Went with my mother to see a documentary about a guy who eats McDonald's food for thirty days. After the film, I told her that I've been feeling depressed, and she told me she was depressed throughout her pregnancy. She said that she always assumed it was because she was isolated in Mississippi, where I was born and where she was working with my father in the civil rights movement, but maybe it was hormonal and genetically so. She said she was practically suicidal, and there were days and days she couldn't get out of bed. She said between the nausea (check) and the depression (double check), she almost lost her mind.
When I spoke with my father on the phone last night, he confirmed her memory. I asked how he dealt with it, and he said, Well, it was hard. Then he told me a story I'd never heard:
My mother wanted to go to Mexico after her first trimester because she was convinced that the sun and getting out of Mississippi would make her feel better. The only problem was that they didn't have any money. So my father put their car, the VW Bug his mother bought him when he graduated from law school, up for sale. Your car? I screech. You sold your car to go on a trip to Mexico? He laughs, not quite able to believe it, either. We lived in a suburb. My father's office was blocks and blocks away, as was the grocery store and just about everything else. He said it seemed so important to my mother, and he knew he could get a loaner from work. So they sold the Bug and went to Mexico, where they bought two paintings by the now famous Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo and got nauseated riding on public buses careening around mountain curves.
I asked my father if my mother's depression lifted as a result of the trip. I think I remember a picture of her in Mexico, wearing ared-and-white serape and a huge smile. He is silent for a long moment. You know, Rebec, I can't remember. I don't think so.
I broke the bank today at the market. I bought three different kinds of prenatal vitamins, two bottles of nausea-quelling ginger syrup, a box of healthy-pregnancy tea, two whole cooked chickens, two dozen eggs, bunches and bunches of kale, spinach, and broccoli, a huge piece of halibut, two containers of tuna, two Caesar salads, two containers each of blueberries and strawberries, tomatoes, carrots, and about six different kinds of organic chocolate, including a pound of fruit-sweetened chocolate-covered raisins. I have no doubt that if I had more arms, time, and money, I would have filled five more carts. I can't tell if I was hungry, slightly manic, or revved up with pregnancy hormones. I rushed home to meet Sonam, my potential midwife, whom I have known for years and always imagined delivering my baby. She arrived with her granddaughter asleep in a stroller just as I was unpacking the last grocery bag, took her shoes off, and asked if she could brush her teeth. Then we sat around my kitchen table with a calendar trying to figure out how pregnant I am. I told her Dr. Lowen's estimate of eight weeks from the ultrasound, and that I think I am more like ten weeks. She took notes about how I have been feeling (tired, nauseated, depressed) while I made tea and devoured a container of tuna and a whole box of crackers.