In Training

May 21, 2010 at 4:41 am (Uncategorized)

Yesterday, I was a tight little ball of bright red rage, so I thought I’d spare you good people my spectacularly filthy mood. I went for a walk while the sun was back (at the moment it really can’t seem to make up its mind), and I was giving myself a stern talking to about it, along the lines of, “People want humorous anecdotes about pregnancy and the sexes and the domestic carnage that ensues when a couple’s expecting – no one wants to hear the tough stuff! So shut up! Keep it to yourself unless you can be funny about it!”

And yesterday, I could not be funny about it. I was acutely unamused. So I couldn’t write anything – except a four-page letter to Llew, giving him a piece of my mind in several parts.

And no, I don’t think it’s the exploding pregnancy hormones, although I’m perfectly prepared to trot that out as a convenient excuse for a multitude of sins in the coming months. Indeed, so far this week I have had an uncontrollable giggling fit and a Linda Blair-style temper tantrum, both while in bed, so my moods are certainly oscillating wildly. But this was just me being really, really angry with Llew, and no amount of hormone imbalance is behind the reason why. Nope, he’s the reason why I was so angry with him, plain and simple.

I expect a lot of Llew – it’s a very high bar, and it’s not easy being him. I know that. But I won’t apologise for it – I expect a lot of myself too, and I work really, really hard so as to be the best partner in life I can be. I apply myself to my relationship with Llew the exact same way I apply myself to everything else: there’s a lot of laughter involved, but that doesn’t mean I’m not dead serious. I’m not suggesting Llew doesn’t try equally hard – he busts his balls – I’m only saying that sometimes I have expectations Llew does not meet. And now that we’re (still!) pregnant, some of those expectations have necessarily changed. In fairness, I think Llew’s probably looking around, lost, extremely confused to find himself playing a rather bloody game of catch-up, and here I am charging at him, seconds before I mow him down. Because I, you see, am carrying the ball.

So if we take this metaphor just a little further, this pregnancy is a game changer. The rules have changed overnight. And I guess in such scenarios it must take some players longer to adjust than others – the men on the team, for instance, who may struggle to make the distinction between yesterday’s game plan and today’s. They aren’t quite clear on the implications for the position they have traditionally played. It looks the same, it feels the same… what’s different? On the other hand, the women on the side don’t have to ask. They know the answer because they are instantly living it: everything. Everything has changed.

So what to do? Well, I think the team has to keep talking. That seems pretty vital to me, especially while these adjustments are being made. And I think I have to expect a lot of trial and error from each member of the team. I really don’t like trial and error, I’ve never enjoyed a single one of my countless mistakes, and I hate it when I can’t do something, but I have reached a point of maturity at which I accept that they comprise an inescapable and in many ways invaluable part of life. Failure has benefits – so says J.K. Rowling (courtesy of NorwichRocks, whose reach across the web for the perfect link apparently knows no bounds – much like our friend Fugitive Pieces, who kindly supplied this to help console me about my unbroken losing streak), and I think she’s right.

What else is happening? Well, inspired by Shuckin’ Charlotte’s own snazzy hand-warmers last year, Darkling C hatched a plan with her mum Bundy B to keep the Darklings toasty at the keyboard for the coming season (without question my least favourite of the four. I both feel and dislike the cold). We now each have our very own short version of the writer-friendly  hand-warmer that Bundy B knitted for us specially – mine are orange and I luuuurve them – how fabulous is that? They are so nifty and so toasty and I think Bundy B is absolutely tops!

Otherwise, it’s been a week of redrafting. Except for yesterday, when I was too dark to draft. But the first major milestone of this MS redraft is getting closer, and hopefully it will put me in good stead for stage two. I’d like to get the first part of this monster job done and dusted today, in fact, so I’d best get back to it.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Next week: comfort food, the Sydney Writers’ Festival, and what the hell is happening to my body?

