I've struggled for a while, trying to riddle it out -- how to adequately describe it. It's been on my mind every waking moment for over a month. I get no rest from the Sickness. It dictates the inflection of my voice, the pallor of my skin and lips, the way I hold my body when sitting, standing or walking.
The Sickness is my Death Star, pulling me closer in its tractor beam until I have no choice but to succumb in the form of debilitating fatigue.
The Sickness latches a rusted anchor around my ankles, wrists, and waist.
The Sickness tightens its corset until every breath becomes measured and shallow.
The Sickness turns my brain into a vessel of sloshing water and injects it with clouds of black ink until my thoughts are no longer mine.
The Sickness curdles everything good inside my body. It fills my nose with putrid fumes that make my gut contract into a small rotten fruit.
The Sickness makes me cry and give up easily. It brings me to my knees.
The Sickness asks me, "If I could flip a switch, and take it all away..." and I whisper a response that makes me ashamed.
The Sickness chains me to my couch for hours at a time while my toddler son continues to grow and develop without my mental presence.
The Sickness makes me question my own sanity and determination.
The Sickness makes me feel like a failure of a wife, mother and employee.
The Sickness makes my teeth gnaw at the inside of my lip with nerves until it bleeds.
The Sickness changes my body, without my permission, into a throbbing, grotesque shell of my former self.
The Sickness dulls my wit and affects my work and relationships.
The Sickness burns my throat and nose with its foul acid.
The Sickness is a thing I want to reach down my throat and grab and rip from my insides so I can punch it and tear it to pieces and squeeze the remains until it oozes black and slimy and dead from between my fingers before I set fire to it and listen to it sizzle into nothing.
Yes. That's what I want to do, and it feels good to write it and read it and imagine it on repeat. Because when I imagine ripping it from my body, I can imagine my body as it should be -- as I perceive it to be: strong and pristine, safe and warm for the baby growing inside.
The Sickness has tried hard to claim my baby for its own -- to turn me against it. There are some days it succeeds -- when my baby is an "it" that belongs to Sickness, and I bestow it with terrible pet names, often after the most heinous of villains. But there are days when I look at my 3 year old son and remember that I could be carrying the hero -- a vanquisher whose every cell duplication is a mighty swing from John Henry's hammer.
Morning sickness. Bah!
The term is repugnantly misrepresented as some mild annoyance that passes by noon. An itch that merely needs scratching. The truth is, it becomes every ounce of daily existence until it is over.
Until that time, I cling to small distractions - the song that makes me believe I can kick Sickness' ass, the goofball thing my toddler just said, a fiery sunset over an Indiana field, the smell of fresh oranges on my fingertips after peeling and inhaling three Cuties... and the promise of my prize.
When it's over, the parts of me that are threadbare and depleted from Pregnancy will peel away, flake off, and run their last course through my veins. My incredible body will renew itself, perhaps with scars. And as the days and weeks and months pass, it will be as if the Sickness never existed.
And I will have won.