About 38 weeks ago, I went to see two movies in the theatre in the same week. The first movie I saw was Before Midnight. The second movie I saw was Frances Ha. As I sat in the cool, dark theaters, watching the stories play out before me, I couldn't help but notice the humorous connection I was feeling to both of the films.
Frances Ha is about a struggling, somewhat lost, young woman in NYC trying desperately to find her footing in the cruel cruel competitive art scene/world. That was my entire 20's, in a nut shell. I was Frances. Impulsive, driven (but easily distracted) and utterly "un-dateable." My most significant relationship was with my best girlfriend from college, and I wanted to be an artist but was not very organized about actually going about it. I loved this movie, I was charmed by it, I felt nostalgic and filled with a bitter sweet melancholy as I watched the black and white version of New York. But I was relieved as well. Frances's life looked hard. She was homeless, poor and unemployed. I live in a nice condo in Sunny L.A. and have a job that pays all my bills and allows me to go see two movies in one week. I have artistic endeavors that are going well. My "Frances Ha" time is behind me.
On the other hand, Before Midnight is about a married couple with two young children who analyze every aspect of their marriage, sex life, child care and careers, as they drive, and stroll through some beautiful European countryside. I was feeling humorously connected to this film, not because it was in my past the way Frances Ha was, but because it was in my future…my immediate future. Because, earlier that week, that morning in fact, I had taken a pregnancy test. And it had been positive.
Now, you might be thinking, "Wait a minute! Weren't you single and looking for love and hanging out mostly with your dog and missing your ex boyfriend who you'd split with almost a year earlier because he had decided against having children???" Yes, you are correct. But what I didn't tell you was that the ex and I were still seeing each other (secretly, I guess) and we were coming to the decision that we wanted to make it work together. I had talked it over at length with my therapist who told me it was OK that I wanted what I wanted. I just hadn't told any of my friends, because I was pretty sure they would tell me that I was making a mistake. Prolonging my heartache. And I was scared that they were right. But love is hard to ignore, and the heart wants what it wants and all that jazz.
So when the second pink line appeared on the test, I had mixed emotions. I was happy, and terrified, and slightly ashamed. I was happy because I wanted a baby, and I wanted it with Eric. I was terrified because I wasn't totally clear on what Eric wanted, and I was ashamed because I'd been keeping so many secrets, I was sure everyone would think I had been irresponsible and crazy and had concocted a plan to entrap Eric. But at the end of the day, happiness was the winner. Eric was totally on board, my family and friends were all delightfully supportive. It was an amazing twist of fate. And now, 38 weeks later, I am super pregnant with a baby boy (yet to be named) engaged to be married and very very happy about it all.
I've meant to write about all of this sooner, but my first trimester was spent on set filming my other "baby" Other People's Children (the feature film I wrote and produced and have been talking about for…YEARS!.) The second trimester was spent catching up on all of the things that I missed being too busy (and sick) during that first trimester and the third trimester has been spent mostly working and baby prepping. But luckily, I have had a delightfully easy pregnancy with no complications and relatively little discomfort. A friend referred to mine as an "epic pregnancy!" So, I'm hoping that will translate into an epic birth/epic baby/ epic parenting skills. So far, so good. Birthing Class is going well. The Breastfeeding 101 class we took last night was empowering, helpful and fun, and we got to watch a video with a lot of boobs and babies and who doesn't like looking at boobs? And babies? They're both so awesome. And I just watched a video of an elephant giving birth that was gross and amazing, and if she can do it, then, dammit, so can I! All is well.
However, on New Years day, when I woke up, exhausted from having worked late the night before (no partying for this Preggo) and Eric said to me that 2013 was one of the best years of his life, for a moment I felt totally confused. By his account of the year, he had done some soul searching, re-connected with some great guy friends, did several successful film projects, gotten back together with me, moved back in together, gotten engaged and was expecting a son. All good things. So why was I still obsessing about the first third of the year when I was an alone and miserable mess? But upon reflection, I realized that he was right. I had also done a lot of soul searching, gone to therapy (always a good thing, I think) visited with friends, wrote, prepped and filmed my first feature, supported my sister through her pregnancy, reunited with the love of my life, gotten engaged, travelled, and grew a human. Not a bad year at all. And Jasper didn't seem surprised at all when Eric moved back in. I think he knew that was gonna happen all along. He's a pretty wise little dog.
So now I try to look foreword instead of backward and to focus on all the fun and hard work we have ahead of us. And if I have any questions, I have a lot of friends with babies who I can call. In fact, I don't even need to call. The main thing I've noticed about being pregnant is that everyone (and I mean everyone) has something they want to tell you about it. Some "truth" they need to impart to you about your upcoming labor, delivery, and parenting future. Sometimes, these people are strangers in the Target that want to tell you what coco butter to buy. Sometimes they're your childless neighbor who wants to tell you what nipple cream you should get, and how you should never, ever drink caffeine/sugar/honey/windex etc. And sometimes they're a gay guy you work with who's really concerned that you will regret your choice to labor without an epidural. And sometimes it's all your very close friends with helpful tips and hints and awesome hand-me-downs that save you from the overwhelming marketplace that is becoming a parent. And, as annoyed as I get by some suggestions ("don't drink that thing or your baby will definitely come out with a tail") I'm mostly grateful for all the help and support I received from friends and strangers alike. And I know it's gonna be a piece of cake (insert winky face emoticon here)
I'm sure all of my friends with babies will have a few things to say about that.