I’ve been getting a lot of books on pregnancy and childbirth from the library. It’s a great way to try out a book and see if it’s worth owning, or in the case of many, deciding it’s a great reference, but not worth a second read. For instance, Our Bodies, Our Selves: Pregnancy and Birth turned out to be exactly the book I wish I’d had starting in the first trimester. In fact, as I said to one woman who mentioned to me that she was in the pre-conception phase, throw What to Expect out the window and get this book instead. It has radical concepts like diagrams and non-judgmental medical advice. I mean, it doesn’t compare your fetus to the produce department on a weekly basis, but it does have a diagram that shows where your liver got shoved off to. And instead of all that “sympathy” over nausea (“Morning sickness? Talk about all day sickness! Ugh, right?”), it actually gives strategies for relieving it. So yeah, good book. But, honestly? It’s a great library book, because I really only need it once or twice.
I digress. I had found a new book I wanted to look at (actually, one that was noted in Our Bodies, and by the same author as another we’d read and adored, The Birth Partner). The library had it, but not at our branch, so I placed a hold/transfer request on it before remembering I was going that afternoon to the farmer’s market at another branch. Because pregnancy makes you stupid.
So before hitting the market, I stopped in the library to talk to the lovely ladies at the desk about the hold and to see if I could get the book directly, saving them a transfer. Turns out the hold request I saw online was for the OTHER person who’d requested the book and mine hadn’t been processed yet. Oh well. I still got peaches, so it’s hard to be upset.
At any rate, the point of all this is my walk into the library. I wish I could find a picture of the front entryway, because that makes the whole thing make a lot more sense. Imagine a big, wide hallway with mirrors along the left wall. There are also glass panels perpendicular to the mirrors in such a way that throws off your sense of perspective, but without distorting the images. The effect is that of seeing twice as many people in the entrance, but walking in the opposite direction. So as I entered, I caught a glimpse from the corner of my eye of a very pregnant lady exiting the library. I probably took at least five full steps before I realized that image was my own reflection.
Just for clarification: I didn’t recognize my own reflection while walking past a mirror.
I’m still processing that one, honestly. I’ve definitely found myself having difficulty reconciling the self-image in my head with the reflection I see in the morning, but this was an entirely new level. Not just a disconnect, but a total lack of recognition. I saw a stranger walking towards me. Not even “hey she kind of looks like me”. Just “Oh, another pregnant lady.” In fact, I think it was even accompanied by my usual “At least I’m not that big yet.”
So when I had that first real peach of the season yesterday afternoon, and it was so good I completely forgot I was pregnant for three whole minutes? Yeah, there’s a reason I wrote about that part of the day instead.