there are only two things that i think about all day: the baby and art. and yet here, i've nothing at all to say about the latter, as it is the baby that occupies my dreams and upsets my stomach. it is the baby that is becoming, ever-so-slowly, yet surely indeed, an overwhelming force in my life, something to consume everything that came before it. all we talk about is the baby and its names and its things that it will need. we call everyone we know to tell them of our news. i take prenatal vitamins and eat six times a day. we read books about the baby and keep a journal about the baby. we know its size and the shape it should be taking. sometimes i talk to the baby, though it has no ears. all my flesh becomes tender and my dreams are taken over by the baby, by my belly, by labor and nursing. i dreamt that i was nursing the cat. i dreamt that i went into labor and spent three hours filling out paperwork. i dreamt about shopping for clothes for the baby. the only thing that i have actually bought for the baby to date, is a halloween costume in the shape of a chicken. my mother thinks this says something about me as a weirdo, or me as a person, though i'm not sure precisely what. jon runs my diet so that i eat beans and lots of dairy and raw vegetables and fruit. we differentiate between good fat (nuts) and bad fat (beef). we check salad dressings and other condiments for sugar and sodium content. at the grocery, we buy low sodium, fat-free, organic soups in cans and ginger ale to calm my stomach. i wash my hands every time i play with the cats. i lay down on the floor carefully, to avoid injury to anything. i wear sensible shoes everywhere i go. i carry bottled water and sunflower seeds in the car for a snack. we looked at the baby section in the store the other day just to window shop. we looked at swings and car seats and plush toys and onesies and receiving blankets. jon was confused as to why everything was pastel. we laughed at the baby clothes encrusted with pro and college football insignia. we examined diaper bags and changing table pads. we saw babies in strollers and babies in shopping carts. every time the phone rings, i talk about the baby. every christmas card that comes says something about the baby. so instead of my life taking on the shape of the writer, with me writing furiously and hysterically, my life has taken on the shape of the pregnant woman. mi es embarazada. i am hysterically and fervently considering the welfare, the future, the present of my baby. it is all that there is here, just now: baby, baby, baby, baby, baby. i am not, however, particularly upset about this. i must simply find a way to return to normal. i must figure out how to become accustomed to myself as the pregnant woman without defining myself as such, without limiting myself to the title.

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