Thursday, October 12, 2006

kind strangers and fertility

Walking around my neighborhood lately, I've felt even more happy than usual. Random strangers smile at me. The librarian (Mr. Charming Smile) told me he hopes I have the baby this weekend because that's his birthday too, and that he'll be thinking of me. How friendly is that- how wonderful is that?! Another guy said that I carry the pregnancy very well and that I looked adorable. Just as he was walking down the street and I was walking up it.

I wish that random strangers would be this kind and friendly to each other when one of them isn't obviously pregnant.

I went to my moms' group today and it was wonderful, again, to be with a group of moms and their new babies in a relaxed setting. We were just in someone's living room, they were nursing and playing with the babies, we were chatting, having snacks... it felt lovely, slow, convivial. Babies cried, were held, slept, nursed. I look at these women and know that no matter how much naysayers want me to believe them (why is it that the most negative people NEED me to validate their experience and NEED my experience to be as horrid as they perceive theirs to be), that I will have this support group and I also have inner resources, vastly.

Also, there's also 800-4-A-CHILD if I feel like I'm going through serious postpartum and the baby's in danger.

But man. I feel like if I'm complaining about something, it's going to be at that PPD-call-the-hotline-stat point. Because after knowing the issues others go through just trying to get pregnant or just waiting for their adopted or foster kid's paperwork to go through-- well, I just will not complain.

I am grateful. That's my mantra. I am grateful. I am grateful.


I remember that when I was doing doula work and some pregnancy education, one client asked if I was a mom, because it seemed like I had kids. And I remember being really flattered that she thought that (especially since I was nineteen at the time and far from thinking of having kids). I felt good about being able to connect with people. And especially with these pregnant women, because they were low-income and mostly really young and without partners.

But along the way, somehow I got the message that it wasn't special to be a mom. I'm thinking that a lot (like maybe 90%) of that comes straight from my parents' relationship, and the way my father treats my mother. Which is, disrespectfully.

I've said before that pregnancy has given me gifts that I never, ever could have imagined. Gifts of emotional growth and insight that are so precious to me, that strengthen me and reveal to me truths about who I am. Here is one truth- despite the way my father treats my mother, despite the way American culture treats parents (and elderly people), there is another way. The truth is that motherhood is an amazing gift and that I am ready to do it.


Which leads me to yet another thing I love about my husband. He's a physicist, which means he's also got the creativity of a poet. His imagination is limitless. He's really a phenomenal thinker, and more emotionally aware than anyone I've ever known. And his approach to parenthood is like that of a Buddhist-- with a friendly curiosity. Without fear.

Which is how I'm approaching labor and delivery. :)

And I must add that the awesome women in the moms' group told me not to forget that contractions are only a minute long-- and that no one told them that it can be downright euphoric in between contractions. Ah, the full story is so much better than people's bits-and-pieces.

I'm not saying it won't be challenging-- labor and delivery AND motherhood. I'm just saying I want to approach it with curiosity, with grace, with patience, with a great love.