I’m going to be expelling another human being from my body in, oh, t-minus 14 weeks and have been trying to figure out what the hell that is going to mean. I get the mechanics of it all, but when I think about how that’s going to apply to me, I really… well, let’s just say that suggestion sounds crazy. So, like any good over-achiever, I have been dutifully scouring the internet for pregnancy blogs and mommy groups, reading books, annoying every friend who is a recent mom with a score of questions, and watching various animals on youtube give birth. Of course the rabbit-hole of youtube also lead me to cute puppies, animals mating, crazy people who post their vaginal births – wtf?! –and documentaries about labor and delivery.
CONCLUSIONS THUS FAR:
The pros: I’m not as terrified of delivering as I was – in fact I’m thinking more and more that I want to commit to a natural delivery. Hell, if a horse or elephant can do it on her own, I can do this. And besides, people tell me the delivery is the easy part… it’s the baby that’s difficult.
The cons: people are really opinionated about labor and delivery. They want to tell you what to do. You’re either too granola-crunchy touchy feely or not granola-crunchy-touchy feely enough. And you in your vulnerable state of not-knowing are easy prey. It’s in your best interest to be as informed as possible and make the decisions that makes you the most comfortable. And then you tell everyone else to mind their own business or you find a new doctor or a new doula or a new whatever.
People are really opinionated about pregnancy in general. Consider yourselves warned. There is nothing that invites attention (good, bad, ugly, unsolicited) like being pregnant. For the most part, people are kind and curious: they want to know how far along you are, what sex the baby is, is this your first, do you crave weird things, how do you feel etc.
But it devolves from there. There are the words of advice or caution: Things you should or shouldn’t do and things you should or shouldn’t eat. And this comes at you from parents and non-parents, couples, singles, male, female, old, young, etc. I had a 19 year-old pimply-faced college kid on a plane tell me I should sign my unborn child (i.e. my 4.5 month-old-fetus) up for language classes as early as possible, which is what his mom did for him, and then proceeded to demonstrate his fluent French, until I punched him in the face. (just kidding about that last part)
Relatives will have conflicting ideas of forbidden things: Rest! Exercise! Don’t lift your arms above your head! Don’t have ice water or watermelon or lobster. I had a family dinner play out in sitcom fashion with one set of relatives forbidding shellfish, and the other set sneaking it on my plate.
There is a tendency in America to over-do things: Super Size, Big Gulp, Value Meal, Value Packs, wholesale clubs, RV’s, mega mansions, hundreds upon hundreds of TV stations in our basic cable packages etc. We produce the most garbage and buy-buy-buy! We have 4% of the world’s children and purchase 40% of the world’s toys! (When I found this last statistic on-line I was particularly horrified.)
And in fact, baby stuff and registries are big business. Amazing business. Baby stuff sales reached $1.66 billion in 2008 and are expected to reach $1.86 by 2013 – regardless of however bad the economy is. I’m doing my best to recycle/reuse/relove and not start my child’s life off immersed in consumerism. And to this end I’m getting a little help from my friends: I’m blessed with wonderful friends who have already had children and have been generously passing along their gently used items to me. Before we knew it — it’s started to fill our house and baby isn’t even here.
My nerd-ness has always geeked out on informing myself as much as possible — in this present case, all things baby. But I’m realizing how much intensity, wonderful and not so wonderful comes at you from family, friends, advertisers, the media, the medical profession, the holistic professions, etc. Man, oh man, the baby-getting-ready-wagon is at full steam and it’s a little too much for even my type-A tendencies. I think I’ll just go take a little break or a nap.