There’s been something I’ve been meaning to talk about for the past two months or so but keep forgetting to mention: MY FEET.
Yes, my feet are so strange now that I’m pregnant. In fact, I'm not sure whose feet these are. Let's just call them "pregger feet."
The first thing I noticed about my feet was their temperature. I realize it’s summer and extremely warm in Beijing, but throughout June and July, my feet felt like they were on fire. This was particularly happening just as I was going to bed at the end of the day.
At first, I decided it was about dryness and started a regimen of creaming my feet before bed. This helped, marginally. The best part of the process turned out to be the breeze from the fan that hit my feet the minute I had creamed them. It was the contact from the moving air with the cool cream that momentarily quenched the flames. It didn’t last, though. Once the cream was absorbed, the fire resumed.
Eventually, I began a habit of bringing a cool, damp towel into the bed with me. Guo Jian didn’t like this. He occasionally found the cloth with his own feet and it freaked him out with a jump and a yelp. He said it felt like there was some sort of soggy creature in the bed with us (scaredy-cat boy that he is!) and so I told him just to keep to his side and leave me alone about it (pregger wench that I am!)…
I would wrap these cool cloths around my feet like I was wrapping an infant, keeping my feet tightly bound together and quenched on both the top of my foot and on the fiery soles. When the towel got too warm, I’d adjust its position to a cooler section. It was heavenly. Only then could I fall asleep without feeling like my feet were going to explode in a volcanic mess.
Then, I went to Canada. There, my parent’s home features a basement guest room set into the Ontario rock and my feet were finally cool again, tucked under flannel sheets in July. Perfect.
That is, until I was at friends’ homes in Toronto where the heat raged to 38+ degrees Celsius. Feeling slightly self-conscious about using their towels as my volcanic foot rags, I found myself improvising… with spit. If I spat into my hands and then traced the saliva along the soles my feet in a vertical line, it was like a wee bucket of water for the flames. I could almost see the steam rising in relief. Usually, since I was so exhausted with all my running around over there, I would fall asleep quickly before the moisture from that temporary measure had evaporated.
Yeah, I know. It’s gross. What can I say?
The second thing I've noticed about my feet is that they walk differently. They're sort of pointed differently, at weird angles, and are acting so unlike the feet I have looked down at while walking my whole entire life. I guess they're responding to the change in my hips' alignment, or so my inner scientist tells me, but when I look down at my feet I feel a little queasy, like I'm being transported on mutinous limbs without my consent.
And now I’m back in Beijing experiencing the first of the swollen feet syndrome. Yesterday, my feet were pulsing and puffy. I kept them elevated most of the day and then did some yoga for pregnant women that focuses on the circulation in the legs. It helped a little.
The swelling struck me as a cruel joke. I mean, haven’t I already experienced the near-bursting due to overheating? Do I need a visual reminder of this as well?
I looked down at my feet yesterday and felt another wave of grief as I whispered to them, “Not you too! Where have you gone? Come back!” I already don’t recognize my breasts, my midriff, my hips, my ass, my thighs! At what point do the changes stop? At what point can I just grow a belly here and not have to get pregnant in every other part of my body too?
After ten hours of much-needed jetlag sleep, the swelling has gone down slightly and hopefully it was just a result of the long flight back home. If not, I’ll have to go shoe shopping too.
Do they even have maternity shoe stores?