My Very Own Halloween Special
It sounds like something out of a low-budget horror film released in early October: A plucky young woman comes down with strange symptoms; a foreign objected has invaded her body, settled in, and is now feeding off her lifeforce. She pukes; she cries; she watches in horror as her stomach expands to the eerie sounds of a wavering waterphone. Enter violins. They shriek higher and higher until they reach a fever pitch and in the sudden silence that follows, the woman feels it: The Quickening.
Okay, so it’s not a horror film, it’s real life and although it’s a little weird, it isn’t scary. “Quickening” is just the term used for when a pregnant woman first begins to feel her baby moving inside her. I felt one of the fellas move for the first time a few weeks ago during week 13, when I rolled onto my belly one morning and felt a little tickle of protest. That’s all it was; a tiny tickle or flutter on the inside. These movements don’t typically show up until weeks 15-16 at the soonest, but given the fact that I got a twofer, it’s not surprising that they made themselves known that early. Now, at 18 weeks, I feel them all the time and have definitely noticed that eating chocolate kicks off a party in my pants to which I am not invited.
Interestingly, the term “quickening” comes from English common law and the debate around when a fetus becomes an individual for the sake of having an abortion and other legal issues. If a woman was “quick” with child, she could feel the baby moving inside her and, for example, if someone beat her to death, that someone was guilty of both murder and manslaughter. If a woman was sentenced to death, Ye good olde Peoples of 17th century England were pleasant enough to let a woman quick with child to “plead the belly” and give her a stay until delivery. Thankfully, they later passed a law that commuted the entire death sentence and just gave the mother hard labor for life – presumably not to be confused with a hard labor for life.
For real though, it was a cool feeling to feel and know what it was. Some doctors will tell women it’s too early and they’re confusing fetal movements with flatulence, but I’m so well-versed in the fine art of detecting fart bubbles that I am 100% certain what I felt the first time was not gas. Now there’s no mistaking these punches and kicks for anything else, especially when they land on my bladder. The feeling is half adorable, half very, very, very weird. So, on that note, greetings, little green men draining me of all my nutrients and powers. I am sure I will be hearing more from you soon. Please let me sleep.