Today's word: אעזקה

So. That dysfunctional red alert siren (אעזקה) today in Jerusalem. Not cool, siren-maintance man. Not cool. 

I was sitting in my office and it very s l o w l y dawned on me that I was hearing a siren in the back of my head. I put my head to the window and realized I was hearing a siren! And Israel is in a state of war. And I was in Israel. And… 

It was dreamlike. I’m a very morbid person. There’s no reason to get into it. 

But this reverberates: I moved very slowly. For the first few seconds, I thought about everything; every second was like a ticking clock. 

Of course, it was a test a false alarm a technical malfunction. Which is what finally knocked me out of my dreamlike siren state. And onto the web, a flurry of Tweets and instant messages to attend to.

Bladder speaks louder than words.

Today I experienced another pregnancy first: it was the first time I got the special pregnancy treatment from a stranger in a public place. 

No, not the bus passenger offering me their seat on a crowded bus…

Not a fellow pedestrian offering to help me carry my bags…

No, it was the best kind of all: letting me skip ahead in line in a public women’s restroom.

I walked in and saw the stalls all closed, and then a woman came out. I walked up to it and then out of the corner of my eye realized there was actually a line of older women from a tour. I instinctively stepped back and put my hand out for the next in line to go, but she nodded politely and gestured for me to feel free. I was about to engage in the polite back-and-forth of “No, please, you go next…” when it registered that she had glanced at my belly.

Aha. Older or not, she was going to feel bad for the bladder-pressured pregnant woman.

I felt bad at first, but that didn’t last long. I could get used to this. For now.

Security in confirmation.

We went over to Shufersal the other night and while walking up to the security guard in front of the store, I finally got what I’ve been waiting to hear:

“Miss, are you pregnant? You don’t need to go through the metal detector.”

Call me crazy, but until that moment, I just could not believe that people could look at me and see a pregnant lady. Now, I know I’m pregnant, but I just haven’t been able to believe that the real world – i.e., security guards – can see it just by looking at me. I don’t think it’s about size or stature (though I do feel very small and have others telling me I’m not; kind of reverse from the norm, right?); it’s just been this surreal condition I haven’t yet been able to mesh with the world outside my body.

Well, I think I was visibly taken aback by the security guard’s question; I kind of did an internal double take (are there pregnant ladies walking behind me?) and then looked over at my husband who confirmed to me with his eyes that indeed, he is talking to you, visibly pregnant lady, you may relax your mind now.

What's been going on.

The past week and a half has been intense, painful, busy, impatient,  energetic, emotional, nerve-wracking and exciting. And it’s not only for the reason you’re probably assuming. I haven’t  been able to get all my thoughts out in an organized manner, so instead I’ll spew them in bullet form.

  • People will ask what gender your baby is and not believe you when you tell them you don’t know.
  • It’s ok to support the mentality of the Gaza incursion while feeling guilty and sad about deaths of innocent.
  • When it rains, it pours… No family visits for almost a year and then everyone comes at once. And then it (actually) rains that whole time.
  • It’s ok to feel like four years is a long time when you’re surrounded by people who have been living here for ten.
  • People will assume everything you are feeling has to do with being pregnant; you’re hungry/tired/energetic because you’re pregnant, not because you’re human.
  • There’s a big difference between charedim in Israel and charedim in the diaspora.
  • There’s a big difference between living on ‘this’ side of Israel and living on the side of Israel that is getting pounded daily.
  • ‘Friendly’ fire… what a strange name for a painful concept.
  • Some people will offer really good perspectives and advice on pregnancy, birth and becoming a parent, no matter what their core beliefs.
  • It’s ok to pick and choose with whom you are willing to discuss the Gaza war. There are certain friends and enemies for whom you are just not willing to convert conversation into debate.
  • Sometimes after you’ve accepted the fundamental differences between you and loved ones, you discover that maybe they are not so fundamental after all.
  • Not feeling festive, even though it’s a holiday time, is perfectly fine when your country is in a state of war. That also goes for Inauguration Day partying.
  • Amidst everything else, you can find a kind of comfort in the movement in your belly, which no one else can give you. You can be intense, impatient, energetic, emotional, and excited about soon meeting someone. You can sorely miss someone you’ve never met. You can confide in them when everything around you is just too complex.