Achieving Happiness

December 13, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — Ina Alleco @ 8:19 am

Everyday I say to myself, “I will get off the couch and write something;” but every day I stay glued to the couch, the clicker in my hand and I fastforward through movies I’ve already seen. I think about how absolutely strange it is to be not in charge of my own body, to instead have it in charge instead of me, and I alternately drag or float through one day to the next hoping to feel more like myself soon enough.

Again, am not complaining. Am just documenting. None of the pregnancy literature I’ve read said anything about feeling like I’ve been taken over by aliens and that my body would have a separate mind of its own.

I wake up mornings dreading for the nausea to hit: it’s always waiting for me once I regain consciousness after a night of highly vivid but also highly unusual dreams (I dream about being back in high school where no one really took me seriously). I get up slowly (not deliberately slowly, just inherently slowly like a turtle – my body seems to know better than to let me jump up after shucking off the bedclothes), and I go carefully down the stairs, one foot, one step at a time all the while holding the railing. I have an almost morbid fear of falling; while I don’t worry much for my own bones (I know they heal, and somehow, I’ve always had this twisted wish to have my wrist or elbow in a cast and sling so I could get friends to autograph it for me), but I do freak at the idea that I might hurt Egg inside me.

Every pregnancy is different, I’ve been told; the same way that every woman is different. Why?  Because every woman deals with her own pregnancy differently. Right now I am learning so much about myself, things I didn’t know before. Kim says am not being such a bitch or a witch – but when I have the  lows (I get suddenly and very quickly sad), he gets a little irritated despite his concern.

Hell, I get irritated myself.

Anyways, I don’t know what’s going on with the rest of the world; and strangely, I don’t seem to care much. Okay, so I still care, but somehow everything that has to do with politics and the economy and the countless atrocities the government perpetrates against the Filipino people day in, day out are muted in my head; muffled and stifled. I think my body and brain are insulating me from being too aggravated or upset. For instance, after lunch I quickly drifted off to sleep after hearing stupid and idiotic comments of so-called radio journalists about the transport strike today, and when I woke up all I thought about was eating – the anger and frustration over the moronic point of view the commentators adopted buried under insistent but difficult to satisfy hunger pangs.

Eating. Hmm. Another interesting concept. Everyday I am faced with the challenge of finding food that will stay down/won’t taste like paper/make me fill sicker than usual. So far I’ve determined that crisp-fried bacon and fruit salad agree with me. In the last month, I’ve been reduced to eating one meal with rice  a day, but many little snacks in between.

Anyways, I’ve always been feeling a lot guilty about this slowing down process. I’m not used to being a vegetable; am not used to not being in the thick of things and writing and analyzing and attending meetings and everything else that comes with the job I’ve had so far. I feel bad about all the activities I’ve missed; the issues I’ve failed to keep up with; the rallies I’ve been unable to attend. But then I take comfort in the the realization that this is also work, too — being an incubator for a new life that will hopefully one day also contribute to cause his/her parents have embraced. Then I don’t feel too bad and I return to my books or the DVDs with less guilt.

Am I bored? Gad, yes. But there is nothing I can do about it. I get tired and dizzy quickly, and I need to lie down as soon as the exhaustion hits. I haven’t thrown up badly since last Monday (hurrah!), and am less tired than usual, so am keeping my fingers crossed that I will feel stronger in the coming days because jeez, I haven’t bought a single Christmas present for my inaanaks!!!

–Am rereading Michael Ondaatje’s “Anil’s Ghost” and every other page I need to put it down because I come across passages that hurt (sometimes in a painful way because the themes are political;, sometimes in a good way because it is threaded by awe and amazement at how language can be both so beautiful and powerful).

Anil’s Ghost is about the extrajudicial and political killings in Sri Lanka, and the lives of a forensic scientist and an archeologist who have been tapped by an unspecified human rights organization in Geneva to investigate them. Between the deaths and excavating bodies, there are the disappearances, and the novel is a narration of the process of loss, uncertainty, grief and the futility of seeking justice when lies are manufactured as quickly and easily as people are executed by government forces. Anil and Sarath gather evidence to prove that the killings and abductions are the handiwork of the government, but soon they, too become threatened with the same fate suffered by the the people they try to give names and faces to.

