So most of you know that Michelle is pregnant. Very Exciting. We are pumped. We are really looking forward to meeting our little Christmas gift. But, let me tell you a little bit about how it has been thus far.
First of all, one must understand the inherent differences in both of our cultures and backgrounds. American culture looks at marriage and childbearing as a wonderful, surprising and miraculous thing. Something that is truly amazing and “out of this world.” But, and I wouldn’t speak for all Chinese, I have discovered that in China, marriage and childbearing is just part of the 5,000 year long history and this stuff just happens. There are no secrets. It just happens. It’s natural. You must get married and you must have children shortly thereafter. In America, somehow it is different but essentially the same.
I have to say, the moment that we were about to find out if it was true, if we were pregnant was nothing like the movies and was completely anti-climactic. It was time. It was obviously the time to take the test. (If you don’t know what I mean, contact your local Health teacher or ask your mom.) We were ready for this since I had no idea that in Shanghai whether we would be able to find pregnancy tests or not. So, while we were in America last summer, Michelle and I ventured out to our local TARGET and picked up a tester thingy. A two pack.
We used one early on, thinking that was the time. It was not and that left only one. This was only to be used when we were pretty darn sure. Time passed and the house was cleaned a couple times by both of us. Drawers were organized and closets were too. Things were thrown away and some things were kept. In our organization and clean up attempts, someone (I’ll take full responsibility since I am the man of the house) threw the box out but kept the tester thingy. I mean, who needs a big bulky box right? Well, on the box of course, were the directions as to how to read the results of the test. Without the directions, the interpretations could be wildly inaccurate. So, there we stood in our little kitchen, next to the washing machine and microwave, looking at the result, knowing the truth but needing that reassurance that it was true. Why was that little hunk of plastic so important? Who knows, but we couldn’t make heads or tails of the result and the closest TARGET was in L.A. Fortunately, we found the truth soon. And our lives changed.
When and if we became pregnant, I wanted to try and keep it a secret because I had heard statistics of first time pregnancies. I didn’t want to go crazy and then have to detract all that excitement. But here in Shanghai, it is hardly possible to keep something this normal, this expected, a secret.
Somehow, in the city, at school, at church and in our neighborhood, Michelle was asked constantly about being pregnant and about when she will become pregnant. Some asked directly, even to me. Others made hand motions and puffed out their cheeks, signifying either they were about to vomit or whether my wife was going to give birth. The old ladies were the first. They just looked at Michelle and somehow they knew. Perhaps it is the years and years of experience the old ladies had knowing about pregnancy, or just a special gleam in Michelle’s eyes signifying the fact, or perhaps it is because Michelle looks even more gorgeous now as she is pregnant and they can see the smile on my face when I look at her. Who knows.
But they knew. It was kind of annoying.
Everyone asks Michelle, or tells her, that there will be all these different things that will change and you’ll become this way and you’ll do this. But nothing really gets you ready for the inevitable and how your specific body and experience and baby will react. Michelle, during the first month, became a force to be reckoned with. There wasn’t too many instances of “losing her lunch” but there were times when she was, let’s just say, less than happy about life and about me. My mother-in-law reassured me and told me not to worry about it. So, I tried to not have it bother me. I just tried to do everything that she asked me to do, and quickly.
Life has moved on and soon I will give you a glimpse into life during the second month… ah yes, the glorious second month…