Pregnancy is forcing me to contemplate just how much Jewish superstition I’ve been carrying around unseen, right underneath my chicken soup recipe and the inability to cook for less than eight people. I”m more of a cultural Jew than anything, so I didn’t really expect it, but there it is. I carry it all the same.
I’ve been trying to write a blog post to commemorate these first days of pregnancy, but my fingers hesitate over the keyboard, fearful of drawing wrath from…something. Some malevolent spirit? The fates? Ayin Hara, the evil eye? I don’t know. I only know that too much happiness feels dangerous. This has often been true for me; I accept good things with both gratitude and a glance over my shoulder.
I bought a pregnancy journal the other day, and I haven’t yet brought myself to touch ink to it. I don’t want to forget anything…Lauren’s reaction to a mini-flotilla of positive pregnancy tests, the first stirrings of symptoms that I know mean my body is already changing, the shock of realizing that we’re very likely to be parents before the next Christmas family photo. I don’t want to forget Lauren’s father calling our baby “lucky number seven” in delight when he found out he was going to be a grandfather yet again. I want to remember and yet I’m having trouble shaking this feeling – if I mark this pregnancy in time, I’ll have to acknowledge it if something goes wrong. Which I realize is ridiculous. I’ll acknowledge it anyway.
The truth is that I spent so much time congratulating myself for getting my fertility stress under control that I didn’t spend any time thinking about how anxious I was going to be when I finally got pregnant. At this point, everything looks fine. The betas are doubling and I’m appropriately nauseous, but still, the fear. Does everyone feel this? They must. Part of me thinks that it will ease by week 12, that I’ll settle into pregnancy and cease to worry. A bigger part of me suspects that this is just my introduction into the way of things to come…a lifetime of worrying about choking hazards, falls from swings, and teenagers who drive too fast. I wait, and I hope, and I try not to to draw attention from the fates in whom I do not believe, and I get used to the idea of worrying about my child.