Reading Strike

03.24.08: 11 Weeks Pregnant


I'm an avid reader, so it has taken me by surprise during each pregnancy when I find myself no longer able to enjoy a book. I still remember the novels that were in progress when I was pregnant with the girls. With Julia I was reading The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, and with Elise I was reading Snow Flower and The Secret Fan by Lisa See. But shortly into my first trimester each time, I found myself unable to hold still for long enough to sit (or even lay) and read. And even after the first trimester, I was never able to enjoy my very favorite passion. To this day, I've never finished either of those books.

This time around is no different. On my bedside shelf, sits two abandoned novels: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield and The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (additionally there is one never started copy of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak). Before this pregnancy I was engrossed in both. In fact, I was thoroughly into The Subtle Knife since it is the sequel to The Golden Compass. I've been dying to know what will happen in this next installment of Pullman's popular trilogy. But just like before, I now find myself completely repelled by reading.

This is so strange to me. Reading has always been the one thing I can count on to lift me up when I'm feeling down. Reading enriches my life. It inspires me. And on many occasions, it has changed me to the core. So why now, at one of the most monumental times in my life, do I turn away from such a dependable and cherished past time?

Pregnancy requires a lot of inward attention. Creating and growing a human being takes a lot of work. So perhaps, my body needs the time to focus on the story going on within myself. While I normally marvel in escaping into someone else's story, maybe now is the time to concentrate on the narrative of my own life.

Who knows, maybe I'll regain my affection for reading sometime during this pregnancy. But I think it's more likely that I won't return to reading until several months after the new baby arrives. At that point there will be three children all vying for my attention. By then I'm sure I'll be ready to escape into someone else's story for a while and leave my own story behind for a few precious hours. That's a reunion worth looking forward to!