Come join me on the see-saw

Euphoria. Sobs. Laughter. Tears. Energetic. Destroyed. Excited. Worried. Loved. Lonely. Up and down and up and down she goes…

So much of this depends on the weather. Really! Well, usually. When it is cool and blue-skied, I am noticeably less puffy and achy, more energetic, and my mood goes up. When it is hot and humid, I wake up the Staypuft Marshmallow Woman and can almost count on crying at some point in the day. But sometimes it’s not the weather. Sometimes it’s just whatever my mysterious hormones du jour are, and I have to work with them…

Example: On Sunday, we went to Brooklyn and had brunch with DH’s parents, who were in town. Actually, I met DH there, as he’d gone the night before, had dinner, and stayed the night in his parents’ hotel room. He told me, when we met up, that he’d had a “long, good talk” with his parents about how his parents feel about money, their money, and giving it to their kids. This came up because his dad had paid their bill at dinner, and the Korean guy at the cash register said: “This is not right. You are an old man. Your sons should be taking care of you.” This only reinforces what he already feels, and what his prestige-conscious Korean friends highlight—their sons are medical doctors and really rub it in. DH’s parents do not support us, but I guess his dad is still feeling resentful about having helped us pay for IVF at CCRM (nice!) and now he is feeling resentful about beginning to now pay for his older son going to graduate law school (he already has a graduate degree). This subject of their money is one I’m used to by now, but it still makes me irate. For example, we were offered the money for IVF, but then sent scolding, awful emails afterward, berating us for asking, and I wrote back saying: I do not want your money, if it is given like this (but they insisted, and all negotiations took place between DH and them). When DH graduated with high honors and a publishable thesis, and proceeded to land an excellent job with only one month lag time between graduation and the job, the first thing his father talked about when he saw him was the mansion his friend’s son had just purchased for him. I thought I would vomit. Also, that was the visit his mom made a very elaborate point of telling DH and me that they were not leaving any inheritance to us when they died, that all of their money and assets were going to the government—it took me some time afterward to understand that this was a performance, one intended for me, to make sure I wasn’t a gold digger. Ha! I would be the worst gold digger, going after a jobless guy who was still in school! I had, only months before meeting DH, dated a rich guy who bought paintings for tens of thousands of dollars from galleries during our dates, to impress me, and I dropped him because he was obsessed with himself—if only she knew!

Anyway, that’s the backdrop. Their values have always made my stomach turn. They are obsessed with prestige, with the way things look, and my father-in-law simply cannot get over the fact that his sons did not become medical doctors who now make tons of money and take care of him. Even though he does not need taking care of, being extremely financially comfortable; paying for his son’s law school is not going to change his lifestyle/livelihood in any way. I get so angry because both DH and his brother are high-functioning, responsible adults whom their dad should simply be proud of. He has no appreciation, none that he outwardly shows, for what he has. He will never be satisfied with how they turned out because it doesn’t fit the exact vision that he had. How miserable. And how hurtful for DH.

Woah. Long tangent! Guess I needed to get that out. My point is, this sort of thing would usually totally throw me for days. I did say to DH, “So he sees you one time this year, and this is what he chooses to talk to you about, his precious money and his disappointment that you don’t have more money. Even though you are totally financially supporting yourself and me two years out of graduate school. But I guess you’re not able to buy him a mansion yet.” But that was it. I limited myself to one snarky comment, and I let it go.

And I proceeded to have a wonderful day!

We went to brunch at Prime Meats with his parents, his brother and my sister-in-law, our seven-year-old niece, and DH’s totally awesome cousin S, a chic I basically fell in love with at the table, she was so funny, so easy to talk to. I was able to totally forget the b.s. DH told me about and open my heart to his parents, talk to them about the pregnancy. We didn’t talk much, but it was pleasant enough. His dad of course only asked about when my next doctor appointment was, and how frequent the appointments were, but I expected that.

