A first kick and thinking forward


It still sort of boggles my mind that I’m growing a human. Considering that there long stretches when I don’t feel her move, or when I think that could just be my stomach rumbling, my mind often goes to dark places. I try not to let it, but I can’t help but worry if everything is still okay, if Harley is still doing her thing in there. In moments like that, I remind myself that there would be more obvious signs if something were wrong, and that thus far everything has been healthy and happy. Still, it’s sometimes terrifying to think that there is all this activity going on inside me and I can’t even tell what’s happening.

Yesterday, I decided to listen to music while I worked. I don’t normally listen to stuff because it distracts me from writing words and just gets in the way. When I do listen, I generally listen with my headset on because the sound quality is so good. However, yesterday I thought I’d share the music with Harley which meant that I felt her moving around a bit at least. It was reassuring and rather fun – thus far she seems to like rock and dance music. But this morning, even without music, something truly incredible happened. I felt Harley give me a first proper kick.

Women who have been through this will know the feeling, but it was the strangest and most wonderful (in the true sense of the word) experience. I felt this quick push from the inside against a part of my stomach near my belly button. I thought it might have just been funny gas (everything can feel like gas, right?), so I put my hand over the spot where I felt the kick the first time, and sure enough a few seconds later, she kicked me there again. I could actually feel the pressure coming out of my stomach towards my hand. And again.

She really is in there. I know, I’ve done the scans and seen her, but now I could specifically feel her. Not just her general back flips, but a proper kick (or maybe it was an elbow… who knows?). She is in there, growing and kicking and dancing to Alice Cooper and Rise Against. The little alien inside me is actually a person, a little girl, who will one day grow up to be a woman in her own right, filled with secrets and opinions.

At dinner last night with Dean, his mom and his brother, we were chatting about childhoods and people who are bratty or end up spoiled. I’m still of the opinion that kids can’t be spoiled with stuff. Buying toys or books or whatever for tiny humans won’t suddenly turn them into entitled people. There is a whole bunch of stuff that goes into teaching kids manners, morals, ethics and how to be a decent human being. Will a new LEGO set turn them into monsters? No, probably not. But, watching parents fight over material possessions, or place material things above all else will probably have a greater impact on them.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, about how to raise a person with character and integrity. I think it’s even more difficult now in the age of technology, communication and information. The internet and tech have changed things so drastically, and I wonder if my ideas would even fit into the new modern paradigm. I had a good chat with Sam, my rad friend who also happens to be the editor over on Tech Girl about ethics in our industry. Bloggers and online journalists are always seen as having zero ethics, but is that even true? Plus, the fact that we’re women in the tech space is an extra challenge. We talked in a previous podcast about our crisis of feminism, but this month it was more about looking to the future – how can I raise a little girl to be confident in the tech space, to be confident as a human, and what does it mean about raising a girl into a woman, or should gender not even play a role in it? You can listen to the conversation here:

I am excited, though. Today she is kicking me, in a few months she’ll be sucking on my boob and looking up at me, and in not so many years she’ll be putting on make up and having secret boyfriends. Or girlfriends. Or whatever she’s into. Just crazy to think that the little kick that was so exhilarating this morning is just the first of many moments that will make my heart explode with feelings for her, and my brain race ahead with a million thoughts, fears and daydreams.


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  • The most wonderful feeling ever – and possibly the only thing I ever missed about being pregnant

    • Zoe

      yeah. will be great to hold her instead, but kinda crazy to be holding her already and feeling those little kicks and movements!

  • Tamarah

    Love this post. We were discussing so much of this just yesterday, as baby is due in a week or two. Are we ready? How do we ensure she has integrity and self-respect and strength? How do we learn to let her go from day one, so she is ready for the world, when every particle of our being wants to protect her from everything? And how do we ensure that she doesn’t copy everything she hears from RPGs?

    • Zoe

      yes! exactly – not sure we can ever really be ready, but I certainly like to plan and think my way through everything. then again, if we’re worrying about this and want to make sure our kids grow up to be good people, i suppose we’re already doing well as parents. 🙂

  • naxie naxie

    oh…my…god……that first kick…..the BEST…..your post reminds me of a poem about YOU and your brother that i wrote so many years ago. here goes:

    Moments of Knowing

    moments of knowing
    they come at me
    without warning,
    no time to prepare

    looking across the table
    at a son’s face,
    angular, almost sculpted,
    almost perfect, almost fourteen,
    his body bigger now
    than mine.

    not knowing
    when he passed me in size,

    he knows how to keep secrets,
    how to lie,
    how to tell sharp edged truths.

    he hugs me some days,
    right before taking
    his little sister by the hand to cross into
    Washington Square Park, off for school.
    she still hugs, kisses both my cheeks,
    but he’s a puzzle now, some days putting
    arms around my neck, patting my head
    to let me know who’s bigger,
    some days barely grunting a good-bye.

    moments of knowing,
    doing mother math,
    in four years he’ll be in college
    she’ll be in high school with shaved legs,
    her own phone, her own secrets,
    and I’ll be rechewing the years I kissed
    chubby baby toes, knew their secrets,
    was the size of their whole world.

    watching them hold hands, walk into the park,
    not looking back at me, not needing
    an extra wave, not asking for one more hug,
    having it all inside themselves, having their own
    moments of knowing.

    • Zoe

      YES! that’s just it – i am the size of her whole world, and will be for another bunch of months. but i know the time will fly and one day she’ll be rolling her eyes at my silly jokes. still the most incredible feeling to know she really is alive and KICKING inside.

  • Those kicks are such a wonder. And when your person can feel them too…*no words*.

    • Zoe

      can’t wait for it to happen when he’s around to feel it. so incredible.

  • I hated being pregnant BUT the kicks where definitely the best! Kiara actually kicked so hard one day in a meeting, my chair rolled back (it had wheels and my tummy was against the table).

    I have huge issues with children who feel they are entitled to stuff (My son isn’t one of these but my daughter is and I have raised them the same?!) so it is something we are very strict with.

    • Zoe

      yeah, i’m excited to sleep with my bump against my husband’s back so that she can wake him up too when she decides it’s time to have a party at 4am. 🙂

      I am so confused by the entitlement thing. My brother and I were also raised the same in theory and turned out so different. Wonder where it comes from…