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The First Trimester
by Danger Angel

I quit my job in the anticipation of going to India , and a week later I got pregnant. I see the divine plan in it now (ah hindsight), but at the time I just felt confused. And sick. And tired. And hungry. Yet nauseous all the time. The miracle of life. Hooray. There is no way around it - the first trimester sucks.

I had it easy - I didn't barf once. I've known women who threw up three times a day and couldn't eat anything but potatoes. Feeling so ill at the start of a pregnancy seems like a bad design. If the gods really wanted us to reproduce prodigiously they should have made pregnancy as fun as conception. And boy, conception was fun! After a marriage, many years of celibacy, and several fumbling attempts at boyfriends and booty calls, I had decided to hang up my sexual hat in favor of the spiritual path. I had even considered being ordained as a Buddhist nun. But then one foggy Christmas Eve... I got an email from the guy I lost my virginity to and we picked up where we left off 18 years ago. Baby making.

Since our reunion, my period had become strangely irregular, and I remember thinking the night I conceived: "I won't be fertile for another week...." HA! The next morning I woke up and thought "Uh-oh. Boobs hurt." This child is, as my father puts it, a "pope's child" - just like me. I was conceived in New Orleans (what the pope was doing in New Orleans - I don't know) to my good catholic mom who was practicing the rhythm method. Spiritual folks say "There are no accidents" An accident is a surprise, something you weren't expecting. Like a baby. So perhaps there are no accidents - just surprises.

The surprise (or rather growing suspicion) that I was pregnant weighed heavily - I was supposed to be going to India to chant with the Tibetans, and upon my return I would sit in a tree until the fall of Western Civ. What was I going to do with a baby? The decision was compounded by overwhelming fatigue and nausea. Overwhelming. If I had a job, I would have been fired for needing a 3pm nap everyday. My boyfriend and I divided the first trimester into "good baby days" and "bad baby days". At first I had nearly all bad baby days - mostly because I was the one feeling ill. On a bad baby day I would declare that I was getting an abortion and it would soon be over. But then every time I actually thought seriously about terminating the pregnancy I would panic. And then my boyfriend would tell me how much he loves me.and it would turn into a good baby day.

The decision to keep the rapidly growing life form inside me was not an easy one, so I sought the advice of my spiritual teachers and wise friends. My fellow Zen Hospice volunteers were very helpful - although pondering the miracle of life at a hospice was a strange paradox. I prayed relentlessly, read prodigiously and slept constantly. I was so tired and nauseous all the time I started to wonder if I was carrying a devil spawn - but a psychic friend said, "Just because you feel bad doesn't mean the baby is bad - YOU'RE PREGNANT!"

I picked up a copy of The Hip Mama Survival Guide by Ariel Gore (founder of Hip Mama Magazine ) and in the pregnancy chapter "When Your Body Becomes an Apartment" she astutely concludes "getting pregnant is like getting malaria or intestinal worms." I guess I didn't have to go to India - India came to me in the form of gestation. Tropical diseases or pregnancy - you decide. It was hard to dismiss the spiritual implications of what was actually occurring in favor of what I wanted to happen. So I decided to go all the way to motherhood. I'm sure it will be just like India .

If it weren't for the love and support of my boyfriend - the first trimester would have been hell. He let me sleep whenever I wanted, he held me when I cried, and he got me whatever food I wanted. I applaud all women who do this alone - Anne Lamott wrote about being a single mom brilliantly in her book "Operating Instructions: The Journal of My Son's First Year" - which my boyfriend and I read aloud to each other. I suppose being alone is better than being with a loser, but I know that having the man you love say he loves you when you're fat and nauseous is one of the greatest things in the world to hear. People have told me that hearing "Mommy, I love you." is the greatest thing in the world to hear. We'll see.

- Danger Angel

Read Danger Angel's Second Trimester

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"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it."
Margaret Fuller

"It's so clear that you have to cherish everyone. I think that's what I get from these older black women, that every soul is to be cherished, that every flower is to bloom."
Alice Walker

"My religion is very simple - my religion is kindness."
Dalai Lama

"Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, 'Grow, Grow.'"
The Talmud     


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