My sister-in-law, cousin S, and I had really great chemistry and were laughing a lot, really hard and loud. I felt very happy and appreciative of this sector of my in-laws.

But this is my point: Even though it was the hottest day on planet Earth, and even though we got caught in traffic on the way home and I was very uncomfortable in the car, I went to sleep contented, and when I did my 3:30 a.m. wakey-wake (read + bowl of cereal for an hour) I woke up smiling. Soon I was laughing out loud a little. I was thinking about all of the people in my life whom I love. I was thinking a lot about my Ma-Maw and how lucky I am that she is part of me.

I was feeling euphoria. Kind of out of the blue.

When I say euphoria, I mean something different from happiness. It was bigger. It felt drug-induced. It was free of caveats. It was just pure bliss.

I walked around the apartment with my cereal, marveling. What was this? Where was it coming from? I couldn’t stop smiling.

It had to have been partly hormonal, right?

Anyway, it was amazing. Freeing. A gift. I fell back to sleep smiling.

The next day, I woke up as if underwater. Hot. Very hot. I tried to do things, but there was this heavy gray curtain resting all over the surface of my brain. After my loveno.x shot, I collapsed on the couch, the needle dangerously sticking in the cushion! As if I’d just shot up heroin.

Then I proceeded to sleep for half the day.

When we finally managed to leave the house and go to the beach, I felt disgustingly huge and heavy. I tried to walk it out. I tried splashing cold water on myself. We were working on our birth plan, and I found I couldn’t look at the helpful drawings of babies pushing through pelvises in The Birth Partner. At a certain point, I collapsed on the blanket and sobbed. “I’m uncomfortable, just so uncomfortable!” I cried and cried.

DH massaged my back, and I felt better, and within about thirty minutes, I was, out of the blue, rather peppy and sarcastic. I was cracking salty jokes that made DH choke on his water. I was in rare form and did not stop during the whole drive home. It was like I was doing stand-up. We were cracking up.

This lasted until I happened to log onto FB and see that a friend had tagged me in a picture of DH and me from Brooklyn Bridge Park the day before (we went to her daughter’s b-day party before the brunch). I have never, I mean never, seen such an unflattering photo of me on FB. Puffy is not the word. My eyes are barely open. I look very exhausted and very fat. Even DH admitted that it was a pretty bad photo of me. I detagged, asked the woman to please take it down, and then I burst into sobs. “I’m going to be a fat mom!” I was crying on the bed, rolling around. “I am going to have hammock arms! I’m going to look old! Strangers are going to ask our son, ‘Are ya havin’ a nice day with grandma?'”

DH could not stop laughing. I could not stop crying. And then cry-laughing. “What is going on with you, Bayba?” he asked.

I just shook my head, bewildered.

Okay, see-saw girl has got to get off this couch now and start her day. Will she go up? Will she go down? Only the wind knows…

Leave a comment


  1. This is so funny. The image of you passed out with your Love.nox shot is gold lol! I wish I could say this gets better when the baby arrives, but you basically described my day yesterday. Extreme love and bliss to yelling and tears in the course of an hour. ;)

  2. I can totally sympathize! And, unfortunately, the hormonal mood-swings stick around for a little while after birth. BUT! It will get better, and it will be worth it, and you won’t always be puffy. 3 months later I no longer cringe at photos of myself 9 months pregnant!

  3. I’ve definitely caught myself crying more easily lately, but I haven’t experienced the euphoric highs yet. Looking forward to those! Crazy how chemicals in your brain can have such a profound effect.

  4. Oh no, an unflattering photo you didn’t post is the WORST! Especially if it makes you feel so sad. (I have never heard of “hammock arms,” but I can totally picture them and I fear them, too!) I’m so sorry your in-laws are so difficult to deal with. I would have a hard time holding my tongue, so kudos to you! I am glad you have the highs to go with the lows, hopefully more highs are on the way!


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