“You look so cute,” the after-school teacher said, smiling at my growing belly.
She’s a caring woman, so warm and friendly, and great with all the kids. I know she didn’t mean anything negative by it—she was trying to compliment me, and even gave me a hug.
It’s not like people haven’t called me cute before, but I never much liked it. “Cute” feels patronizing somehow, like I’m a kitten or a child.
Meanwhile, I think I should be called a Fucking Goddess.
I explained this dilemma with my doctor last week at a check-up. I told her I couldn’t believe the impact pregnancy hormones had on my body and mind. After a year of yoga and meditation, I had felt clean and connected to my body, so in tune with the way my mind works. I felt like I had the tools to handle challenges as they came up, and felt like I knew myself more than ever.
And then, before I even took the test to show me I was pregnant, I woke up with what felt like an animal inside me, an edge. It was a presence, and I knew something had taken over.
Feminists don’t talk about this much. We’ve heard too many jokes and snide remarks about how if women ran the country, they’d unleash a nuclear bomb or something the week before their periods. (We all know is bullshit.) But I don’t think we can deny the fierce impact hormones have on our bodies and our minds. It’s not that I can’t function—it’s just that my functioning is different, and sometimes I am swept away by a cloud of emotion, or a down mood, that despite all my trying, is not easy to break. I am myself and not myself at the same time.
So when I told my doctor women should be worshipped, she agreed. With monthly periods to deal with, miscarriages, growing a human in your body, birthing a baby (do you realize how elastic a vagina is?), dealing with post-partum hormones, providing the sole nutrients for a baby from your own breasts, and later in life, undergoing menopause, all while trying to keep up with the other challenges of life—family, business, relationships, career, exercise—women deserve a little more respect and awe.
I don’t know about you, but the messages I’ve received in our culture are that a pregnant woman is a receiver to what a man has done, rather than an amazing creature able to grow and birth new life. Instead of consistently acknowledging that a woman’s body is miraculous, that women are endowed with instincts and capabilities that surpass scientific rationality, we overdose on the advice and the dangers and the warnings and the fear, the woman as object, as property.
Instead of calling pregnant women cute, we should be calling them powerful. Instead of thinking of women’s concerns and issues as secondary to men’s, we should be elevating their capacities for the survival of our future.
Every time I hear God referred to as a “he” lately, I cringe. Nope. Not fair.
I need the Great Mother, who can envelop me the way she’s enveloped my ancestors as I continue on this miraculous yet difficult journey. I need the ancient goddesses to assure me that I am part of something great and divine, at one with the gentleness, forcefulness, and resilience of nature.
I need—okay, maybe don’t need, but would really like—a cadre of men, white-haired or balding in their suits and ties, to bow down and appreciate what all women have done, and what they continue to do. It can just happen once a day. Maybe in the morning, as the sun comes up. It would be a lot more lovely to wake up to than an alarm clock.
And perhaps they can fetch us things, too.
A pregnant insomniac can dream, right?
Image: “Model Severine Pregnant Photo 4 B&W” by Mestreetch City via Flickr.