The Gestation Will Not Be Televised: Notes on Not Writing About Being Pregnant

Ceci n’est pas mon enfant


I have a pregnancy app on my phone. It tells me, week by week, which fruit my progeny most closely resembles (currently eggplant, in case you were wondering). It also blurts out daily tips on what I need to do (today I apparently need to buy a new bra). One of the daily nags that keeps popping up with regularity is the suggestion that I should start a pregnancy blog to publicly detail the many glorious changes taking place as I incubate my eggplant. With regular photos of my bump as it gets bumpier, for everyone’s viewing pleasure. That’s the other regular nag that comes up.

Yeah, no.

As someone who meticulously detailed most of the first three or so decades of life in various paper and electronic formats, I’m finding myself inexplicably, vehemently, disinterested in writing about or documenting in any way this current development. I haven’t even bothered to keep notes in a private journal. I’m the person who felt compelled to write about my daily drive to work in Istanbul, the butchered fowl of my street in Shanghai, my lunch in Morocco, my hotel apples in Hangzhou– and yet I have no desire to write about the curious science experiment involving the growing bag of frenzied weasels embedded in my midsection.


Celin - Chickens

Or, for examples, chickens in a small village in Kapadokya, Turkey


I’m frankly surprised, to be honest.

It’s not that I’d anticipated a burning desire to tell the world about the minutiae of intimate changes taking place, nor did I assume I’d feel compelled to create a week by week bump growth photo gallery here or on Facebook. I’m not that kind of girl. I like to keep private things private, for the most part. I did, however, think that I’d be sufficiently motivated to at least document it somewhat for my own future interest. A private diary; a photo album in my computer. Reflections on something unfathomably life altering and, although universal, utterly new to me.

But no.

This is not the most interesting or difficult or ultimately identity defining thing I’ve ever done, nor is it the most pressing issue I’m trying to sort out right now.  I am not my bump, or at least I am wholly myself plus bump. The bump does what it does without much input from me. Right now, it’s a lot more sticky-outy than it was a few weeks ago, so I got some new shirts to deal with that. Mr Scary Skull Face Kicky Pants has been thwacking away from the inside on a regular basis, like the predictably gestating angry eggplant he is.

There’s not much more that needs to be addressed at this point. Nothing worth writing about, beyond what I’ve just noted.

When people see me or write to me these days, often only the subcutaneous proto-child (or my pregnant state itself) is noted and addressed, and a disconcerting amount of talk then seems to shift to a) what cravings I’m having (none, thank you), b) how extraordinarily large the kid is and by extension how vast I am (he isn’t and I’m not, thank you), c) how I need to get sleep now because I’ll never sleep again, d) how I must be all weepy/moody/swollen/waddly/whatever (nope, nope, nope).

I feel like I’ve stopped being me (remember me? the one who reads and cooks and travels and writes about mops and sometimes does cool scary stuff?) in the eyes of a lot of people and have become some archetypal, predictable, pathological Pregnant Lady/Mom figure. It’s boring. My waistline is not interesting. My inner hormonal and physiological shifts are not interesting. They certainly don’t warrant blog posts or even Facebook updates. Do you know what does? The awesome experimental breads I’ve been baking. Living out in the deep woods of Vancouver Island, in the minimalist little house I grew up in, warmed at night by the cast iron wood-burning stove, surrounded by a world I had hastily left behind two decades ago. The multiple journeys to Vancouver we’ve been taking to get a million official, bureaucratic things sorted out, with free time to wander around Chinese night markets, to hike in the woods, to explore groovy neighbourhoods, to see old friends.



Lake Cowichan is lovely at this time of year, you know.


I’m trying to recognize how quietly, immensely amazing and daunting and life altering this whole baby thing is without forgetting that it is just one of many amazing (and daunting and life altering) things that has happened (and is happening) in my life, not the sole defining one.

My guess is that what happens next- when the kid is finally born and we finally find a country that will take both of us and this whole weird period of hiatus/stasis is resolved- will be what’s worth writing about.

We shall see.

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About MaryAnne

I live in Hanoi. I used to live in Shanghai (hence this blog’s title) but I left in 2013. I tend to travel. I cook stuff. I read a lot. I try to scare myself silly with regularity. I write about it all. A lot.