I didn't feel strange for eating alone. Dining alone is one of life's pleasures for me, freeing me from the obligation to juggle scooping, chewing, swallowing, and conversing with a lunch date all in a time frame of less than an hour, to accommodate the drive time. Besides, I haven't been alone since January. Rocco Strikes Back comes with me everywhere I go.
I'm 30 weeks along, in the third trimester, for the third time. When this pregnancy is done, I know I'll immediately miss the hiccups and kicks and strong, frequent movements of this baby. I know that overall, pregnancy is quite kind to me, so I feel guilty for feeling so ready for it to be over. My weight gain this time has been nominal. I've never, in four pregnancies, experienced morning sickness. My Thai Basil garnished with mounds of chili paste went down easily and I can rest assured that I will not experience the heartburn that plagues many pregnant women. When I stood to leave my booth I felt the strain on my tailbone from having been sitting with this concentrated mass of extra weight, but in the grand scheme of things the complaint is insignificant. One night a week I stand up for several hours to tend bar, and one night a week I bowl three games for my league team, and every day I climb the stairs in my home over and over again. I'm able-bodied, and life is good.
So, when the tears well up suddenly and surprisingly in my eyes I struggle to understand why. I've gone through a pregnancy haunted by the knowledge that my son would be born with a fatal defect, and I shed fewer tears. I carried my rainbow baby on a journey that brought about surprisingly mixed emotions as I struggled to believe that she was real, and that she would stay, and wrestled with the fact that she would be here while my son is not, a painful experience of its own. Why, then, when my life is so stable and my future is so bright, should I cry as much as I do now?
The answer is so simple that it has become a default: Pregnancy hormones. Pregnant women cry because they are hormonal, so very hormonal that they can't control their responses. It's an annoyingly referenced response, but I'm finding these days it's true. For the first time in four pregnancies, three of which have/will make it to term, I am experiencing just that. I cry because I just can't help it.
I must admit, it feels good to cry. I've chosen two careers, law and bartending, which have required me to develop a thick skin. I allowed fissures in my shell when Gabriel was diagnosed, when he was born and died, and again when Ben left. My writing has chronicled the grief, but rarely did I let a tear fall in public. Stifling the tears in public lead to an inability to cry alone. Now, the well of tears that has fallen from my eyes in a seeming surplus since I've been pregnant with Rocco Strikes Back, just feels like years of dammed up pain finally being released in unexpected ways.
Marcos continues to prove time and again that he is more than I ever could have asked for and everything I could ever want. He tolerates my tears and mood swings in good stride. In my dysfunction I don't know if I'll ever be able to demonstrate to him how very much I love him and how thankful I am that he's come along and filled my life with so much love. For the third time, I'm bringing life into this world, but I've only got one life to live, and I love the way I'm living it.