Pregnancy, Expectations and Safety

Krista Dutt

Guest post from…Krista Dutt is the city director of DOOR Chicago where her love of Chicago and of faith development come together in relationships.  She is a graduate of Bluffton College (1999) and Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary (2002).  She and her husband, Jim, have been foster parents and are cat parents to MJ.  Krista attends First Church of the Brethren, a church body that she can’t get enough of.

“You are pregnant,” my husband, Jim, says over and over.  Though sometimes he says “You are preggers.”

It gets on my nerves. As if I could forget! Especially over the course of the last two weeks when suddenly I went from, “Maybe she’s pregnant” to “Are you due next month?”  Recently, I asked Jim why he felt the need to remind me over and over that I was with child.

“Well, you know how lots of men don’t think of being a dad until the baby comes?  I don’t want to be like that.  I want to remind myself that we are growing a child now.”

He wants to remember, and I don’t exactly want to forget, but I don’t want this pregnancy to take over my life. 

I didn’t think I would be like this.  I loved talking about our foster process and then our foster daughter and our two foster grandchildren.  I am, by nature, an extravert that loves external processing.   But, this just feels so different.  This feels like a 9-month intimate moment between Jim and me and in my case, doctors and more doctors.

I feel stuck between the privileged world’s message that I am supposed to be so excited, happy and buying stuff until my heart is content and what I really am most of the time – scared and worried and sick.  I want to be happy; I want to be excited – but generally I feel grounded in the reality of getting through the day.  I don’t feel I can share these feelings, because where is the safe place to do so?

Early in my pregnancy I heard from my doctors, “You are too sick to be pregnant.”  (Note: I doubt the kind woman that I am trusting  my baby’s and my own life to actually said this in this exact way, but it’s what I heard.)  While there seems to be significant healthy progress, I have become a case study for the ob/gyn doctor’s practice.  So, while I try to think of the cute baby that has Jim’s eyes and my nose or vice versa, most of the time I wonder if I will ever get to that part of this natural process.  Morbid?  Probably.  Realistic?  Maybe.

Then there are the issues of how I plan on parenting.  Even before the infamous Time article  or the New York Times round tables  about parenting styles, we have gotten all “those” questions : Are you quitting your job?   Why is Jim so worried about not getting a good paternity leave deal?  Are you finally going to move to a safer neighborhood?

I get that my lifestyle may be odd to some, but parenting is probably going to make me more odd, not less.  But again, I am shying away from such conversations, because I don’t want to be the crying pregnant lady all the time – sometimes is fine.

I have shared this with trusted people in my life, but when the everyday acquaintance wants to chat me up about pregnancy, I will pass.  Clearly, it’s not socially acceptable to dump this kind of information on the sidewalk or maybe even on a blog.  But, for this girl – who usually revels in the socialness of life – pregnancy has made me feel unsafe in social settings. 

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