for Master of Library Sciences certification, which is a possibility for another day.)

And even knowing the job doesn't matter much to me, I still have moments of guilt about leaving it, thinking they'll need my expertise at this or that, and how will they possibly manage without me? But I've gotten good at the philosophy "Not my problem anymore." That, along with "...but not today," has saved me from stressing out overmuch. (For example: "Eeeek, I have to go through labor!" "...but not today.")

Anyway, as you say, whether you go back to work or not, it's true your career will have prepared you for important considerations in parenthood, about which I am nearly clueless. So you've probably spent the years more productively no matter what.

I'm almost not daring to do the cold hard math about future years - of course there are some unknowns about expenses, so it's hard to get more than an estimate anyway - but I reassure myself that we were grad students for a few years and did pretty well on that budget; and also that other people, stupider and not as well paid as us, have somehow managed to raise kids on one salary. I'm sure you guys can fall back on that assurance as well. :)

You've got time yet to think it over. Best of luck in the decisions...and at least it's the kind of thing lots of people have been through before, so there's a never-ending source of opinions to be had if you want them. (I guess the hard part is avoiding them.)