Pregnancy Update

I thought it was time for a pregnancy update. As my belly grows ever larger (I’m about 6 1/2 months pregnant now), the, "My how fat you’ve become!" comments have taken a backseat to people marveling more and more at my ability to function with a two year old while pregnant. People often use the phrase, "Ni hen bang!" which roughly translates into, "You are pretty studly!" I much prefer this state of affairs.

We have also recently discovered that come January 9th or so we will be welcoming a little GIRL into our family. Sharing this news has elicited two responses. First, people are thrilled, because although people typically only have one child here, the ideal family is thought to be one boy (ideally the boy being older) and then one girl just makes things perfect. Little do folks know that we have no intention of stopping at two children. Second, people want to know how we found out so soon. Here, it is illegal to find out the sex of your child before birth. It is widely known that the Chinese treasure their sons, and sadly, many more little girls would be aborted if people were allowed to find out the gender. Although more and more the attitudes are changing here toward girls, the government had to step in and take action a while back, in part because the boy to girl ratio is dangerously out of balance here. It is something like 117 boys to every 100 girls, whereas the global average is something like 102 girls to every 100 boys. Nonetheless, everyone wants to know what clinic we went to so they can tell their friends who are pregnant. I have to explain that we were only told because we are foreigners, and I’d doubt they’d have the same luck.

Speaking of our clinic, our good doctor kindly told me that I was gaining too much weight. He looked at my chart (comparing my weight in June to my weight now) and stated, "Wow you had a really good vacation, didn’t you?" While stifling the urge to throw the nearest heavy object at him, I calmly explained that I gained the same amount of weight with Leo, and didn’t have any problems losing it. Then, he went on to explain to me that he recommends that women only gain X number of kilograms during pregnancy. I then stifled the urge to laugh out loud, because "X" almost equals what I’ve already gained. And clearly this baby and I are only getting bigger these next 3 months or so. By the way, "X" is far below the standard weight gain recommendations in the US, where I never received a backward glance for how many pounds I gained with my first child. I blame this problem on tiny Asian women who have thrown the curve by gaining almost nothing during pregnancy.

After eating a decent amount of chocolate that night to spite my good doctor (whom I really appreciate despite his inability to appreciate my healthy frame), I came to my senses and realized I’m going to have to march to the beat of my own drummer in some ways this pregnancy. From finding a place to deliver this child, to how much weight I am gaining, to what I am capable of on a daily basis, my tastes and sensibilities and ideas are just plain different than those of the Chinese.

Speaking of differences, as winter approaches I am in need of a few cold-weather maternity clothes to make it to my due date. For Western women in China, maternity clothes truly present a problem. To say that Chinese maternity clothing is less than fashionable does not do justice to the clothing that Chinese women are willing to don during pregnancy (whereas usually they are very fashion conscious). I am hardly the fashion queen myself, but I refuse to wear corduroy overalls with stitched teddy bears all over them (really, I am not kidding, this clothing item seems to form the basis of the Chinese woman’s maternity wardrobe in colder weather). The other staple is a protective smock that claims to shield the baby from outside sources of radiation. They are expensive and not so attractive, but since women only have one child, they will go to great lengths to protect their baby from any possible malformations that radiation could bring on.

Luckily, I bought an entire lot of winter maternity clothing from a Swedish woman in Shanghai who is done having children (and who also has GREAT taste). I seriously lucked out, and seem to have narrowly escaped the teddy-bear overalls. Whew!

In Chinese women’s defense, pregnancy is really quite a special time here. And if I only had one shot at it, I might be willing to don my overalls too so that I could shout to the world that I was pregnant – even if I looked like I was wearing a really huge teddy-bear tent. Maybe, but probably not. There are some cultural differences I will never understand and this is one of them.

Lastly, we are now the proud owners of a stroller, which is allowing me a much greater range of motion and ease here in Nanjing. Leo loves his new ride and wants to go for long strolls every day. It also happens to be the lightest stroller in the world (3.5 kilograms!), is easy to fold with one hand, and transports on the bus easily. It’s my dream come true really, and I have to keep myself from patting it every time I walk by it in the house. Gone are the days of schlepping Leo, my backpack, and my belly, and here are the days of rolling Leo into a store to buy milk and leaving peacefully 3 minutes later without having to chase him down a couple of times!

I leave you with a couple of recent shots from Mo Chou Hu Gongyuan (No Worries Lake Park), where we spent a recent Sunday morning at a playground.


2 Responses to “Pregnancy Update”

  1. 1 mjfalk October 10, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Love the photos from the Sunday morning outing in the park. Green Bay is enjoying unseasonally cold temps lately–growing season is definitely over—hot-tub out on the deck in back is empty and waiting for the guys from PoolWorks to come and clear out all the moisture for the winter months ahead. Heating system here all inspected and set for another cold Wisconsin winter, even though heartier golfers are still out there on the links every week. Fall colors are spectacular—lots of red this year. So glad to hear that the pregnancy is going well—-Little Leo is in for a pivotal change in his life come January, but the initial fascination will soon be followed by questions like—“Nice visit, so when does this baby head back to the hospital?”.

  2. 2 Becca October 19, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Ok. Comments through my head while reading your latest.

    1) Stupid jerk Asian women! They need to gain more weight when prego! I’ll send (bring)some lard and chocolate!

    2) Yey for spite!

    3) Sooooo glad you found good clothes! Those Sweds have great fashion sense as well! (and hopefully gain weight too!)

    4) Happy you found a stroller! Maybe you’ll loose some weight with the miles of strolling you will now be doing!

    5) Could Leo look any happier bouncing around!?!?!

    I love you guys!

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