My great-grandmother was pregnant for over a decade of her life.
She was pregnant at least fifteen times, had over a dozen children. Raised all of them in a big rambling farmhouse in central Pennsylvania.
And I thought about her this afternoon, lying in bed with my spouse after my lazy weekend nap, snuggling him and burying my nose in his hair, taking deep breaths of the scent of his skin. This man who is the center of my universe, my best friend, one of two reasons why I literally decided I had to live and kept fighting through the pain after surgery when I really wanted to just let go and die: I held him closer and I thought of her.
I thought of how family myth tells us that after a decade of being pregnant pretty much constantly, she kicked my great-grandfather out of their house. How she made him go live in his workshop, and he came to the house for meals and to check in.
But he slept in his workshop.
Not because she didn’t love him, but because she did.
She loved him, and if they slept in the same bed together, these two people who had crossed an ocean together, had built a life together after getting out of Poland together, they’d have sex. And because cheap, reliable, universal birth control wasn’t available then, and she was terribly fecund, apparently, she’d become pregnant again, inevitably.
My great-grandmother was TIRED of being pregnant.
So she kicked her love out of the house, and he went. He lived in his workshop, on their farm, and they stopped sleeping together, in every sense of the word. My father tells me he remembers as a child his grandfather sitting outside his workshop, leaning back on his chair, and looking up at the house in which he couldn’t sleep anymore, just… sad.
They missed each other desperately from across the yard.
I listen to @adhocavenger sleep, to the sound of his breathing, a sound that’s as familiar to me as my own heartbeat, and I can’t imagine having to sleep away from him for long. To have to separate myself from my spouse or to have to completely eschew having the kind of sex they obviously enjoyed having. To not have him close enough at night that I can curl up to him and breathe in the scent of his skin.
And that, I think, is the sort of thing that I think maybe I take for granted. That I know I can be secure in the knowledge that I can have sex with my spouse when I want to, and not have a baby.
The personal is political. I do not want our country to continue to slide backward on reproductive freedom. I do not want us to lose our freedom, threatened and small as it may be.
There are a thousand small tragedies that we talk about from the Olde Days. The unwanted baby of the unmarried lass, of course.
But my heart breaks tonight for the story I was told as a child, of the lovingly married couple who had to sleep apart because she was just damn tired of being pregnant.
Because she’d been pregnant for a DECADE of her life.
#storytime #pregnancy cw #death tw #politics cw #this probably deserves some other warning tag but I am not sure what #that one post with the thing