I am well-rehearsed by now. Easily digestible, ten-second soundbites: Oh yes indeed… <chuckle> it’s more than we bargained for. But once they get here, I'm sure we won’t be able to imagine anything different. <smile>
I should have a keypad installed on my belly: PRESS ONE TO DIFFUSE SOCIAL AWKWARDNESS. PRESS TWO TO BASK IN GESTATIONAL GLOW. At which point appropriate blurbs will plop cheerfully from my mouth, satisfying one and all. I don’t even think about what I say anymore. I just pick one at random and out it bubbles, giving young couples a chance to snap dropped jaws back into place (you don’t think she registered our vicarious terror, did she? Did I look like as much of a bullet-dodger as I felt?) and making book clubs and quilting bees swoon.
I’ve reverted to a state of second-wind denial. But then Evan ties himself into knots over some horrific injustice (inconveniently crumbly cheese, for instance), flailing and kicking, and before I know it I’m two slammed doors away, hyperventilating.
I’m not asking for you to prop me up, tell me how well I’m going to cope. When it comes from you, even when it’s said with love and concern, it still comes from you, you with your peanut-gallery tickets. Don’t tell me everything’s going to be fine unless you’re offering to take my place. Why couldn’t I have just become pregnant with one baby, like everyone else? Why? It would have been so much easier. That’s the truth of how I feel. It bubbles up past my defenses, past the poker-face I’ve adopted: intense, throat-swelling panic.