Pregnancy Poems: Franken-body - 2nd Trimester


Here's the second installment of my mom's pregnancy-by-trimester poems. If you missed her first trimester poem, you can read that here.


My-my, my head is swimming
My heart is drowning
Like a Passenger on a leaky vessel
I don’t know if I’ll survive the flight to Homestead II
I’m so tired, I’m sure I need to be in suspended animation
For another 90 years, but by some glitch in my pod
I’ve awakened to an unsteady, upended ship.
Galaxies glide past; I swim in a pool on the fritz.
It loses gravity, and I swim in a floating bubble of water.
The more I swim up to the surface I see that
With each stroke, I push the water’s surface up and away
Keeping my next breath of air just out of reach.
Panic sets in.

What is this new ship I’m in, 
this unfamiliar Franken-body?
So tired, I can barely lift my brick-ish Franken-feet.
I alternate between crying, raging and exhaustion.
I wish I could pull out the corks
From each side of my neck and let the hormones leak out
Stabilizing my fears, frustration and fatigue.
There is a life in me, that is not me. 
A heart threaded to mine, beats more than twice as fast
Like one leg that’s stitched on though it’s longer than the other.
What an odd machine I’ve become.
Like a trebuchet.
Hurling uncontrollably a queasy stomach and a
squeezed bladder. 
While my mind tries to make sense of this,
My body makes room; sends nutrients, clears waste.
Long before I know what to do, this Franken-body
Unprompted supports new life with quiet efficiency.

Like post-mortem parts, everything is swollen and sore.
First breasts, then tummy, then ankle.
Piece by piece, my Franken-clothes
Become an issue.
Elastic and spandex
Become my new best friends.
My walk is slow and methodical.
My sit is spread and reclining.
My lay is on the move and fretful.

Is pregnancy a disability? 
Can I no longer drive a car?
I must push the seat way back
Just to fit behind the steering wheel.
But then, 
I can’t reach the gas or brake!
I push down and stretch out leg
Till finally touch the pedals.
But now, I’m too far back, too low
To see over the dash. Ugh!
I desperately need
Cheetos, Valesek dills, Onion & Sour Cream Pringles
And Dutch Chocolate Blue Bell Ice Cream. 
Yes, hubby will now make all grocery runs.
No wonder Frankenstein wandered the moors on foot.

When I think I don’t have the strength to lift my arms,
This Franken-body takes the baton
And steadfastly, protects like a fortress, 
The life within from everything without.
It’s on the job, no matter what.
With a knowing hand and eye
Very separate from mine.
No matter the turmoil a foot,
There is peace and safety within. 

They will tell you, “Go to the office Christmas party, 
Fix your hair, put on a pretty dress.
It will be fun.”
Word to the wise,
It will NOT be fun.
Everyone will be beautiful
And enjoying seasonal cocktails
And a festive buffet
While you sit at a corner table
Feeling like Frankenstein
When he first views his own reflection.

When at last, the moment comes, 
You are gripped with fear and pain.
But all the while, 
this Franken-body confidently extends life.
The physical cord is cut
Everyone else sees two distinct people.
For the first time,
She moves without you feeling it.
For the first time,
She breaths air on her own.
It is as if your head were removed.
But the baby emerges into the world
Still tied by a golden thread
Only a mother can see. 
From this day forward,
This child’s sadness will break your heart.
This child’s joy will make your heart sing!

The greater miracle is not the tethered soul
that grew inside of you,
But the tethered soul who now lives outside of you.
An unspoken voice whispers between the two.
Welcome to the world!
It resonates and vibrates back,
From this day forward, 
Remember only this beauty
And not the beast.
From this day forward,
The men with pitchforks and torches subside
And only the sounds of violins remain. 

by Kathy Parks