Before I was pregnant, I loved hearing the food references to my friends’ developing babies. (A dear friend in California nicknamed her fetus Lentil after a first trimester comparison—charming, no?) And since I’ve been pregnant, I often hear the question, “What fruit are you this week?”
I loved tracking Peeper’s growth from blueberry to raspberry to grape and beyond. Tomorrow, though, I’m 24 weeks—and a cantaloupe.
Kiwis are cute. Pears are charming. Even mangos have an aesthetic appeal. But once you get into melon territory, the only adjective I can think of is big.
I made the mistake a few weeks back of peeking ahead on The Bump’s fetus growth chart. In the third trimester, the produce comparisons get downright scary: acorn squash, pineapple (ouch!), pumpkin, watermelon. Some I might even have to ask for help to haul into my grocery cart these days, considering the near-constant admonishments to not lift too much weight.
In discussing what we had to look forward to veggie-wise, a pregnant friend asked of the pumpkin, “With or without stem?” An important distinction, to be sure.
The one thing that has bugged me about the fruit chart is now a consolation. There’s so much variety in the sizes, it’s been difficult to really imagine what size my baby is at any given time. (Are we talking a Ghanaian mango or one of those dinky, stringy ones from Safeway? If you cut up the banana, would it overwhelm a bowl of cereal or be just enough banana-ness? If I bought the avocado at Whole Foods, would I be charged the extra-large price?) So maybe, I tell myself, a pumpkin might not be so terrifying.
When I was little, my mom would take us to the pumpkin patch, and the deal was that my three siblings and I could get whatever gourd, or gourds, we could carry from the field back to the hay ride.
My older brother was crafty: He’d stash pumpkins in the hood and pouch of his sweatshirt and end up with four or five to carve. I, on the other hand, searched for one perfect for the jack-o-lantern design I’d brainstormed on the ride to the patch. I inevitably ended up trying to carry a big one from the far end of the field. After a few tearful Halloweens when I was terrified I’d be left behind (the hay ride waits for no one!), I wised up and picked an appropriately sized pumpkin.
So, in my imagination (= denial factory), I can edit “pumpkin” down to a manageable one a six-year-old could carry, even if it feels like a record-breaking monstrosity when it eventually comes out.
Perhaps that’ll be my mantra when delivering: While imagining the tiny, quaint decorations a la Thanksgiving cornucopia, I can repeat “Cute gourd that fits on my mantle!” while a jackfruit-sized baby enters the world.