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I started a 6-week cookbook project last week at a food magazine. Now suddenly, instead of freelancing in my slippers, I'm squeezing my beach ball belly onto the crowded subway to commute to midtown every day. And I've switched from my puffy down coat to a belted wool coat not only because it looks more professional, but also because it makes me look more clearly pregnant.
I've found that as long as they're not afraid of being wrong (and hearing the dread phrase "No, actually, I'm just fat") there is almost always a good Samaritan in every train car who will offer their seat to a pregnant lady. People like this are why New York City has thus far avoided Armageddon. These generous souls deserve a huge tax refund, foot rubs every night, and a free scoop of ice cream every time they order pie.
The Belly Ballet
Even at the office I feel a bit coddled. My boss refuses to let me bend down when I drop a paper clip (and, boy, am I dropping a lot of paper clips lately--what's that all about?!). As I become more physically awkward, I am finally, gradually, developing some grace in accepting the help that people increasingly offer. And I'm feeling so grateful for it.
It's a contrast to the indignant feeling I had in early pregnancy, when a delivery guy on a bike might narrowly avoid mowing me down and I'd march the next few blocks yelling at him in my head. Didn't he know I was charged with the huge responsibility of sheltering a tiny fetal life? Or when someone would unpack a strong-smelling lunch and I'd be so outraged by their audacity I'd have to struggle not to ream them out for being pungent and inconsiderate.
It's not easy lugging an 8-month pregnant belly around town, but in many ways I've finally grown into this pregnancy.
Packing It In
I'm also getting the hang of eating the right things at the right times. I know by now that I'm going be hungry for breakfast when I get up, hungry for breakfast number two when I get in to the office, ready for lunch at noon, and unable to focus without a mid-afternoon snack to tide me over 'til dinner. This requires some serious brown bagging.
So far, it's going pretty well. (I admit there are lapses. Like Saturday after yoga when I found myself scarfing a slice at the nearest pizzeria while watching Rambo with a bunch of teenage boys--not the kind of dinner date I enjoyed pre-pregnancy!) For the past two weekends, I've made it a priority to fill the crisper. It's never been clearer to me that a healthy diet is an indispensable responsibility of daily existence. If I don't arm myself before leaving the house, I'll end up feeding myself and my baby untold quantities of junk food.
Really, it's a luxury to be forced to take good care of yourself. I gather that this is going to get a lot harder starting the day I give birth. For now, in addition to working hard at the office, it's my job to pack veggies for lunch. I figure I owe it not only to myself, and my wriggly little almost-here baby, but also to the guy who gave me his seat on the train. While I'm at it, maybe I should pack his lunch too.