Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Experience

"You should enjoy being pregnant because you may not be pregnant again.... Go do something special for yourself an hour a week... Your pregnancy and labor will be exactly what your baby needs..."

She was full of tips and advice; she dispelled some of the myths I had heard and helped me prepare myself for labor. But even now I wonder how prepared can one be? I knew I should try to enjoy being pregnant, and then I felt guilty for not savoring moments like other people do. My baby's heartbeat--good, he's still in there. My baby's sonogram--phew, he is still moving. Is my baby moving enough? And I worried about not enjoying things people said I should enjoy. Then I wondered why people kept telling me they enjoyed being pregnant so much when that was their experience. Sure, I was happy to be growing a baby, but I never seemed as ecstatic about it. (This is who I am; I feel deeply, express little, and thus I am sure sometimes people think I either should be feeling more, or I am feeling-less.)

When she first told me I should do something for myself for an hour, I cried the next day for an hour. I didn't know what to do by myself that I liked. Getting my haircut? No, somehow that is always a mistake unless Mom is cutting it. Doing my nails? I don't think I could sit down that long and they chip too fast. Pedicure? Only at home. I don't want some strange toenail disease. Taking a walk? Well, maybe I could muster doing that but I do that almost every day anyway. Scrapbooking or card making? Nope. Too big of a mess in the living room. Not even attempting that.

And then the class about making decisions, and the birth process being what your baby needs. I'd like to have it hurry along and to be finished with this process. I'd like my emotions not to influence the timing of this baby. I'd have chosen for the tornadoes to pass by at a different time than they did, and they gave me a real reason to cry. I had to think about the hard decisions with Joseph just in case we have to make them.

I've walked, I've danced, I've hoped to get this baby on the move. But he will come in his own time. A few nights ago I asked, "Are you scared?" and he said, "Of what?" and I said, "Of being a parent?" After a slight pause, "Yes, but I think we'll do just fine." I've cared for other people's children longer than I can remember. But the idea of having my own...well, I'm having to relax into that idea. I'm still scared, but not of giving birth. The aftermath of it--and how I handle being a parent--that scares me because I am responsible for a little soul for a very small amount of time.

Telling someone to 'enjoy pregnancy' may be similar to telling them to enjoy a tooth extraction. Your glad when it's over, you realize it had a purpose, and you feel better now. But for some, it's important to realize pregnancy is a process not an ethereal state of being happy all the time. There's the sickness, the clumsiness, and the learning to cope with a body that seems out of control in every way. Afterwards, you appreciate the process and are thankful for the new life. My experience is not the testing ground for other women. Each will have their own story, their own experience.

Have you ever given someone advice based on your experience? Has this ever backfired on you? How does your experience color what you think and believe?

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