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15 Comments

  1. litlove said,

    I can recall getting very cross with my husband a couple of times in my pregnancy. I knew things were changing, that our whole lives were about to change, and I desperately needed to see him altering his patterns of behaviour to fit the shape we were moving into. But of course, I was the one pregnant, for him nothing had happened, and so he couldn’t see it. Which is what you’re saying. Well, my experience says babies teach and they teach fast. In the meantime, talking always helps. And kicking something soft and harmless, like a cushion, can work too. Just don’t kick anything with a hard edge – been there, done that, nothing to recommend it!

    • doctordi said,

      LL, as it happens I was punching the bedclothes last Wednesday… quite similar to a cushion, I think… I just hope my self-preservation instinct is strong enough to avoid breaking a toe or finger by kicking or hitting something serious.

  2. Lilian Nattel said,

    I think Litlove gave the best advice! TY for the link to Rowling’s speech. It’s a good one.

    • doctordi said,

      Yes, Lilian, I thought so too on both counts! Cushions and copious failure, here I come!

  3. Grad said,

    I am sure your’re feeling much better by now. Have a lovely weekend. Do something fun together – even if it’s just relaxing in the coziness of your home, and enjoy the moment.

    • doctordi said,

      Actually we didn’t spend much of the weekend together, Graddikins, but when we did come together, we certainly did relax in the cosiness of our home, and it was most improving.

  4. davidrochester said,

    I have watched that dynamic with all of my friends who have become pregnant — sometimes the husband doesn’t get with the program until several months after the baby is born. As Litlove remarks, it’s harder for the guy to “get” the sense of urgency that is built into the physical and hormonal changes of a mother who is making a person. He’ll catch up; it just might be on the baby’s schedule, rather than yours. 🙂

    And on another note … what a wonderful, wonderful problem to be having! I’m delighted!

    • doctordi said,

      David, of course this is the overriding thought, you’re right, that it’s a nice problem to have. But I do intend to challenge this assumption about its being okay for a husband to have such a delayed reaction to consequences of actions in which he was a fully informed and willing participant. I really can’t abide this generally accepted idea that it’s so impossible for a man to comprehend or empathise with the changes taking place on this side of the partnership. I think it’s an oft’ repeated piece of propaganda that insists on the status quo. As such, I won’t be having a bar of it. I’ve been perfectly able to grasp the enormity of my friends’ lives changing for years and years, and I would expect at least as much from my own best friend, being Llew.

  5. plumbean said,

    i could not imagine being nearly that articulate when faced with this situation. i love that for every point you exact from your partner you offer him one in return. either in the form of acknowledging his effort or by acknowledging your own exactitude. it is such a good quality.

    • doctordi said,

      Well, Priya, it’s because he really is a good egg… I think that decency overall demands a very fair hearing in the face of a misdemeanour.

  6. Pete said,

    Good to see you tackling the problems head-on and making the necessary changes now rather than later. And thanks for the link to JK’s speech. Very reassuring to hear about the benefits of failure and the importance of imagination (and empathy). Hope you have a good week.

    • doctordi said,

      Pete, I think that’s true, I think that’s part of it: one has to communicate one’s expectations early and repeatedly. Expecting behaviour to change if it’s been accepted for a long time previously is just a recipe for disaster and disappointment, in my opinion. Llew needs to be fully equipped with all the relevant information if I’m to expect him to know my mind.

    • doctordi said,

      Yes, she made good sense, didn’t she?

  7. Norwichrocks said,

    Well, firstly, splendid that you’re still pregnant 🙂

    Secondly, it sounds like you and Llew are going through a very normal adjustment phase – it also sounds as though you’re handling it well; acknowledging his efforts as much as your own high expectations. You’ll have bad days and good days, as with any major life change (and they don’t come much more major!), and the trick is to remember that “This Too Will Pass” when you’re in a towering rage or a black despair.

    P.S. jolly glad that the JK Rowling speech went down so well. I can recommend TED talks unreservedly, whenever you have a spare few minutes. There are some absolute gems on that site.

  8. doctordi said,

    Yes, that is splendid. I’m looking forward to all the 12 week tests being behind us, that’s for sure.

    All very sensibly put, NR. I agree it’s normal territory everyone goes through, and we will find our own way through it.

    Yes, so I see, I am enjoying them – thanks again!

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