Wednesday, August 21, 2013

things I have learned about being pregnant

I thought I would share with you some of the more unexpected things I have learned so far about pregnancy:

1. Most people seem extremely impressed that I am having a boy, like when people ask how you did at a tournament and you won. I also learned from a recent freakonomics podcast that men are 4% less likely to divorce a woman when their first born child is male, which seems like an enormous effect, given how many other things probably count for more.

2. Certain groups of people are fascinated by pregnant me. The top three are:
   a) teenage girls, who treat me with fascination and respect and think I'm inordinately cute
   b) retarded people on the street/in the subway, who generally point to my stomach and say "There's a BABY in there?" and then sometimes tell me to push
   c) dogs: both mine and other people's. Our dog, who is normally exceptionally sweet-natured, has become extremely protective and tried to bite both our contractor and an elderly Asian granny neighbor.

3. I generally always get a seat on the subway now, except sometimes on the L and the 4, 5, 6 (the fancier lines, where people pretend not to see me in rush hour). The most reliable seat-offers are by far Chinese/ SE Asian men age 16-30. They jump up like it's some kind of reflex.

4. I have never had longer fingernails in my life, I think both because I'm much less anxious / more placid than I was, so I don't bite them anymore, but even more some super-growing effect from hormones and prenatal vitamins. It's actually hard to type.

5. I don't feel much more hungry than before, but I drink like crazy. A liter of water is like nothing to me now. I might be wrong about the hunger though, because I've gained 30 pounds and have two months to go(!). I'm constantly misjudging my size and bumping into things.

6. Pregnancy is boring. I'm tired most of the time, I can't plan interesting trips because they interfere with my nap schedule or they are somehow dangerous, and there are long lists of things I can't do. I wasn't a huge drinker before, but now I constantly see people sitting outside drinking wine and I can't contain my envy. I've also become absolutely paranoid about second hand smoke, to the extent that I hold my breath when I see a smoker approaching on the sidewalk.


Michelle said...

Though I have never met you, I am absolutely certain that you are adorable!

ANd remember, no matter what you are doing right now, even while you are sleeping, you are making a whole person from scratch. It's a big endeavor and I am sure you wear it gracefully.

Congratulations to you.

Anonymous said...

Sorry that you're feeling bored. Here's a time-waster, whenever you need one. I've noticed that there are some chess oxymorons. Dutch Leningrad, Spanish Berlin, Underpromotion. Can you think of any others?

Antonio Mendoza

Anonymous said...

There are "closed openings," and maybe a "Classical Modern." The word "isolani" is plural, which is sort of self-contradictory.

Anonymous said...

Scandinavian Portuguese!

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised no one mentioned Sicilian Scheveningen. What about Accelerated Dragon (draggin')?

Bucky said...

If you think about it, "Orthodox Variation" is a contradiction in terms.

Anonymous said...

French Fort Knox

Hans said...

Well, I've met Elizabeth, and she *is* adorable. Most of the time.

Here's an oxymoron: Anastasia's mate.

Unknown said...

Hey Elizabeth! I hope you continue to have a nice boring pregnancy all the way through a nice boring childbirth. Sounds like a good chance to relax and have other people fuss over you.

I was just wondering about the wording of that article you mentioned. "Men are 4 percent less likely to divorce their wives if their first-born child is male." Isn't divorce generally a mutual decision? Granted, someone usually initiates it, but in my experience that someone is at least as often the woman as the man. Did the news article separate out the cases where the woman was filing for divorce from the cases where the man was filing?

It may be equally true that "women are 4 percent less likely to divorce their husbands if their first-born is male." But that puts a different spin on things, doesn't it?

Elizabeth Vicary said...

That's very interesting, Dana. It was phrased this way in the Freakonomics podcast, perhaps for a couple reasons:
1) the researcher had also found that while women express equal preference that their first child is male or female, men prefered to have a boy something like 2:1. So having a boy would reward men in a way it doesn't reward women, at least in terms of immediate preference-gratification.

2) women perhaps traditionally are more likely to want/need to get married and be supported at least economically while raising a child.

3) maybe there is some historical precedent for men holding women accountable for the sex of the child, (like Henry VIII), even if the man's genetic contribution actually has more to do with it. (ok, maybe some arguments about growing environment or whatever). I find when people congratulate me on having a boy, I sometimes make a joke and say "Oh, it's really Jonathan's accomplishment," they usually look confused.

here's the podcast link:

Gurdonark said...

Of course, imagining a similar circumstance with mobility limitations, I'd just take a pair of binoculars to a park bench and watch for birds.

Everyone able should give up a seat on the bus or train to those with a reason to be less able.

Safe passage, and best wishes for a return to exciting times.

Derek Bridges said...

Sorry to leave this in your comments but I couldn't find a contact email. I thought you might be interested in my documentary about New Orleans chessmaster Jude Acers, who has been playing $5 games in the French Quarter at his "World Chess Table" since 1981; in 1964 a 20-year old Acers entertained a 21-year old Bobby Fischer in Baton Rouge in New Orleans (where he played Fischer to a draw at a simultaneous tournament), shortly after Fischer's 11-0 run at the U.S. Chess Championship; in 1968 Acers lived in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district and played pick-up basketball with The Doors and counted Janis Joplin among his acquaintances when he wasn't competing against top players at the Mechanics' Chess Club; Jude's 1970 win over U.S. Champion Walter Browne was voted a “Top Ten” theory game in the world for 1970 by a panel of six grandmasters and published in Chess Informant (Informator/Belgrade); Acers has been in the Guinness Book of World Records twice for simultaneous exhibitions and today Fodor’s 2013 New Orleans guidebook sends tourists right to Jude's table.

We have already spent extensive time at Acers' table interviewing him at length when he's not playing and they're also developing storylines about people in Jude's orbit--a cast that looks remarkably like New Orleans.

An anonymous benefactor in recent years has sent Jude to compete in the FIDE World Senior Chess Championship held annually in Europe and the documentary team has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough funds to join Acers in Croatia in November to cover Jude as he seeks to become the World Senior Chess Champion.

Here's a link to our Kickstarter campaign where you can learn more about Jude and our project:

I hope you give it a look and don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions.

And I hope you and your family are doing well!

Derek Bridges

Marika said...

Hi, Elizabeth,
Congratulations on your pregnancy!
I just saw you on pov on pbs...
regarding school budget cuts...Have you considered taking a school field trip to Wall St. to sell those candy bars? After all, that's the home of those money-grubbing criminal b$#!!!'s who caused the financial meltdown in the 1st place. Why not guilt them into buying a few candy bars for a good cause? They OWE you at LEAST that much!!! seriously, I think it would work.

Anonymous said...

Hi, your comment about thirst is interesting. I have a colleague who is expecting her second child and she notes the same thing - she goes through bottles of water without any difficulty. We have joked she should have someone roll one of those water cooler container size bottles around after her.

Great blog!

Unknown said...

Elizabeth-----I only learned about you a week or so ago. (better late than never) Your Brooklyn Castle story and your style of teaching is one of the most inspirational stories I have ever come across. I loved reading the various interviews you did as well. Your students are so lucky to have you.

Thanks for what you do.
Congrats on your family expansion.

Check2Check said...

I lol @ 2b). I needed it. Thank you for making my day.