Tag Archives: Children

My Apologies To Pregnant Women

I need to publicly apologize to all the pregnant women in the world who have walked by me these last 5 1/2 months. I’m sorry for having so blatantly gawked at you. I should have had better manners, since I am from Texas, but it’s just that I feel like a dog at a kill shelter watching my buddy who’s been in the slammer for 3 1/2 months longer than me, and I know where he’s going is where I’m going.  So yeah, I’m scared. Especially before my bump started to show. Back then I felt like I was in hiding, able to observe from a safe distance. I don’t know how the preggos didn’t sniff me out.  I thought being pregnant was like being gay–if you are one you know who else is. But they never caught on and so I watched with mouth agape as they waddled to their cars, picked out baby room decor and asked for the nearest restroom.

But now I’m here and starting to show and I don’t know if I like that people can tell. Especially since I’m in that weird stage of it, where to some it may look like I’ve been drinking too much beer rather than had sex without protection. As a result, karma’s getting the better of me and I’m getting double gawked at by other incognito mother’s-to-be and the security dude at my office. And I understand it, I’m a walking “Morphing-Into-Something-Else-Being” right now. I’m straddling the two worlds of no baby and yes baby and no one can do anything but watch as I drift into another reality and become one of “them”.

“Them” as in couples with babies. Not that I ever wanted to think of them as “them”, but so many families rip themselves from the rest of us. And I don’t think that has to be the case. When my husband and I visited Barcelona a couple of years ago, families were walking around and hanging out at bars and restaurants filled with drunken singles. They didn’t get all huffy when a person next to their baby started smoking or got wasted. Sure they might have moved the kid, but they moved, they didn’t ask anyone else to. To each his own! As a result, all seemed happy. The parents didn’t even look like parents the way American parents do. Something about parents here; it’s like they lose their identity and end up looking like casual fashion ads from REI where the family is dressed to compliment one another so everyone can see they are of the same unit. While overseas parents were just as dressed up or down as anyone else-very much themselves; by chance they had a little one dangling off their shoulders, but they kept talking away with their friends without their kids interrupting or expecting to be the center of attention.

So why is it that the generation that brought pajamas to office attire and tattoos to the mainstream have somehow or other become more obnoxiously sterile and constrictive about what a family should be than those in the 50’s who propagated the Stepford Wife nuclear family ideal? Aren’t we cooler than that? Do we have to be so uptight like a bad rom-com female protagonist? The strangest part about it all is that some have assumed that I’d like to be one of “them” without ever even asking.

Just because I’m gonna be a mom, please don’t assume I want to go to baby conventions and events (seriously I just found out about some). Just because I’m gonna be a mom, don’t think that being a mom is the number one thing on my mind (well except in my blog). And don’t think because I’m gonna be a mom, I’m as excited about joining the mommy club as you might have been.

Thank God we have friends who somehow balance being parents with being people. I know there are ways to make life’s conventional roles your own. In my marriage, we never assumed that we needed to “settle down” and only hang out with other married couples. We continued to surround ourselves with all different people in all different stages of their lives. Of course, I did feel a similar slip into a different reality when I left the world of singles. It was a little scary then to know I’d no longer get to spend a night with girlfriends partying it up to prove that the guy who dumped me made an obviously major mistake (look at me now!); but the change into married life felt reasonable since many of our friends were in relationships themselves. We may have been the only married people for awhile, but not the only couple, so we never felt too different. But suddenly a baby comes on board and I see it in the eyes of my friends–I’m falling off the life raft and slowly slipping into the abyss. As my stomach grows I see their faces grow more distant. I want to say, please don’t let me fall, but I know they’re just waiting to see if I can swim.

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Ultrasounds Aren’t Cute

When I signed up for the Make-A-Baby Ride I had no idea how girlie women could get. And I’m not talking normal girlie where you can’t help but talk about clothes and nails, I’m talking beyond reason Stepford Wife girlie–the out of control type that finds everything beautiful and perfect about being a mother and wife. They ooh and ahh at every cutesie thing for babies and melt on cue at the sight of your unborn child. You might think the desire to do so is sweet and loving, but I call it a whole lotta delusional to be able to look at this and say, “How cute!”

Which surprisingly is exactly what one doctor said at the sight of this baby, my Chipmunk Reaper, during an ultrasound. She loved it so much she kept making me look at it, and I found it so scary looking I kept laughing at it. I started to get the funny feeling she was going to take a photo of it, so I asked her not to from that angle since there were better ones to choose from. My reaction did not compute. In her thick Filipino accent she tried to convince me otherwise, “But it’s looking at you. It’s so cute! It’s saying, ‘Hello momma!'” “No,” I told her, “It’s frightening and it’s coming to attack us.” She dismissed my concern. “It’s cute. I’m taking a photo of it.” “Please don’t,” I pleaded, “If my husband sees a photo of his baby like that, he may ask me to return it.” As you can see by the evidence, she didn’t care about my husband and took a photo of it anyway. That week my husband and I named our baby Skeletor.

I still don’t understand what it is about babies that makes our understanding of what cute is go out the door. I know love is blind, but are you kidding me? I find that I’m almost a disappointment to nurses and friends when it comes to this. When they coo at me, I can tell I’m not cooing back with enough gusto to satisfy them; but I do try so I don’t ruin what has somehow become their special moment. I mean I get the fact that it’s an amazing thing what’s going on inside of me. The fact that I’m a life-making machine is incredible. And don’t think things haven’t happened that haven’t softened me up. For the first ultrasound during the first trimester, I went to the doctor with low expectations. Everything was as expected–everyone said hi, I laid down on the table for the ultrasound, and the grainy black and white picture of the baby came up on the monitor. I looked over with my husband and yep, it was that weird image I’d seen for years and never understood. My husband and I looked at each other unenthusiastically like, “Okay, that’s cool.” Then the doctor pointed out the rapid little heartbeat inside our pixellated blob. It was so small and moved so fast it looked like the heart of a hummingbird. On cue, a gush of water came pouring out of my eyes. I can’t explain why, it was totally unexpected, complete out of control Niagara Falls of tears. Worse than the way your cheesiest friend cries every time she sees TITANIC, and even more than everyone who ever saw the opening of Pixar’s UP! I tried to stop crying, but again the sight of that little heartbeat… oh my God! For the rest of the day it was like I had seen the best tear-jerker in the world and the mention of our baby’s little heartbeat got me going again. On the way back to our car, “Hon, wasn’t that crazy when we saw our little baby’s…waaaa!” And during lunch as I was about to bite into a burrito, “I really didn’t expect that to happen. But when she pointed out the…OMG…waaaa!”

So the magnitude of this event I understand. I’m with you people on how miraculous this whole adventure is. But thinking that the creation of life is mind-blowingly cool is quite different from thinking that this…

… is cute. Oh I’m sorry, I meant this…

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