Saturday, December 28, 2013

Pregnancy

I've seen a lot web-sites about pregnancy, many of them going into unnecessary detail, but I think they are missing some important points, which I'd like to humbly outline here:

1) Having a child is a selfish decision. I think people have children for entirely selfish reasons, and there's nothing to pride yourself in that. After all, to have a child in Turkey is to have a child in a third-world country with no rule of law and the best and luckiest of us spend our lives crammed in traffic, office blocks and shopping centers after years of school and national exams. So I don't see how bringing a child into this part of the world could be good for the child itself. More plausible reasons for getting pregnant are; 1) to have something that will give you a reason, and an obligation, to live, especially as you get older - just like a trapeze artist who needs a new trapeze before letting go of the previous one, 2) to please the society and the families and keep up with everyone else having kids,  3) to have the 'experience' of being a mother or father, which you view as one of the fundamental life experiences, as in '100 things to do before you die,' 4) you probably haven't thought long or hard enough, or else you'd never build up the courage to have a child. Plus, babies are cute.

2) Pregnancy will occupy your life, and unfortunately it's your problem. Forget about the equality of men and women. In the world of pregnancy, there's no equality. Pregnancy is your problem. And something that makes itself felt physically so frequently will inevitably occupy your thoughts. You have to take care of yourself and consciously and continuously taking care of yourself requires effort. At first I thought of it as the perfect opportunity to be selfish with a good conscience, but no, it's not that simple. You can't drink alcohol or coffee, but you have to drink a lot of milk and eat a lot of (well-cooked) red meat. (You are actually eating the material that will constitute the baby, which makes one feel like a 3D printer.) You have a bloated stomach that feels frequently empty and nauseous that forces you to eat something every few hours. (You might think it's the noise, the smells, the food, the news or whatever you are doing that is nauseating, but no, you have nausea to start with.) You need to take it easy, not rush anywhere. You need to avoid lifting and carrying heavy things. And how heavy is heavy, you have no idea. You need to stay away from smokers. You need to stay away from polluted air. You need to find a way to make leggings and flat shoes look acceptable for work. You need to try not to get sick in the middle of winter. All of a sudden plastic bottled water and tasteless hormone-injected tomatoes seem like the biggest enemy in the world. You try to avoid cell phones and X-ray scanners. In fact, the whole not-sufficiently-regulated profit-seeking capitalist world will appear to be on a quest to poison you poor pregnant woman and your poor little child. Everybody will tell you to take good care of yourself when you think an unaware and indifferent world is doing nothing to take care of you. And you are bloated (did I already say that?) and getting larger and moving further and further away from the common standard of beauty and you feel unattractive. And while all this is going on, you have to keep high spirits because hey, your baby's character might be shaping itself right about now.

3) Pregnancy is a very ordinary phenomenon. When I first found out that I am pregnant, I became happy and I started pondering about the phenomenon and about how a few cells in me had a lot of information about a human being, its health, sex, intelligence, character... Then my mind came up with an analogy with my very limited information of astronomy and quantum physics that this must be similar to the Big Bang, because you know, at that moment in time and space there must have been a lot of information about what was to come before it all happened.

But of course, pregnancy is a very ordinary thing. Everybody is having kids. Everywhere. The office is full of pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant. Right now babies are born and people are making new babies. You don't need to pass an exam or receive a license to qualify for it. There are women who don't realize they are pregnant until they are five months into the pregnancy, and still give birth to healthy babies. So despite all the hype pregnancy is a common, natural thing. And just like the way all our organs are working miraculously without needing our interference, we shouldn't worry so much about how the baby is doing. Hopefully it will be fine.

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