This is a sample of the the passages that are painful yet beautiful in their truthfulness and grace:  In a fearful nation, public sorrow was stamped down by the climate of uncertainty. If a father protested a son’s death, it was feared another family member would be killed. If people you knew disappeared, there was a chance they might stay alive if you did not cause trouble. This was the scarring psychosis in the country. Death, loss was ‘unfinished’, so you could not walk through it. There had been years of night visitations, kidnappings or murders in broad daylight. The only chance was that the creatures who did them would consume themselves.”

Sana bumagsak na si Gloria bago pa ako manganak. I wouldn’t mind missing the big rallies just so she’s ousted from office.

December 3, 2007

Slowing down

Filed under: Uncategorized — Ina Alleco @ 7:55 am


Haven’t written anything lately. In fact, haven’t done much in the last two weeks but gravitate between the couch, the toilet, and the bed. Eight weeks and five days gone, and still a long way to go, and right now it’s the throwing up phase.

Not complaining, just making note of it. It’s strange how I’ve become subservient to my body; how helpless I am right now when nausea or sleepiness or exhaustion takes over. Everyday goes by in a haze, and the moments when I am completely lucid I spend watching DVDs or DVDs of films I’ve seen many times before: The Cutting Edge; Jerry Maguire; Amelie; Big Fish. There are no surprises, but it feels good to remember where and what I was like when I first saw them.

In the meantime, I devour fruit like a fiend because fruit is the only kind of food that really stays down. My new faith is prenatal vitamins: I take them religiously and without fail. A book on pregnancy is my bible. On most days I find myself maintaining conversations with my stomach; I don’t mind that it doesn’t answer back, I just want to reassure its precious content.

The first time I felt really wide awake was last week. Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV did his symbolic but futile gesture, and I was glued in front of the tv, exasperated. Why take over a hotel? Who the hell would go there to sympathize? It’s the Oakwood mutiny all over again. Maybe next time they’ll go to the Shangri-la or the Manila Hotel, gad. Why couldn’t they have gone to a church or a chapel? After the siege and everyone was hauled off to Bicutan (including the journalists, which was bizarre and stupid), I returned to my semi-permanent state of stupor.
The day after, I got up, left the house and went to get an ultrasound. While I lay there in this thin gown, slightly shivering from the cold air recycled by the airconditioning unit I thought of how two months go by so fast. In three months I’ll get another ultrasound done, and by then we know whether Egg will be a girl or boy (it doesn’t matter, so long as Egg’s healthy and normal and complete). Kim is batting for a girl (takot yatang maging katulad niya kung lalaki – a mini Kim who would be twice, even thrice as makulit).

So it’s now December, and I am nowhere near putting up a Christmas tree or even the smallest Christmas lantern. Earlier last month I’d been all gung-ho about putting up decorations – getting a tree, twinkly lights, wreaths on the door, the works. Now I’m ecstatic when I can empty the sink of all the dishes and glasses: succeeding in doing the wash up means I have energy to spare.

I have one more month to go before I start on my second trimester. It’s a period the book says I will feel more or less normal again, and I feel will as if i had control over my body again. I don’t really mind that I’m sluggish and slow right now because I know that it’s Egg whose benefiting from my slowing down because he/she’s forming his/her limbs and organs; what I do mind, though, is feeling guilty about it because I am forced to let go of work.

Right now, for the most part, my greatest concern is being able to feed myself, and keeping the food down, and getting enough nutrients for Egg. Work has to take the backseat (but am trying to do what I can) because I really can’t concentrate on anything else but my growing tummy. All these fears of miscarriages and fetal deaths and accidents crowd in on me sometimes and I just have to sit down and whisper to Egg “please, please stay in there, okay? There are so many things I want to show you, teach you, give you; but you have to stay there until July next year.” I think about the books he/she will read, the music he/she will listen to, the clothes he/she will wear, and how I will be so very, very careful in carrying him/her about like so many eggs in a carton tray.