Nothing new is really happening on the pregnancy front. I'm growing a human in my body. Just like every other woman who has ever been pregnant. Just regular stuff.
But what is different this time around is how pregnancy is treated here in Indonesia. So, I got knocked up and then I became an invalid.
Last week I was hanging out with a few other moms. A ball got kicked into a planter, which greatly distressed the children, so I did what was reasonable. Is scaled the vast heights of the raised flower bed (TWO FEET), and stepped over the pants to retrieve the ball. And then I made my descent.
All this to the great shock of the mothers around me: sharp intakes of breath; admonishments for my negligence; warnings to be careful, outstretched hands helped to brace me as I leapt down, headless of the consequences!!! (Actually, I just bent my knee a bit, and then stepped down. Two feet. People. I mean. I don't think a step, even an especially large step, is going to jostle this kid free of my innards. Just a hunch. And, um, also, biology.)
People, even those fairly close to me, regularly question my ability to carry my own kid, or lift a bag, or walk 1500 meters. And they're not afraid to tell me that I'll harm my baby if I overexert myself. I get side-eyes at the gym, worried glances, and judgmental looks.
It seems to me that this notion that a woman's body is week is prevalent here in Indonesia. Take for example the concept of "period leave." Each month women are entitled to two days off due to their monthly cycle. Because oh! these poor girls who experience a natural biological process, they need to take time off work and stay in bed! Or something.
This is problematic, for all sorts of reasons, but mostly because if you buy into this, then you basically accept the notion that women are inherently delicate and thus less capable than men. Which, arrrg! Sorry I have a uterus!
(Not actually sorry at all.)
By and large, I'm trying to live like normal (though admittedly I did opt out of cooking a whole lot during the first trimester when nausea was king.) Still, I'm aware of and totally irritated by the sideward looks and judgmental comments. I've been a bit reluctant to hit the gym here, but I'm working on that? Maybe? And I'm doing my best to bite my feminist tongue, because I have complicated feelings about post-colonial guilt, cultural imperialism, pedantic Western-centric world view, and moral relativism.
But still, I'm going to lift up my kid, even though I'm pregnant, so lay off, k?