This is an essay I wrote while I was pregnant. I was thinking about it in relation to my other post about astrology. By the way, there is a contest going on. Tell me your story. I am convalescing and could use a good laugh.

For years I believed I was born in the year of the Rat. This was due to Chinese restaurant placemats which arranged the horoscopic years to correspond to the Western Calendar. I saw 1972, saw it was the Year of the Rat, felt a bit uncomfortable (who wants to be the dread parasite rodent?) but saw myself in the descriptive blurb on Rat characteristics (these placemats were very informative.)

About five years ago, I discovered that, as my birthday is in January, I am not, in fact, a Rat. Rather, I am a Pig. Not just any Pig, but a Metal Yin Pig (as opposed to the Water Yang Rat.) This made me sad, at first, because it felt like someone had switched some facts about me without consulting me first. It was like looking in the mirror and seeing your eyes were a different color than they had always been. Well, not quite that dramatic. More like finding out you were born in the night as opposed to the day. Not important facts in the whole scheme of things, but disconcerting to find they had changed nevertheless. Eventually, I forgot about the whole thing, putting the energy and thought I reserved for frivolous stuff into Western astrology and dieting.

Until now.

We were discussing the baby and when he would be born and what his sign might be. I was complaining about the people who have encouraged me to have this baby early, so that he may be a Libra, because a Scorpio is less acceptable somehow. I was commenting that while it was something I had considered, I thought it was a bit odd that others would say it to me, that others wouldn't consider the most important goal for me would be to have a safe delivery and a healthy child. This conversation inspired my mother to bring out the book on Feng Shui. She is ordinarily not a frivolous person, but clearly the impending birth of her first grandchild has made her a bit addled. She turned to the section on astrology and started discussing the various personalities and compatibilities. It all sounded so reasonable and safe. Later, I examined the book more closely. Now I don't know what to believe.

For starters, I do not resemble the Pig person. Now I know that this is entirely a subjective thing to say, that others may see traits in me that I do not see in myself. However, the Pig has traits I would never in a million years claim to have (not just traits I choose to ignore) and I would bet most of the people I know would agree with this assessment. I totally match the description of the Rat person. I know that people look for themselves in their horoscopes which is why they so often see their reflection looking back at them. But in this case, the resemblance really is uncanny; I have always seen myself in the Rat description, this isn't something new and it is something I am saying now because I can't accept my Pig status.

Another thing is the compatability factor. My husband is a Wood Yang Dragon. My child will be a Wood Yang Monkey. According to the chart, they will get along excellently with one another. Both are completely incompatible with the Metal Yin Pig. Damn. (I find myself wanting to draw a frowny face after that sentence to make clear how sad I find that information to be.) However, both signs get along excellently with a Water Yang Rat. I feel doomed, as if my true self and future relationships have been hijacked by an accident of birth (the accident being I was born too early.) Had I waited a few more weeks in my mother's womb, I would have been born in the correct year.

However, looking at the chart causes further confusion. Not only am I supposed to be incompatible with my husband, with whom I have an excellent relationship. I am supposed to be highly compatible with my younger brother, a Wood Yang Rabbit, with whom I have always had what could be called a contentious relationship. Of course, I guess the Wood Yang part would cancel out the symbiosis of the Rabbit and Pig. Perhaps. I have looked up every friend and family member I could think of. Everything seems to suggest that I am more whiskered than porcine.

I am beginning to doubt the efficacy of this whole Chinese Astrology thing and the alleged compatability or lack thereof of different signs.

Unless a mistake has been made.

I have decided that there must have been a mistake in my case. Clearly, I was meant to be a Rat and I was just born a few weeks too early. So I have decided to ignore the details of the actual Chinese year in light of the descriptions and compatability chart. I must be a Rat.

I feel so much better now.

However there is still the problem of the traditional Zodiac with which I must contend. My husband is a Gemini. I am an Aquarius. We are both air signs, highly compatible. This baby's due date places him in Scorpio, a water sign, with which we are not so compatible. This is what people were warning me about. While I feel it is inappropriate of others to comment about this, I do worry that his astrological sign will be bad for all of us.

Hopefully, this little baby will be able to do what his mother could not and come a couple of days late. That way, he will be a Sagittarius, which will be so much better for everyone concerned. I have my fingers crossed and am hoping that all the stories of full moons inducing labor are true (as the moon will be fully waxed just a week after my estimated due date, which would place him firmly in Sagittarius.)

Not that I am superstitious.

I just want to make sure I have all my bases covered.

P.S. Julian was not born super early and is a Scorpio. It has not yet been a problem.

P.P.S. I found this calendar which indicates that the new year started early in 1972 on January 15, so I am a Water Yang Rat after all! Woohoo! Maybe there is something to this horoscope thing after all!


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