Monthly Archives: May 2009

Everybody and their mother…

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Lately, everybody and their mother’s been trying to sell me a mothering class.

Twice this week I’ve received a phone call from my insurance company, offering me free supportive classes in preparation for motherhood. Today, at the gym, a woman at the membership table excitedly handed me a maternity class flier and then worried she’d mistaken the baby bump for a pancetta-induced paunch. “Oh, um, I hope I didn’t make a terrible error,” she stammered. “You didn’t,” I said, “no worries,” as I glanced at the class description, its requirements (“a sense of humor! and a baby!”)… and its price tag. Then there was the list of “27 different classes!” offered by the birthing center: Japanese Baby Care/Feeding; Marvelous Multiples Lamaze; Hypnobirthing; Breastfeeding; and on and on. Two of them I have to take if I want to give birth at the birthing center– and they’re “filling up fast!” (and they cost a few hundred bucks… of course).

It’s nice to know there’s so much support available for learning how to be a mother, but as I was telling my mom last night, I wish there was more support for helping women before becoming mothers– and helping them figure out what they need to know during pregnancy.

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Bristol Palin: A (Very) Few Words

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Truly, Bristol Palin doesn’t seem to be worth a whole lot of breath, but I can’t help but share my “Bristol Palin, are you friggin’ kidding me?!” moment.

While waiting in line at the pharmacy this evening, I happened to scan the cover of People magazine. On the cover: Bristol Palin and her baby, and the words [and I’m paraphrasing here]: “I’m convinced girls wouldn’t have sex if they knew the consequences.”

I HAD to flip to the article and scan it quickly just to see how she elaborated on the idea.

Her line of thought went something like this: “If girls knew what could happen when they have sex, they would never ever ever ever do it, believe me.”

What did Bristol Palin think happens, exactly, if a girl has unprotected sex?

And John McCain was ready to let this woman’s mother help run the country?

No matter what your political affiliation, I think we can agree that there was some basic birds ‘n’ bees education missing here that wouldn’t have boded well for the future generations of America.

Pregnancy: One Long Lesson in Humility

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Pregnancy is incredible: for nine months (a duration that occasionally seems like a lifetime but more frequently feels far, far shorter) you’re a student in the School of All You Do Not Know.

Here’s a list of recent lessons, most learned during the past two weeks:

*I had no idea how much maternity clothes cost and still can’t understand why they’re more expensive than “regular” clothes when I’ll only be able to wear them for a few weeks.

*I had no clue (and still have no clue) what exercise, besides walking and swimming, is “permissible” during pregnancy. Don’t Google this: you’ll only be more confused than you were to begin with.

*I don’t know, still, whether I actually have to make an appointment at the birthing center in order to actually have the baby. I’ll find out tomorrow, though.

*I had no inkling that you really have to do this–“this” being pregnancy–a few times before you get it just right.

*I still have no real understanding about what actually raising a child requires. Good thing Francisco was around for the first 7 months of Brayan’s life and has at least some basic infant-raising experience. How often does a baby eat? How much should it eat?

I have about a bazillion questions about birth and parenthood. I write them down in a little notebook, like a student, ready to write down the answers.

Thanks, Teresa & Ibis!

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Is there anything better than receiving a present?

Earlier this week, a box from Mexico appeared on our doorstep… a gift of two huipiles from our friends Teresa and Ibis, who are also expecting. “I hope the colors aren’t too garish,” Teresa wrote, “Ibis insisted on happy colors.” Francisco was thrilled, as my wardrobe is heavy on the black.

As I write this, I’m sitting at my laptop, comfy in a blue huipil embroidered with red, orange, pink, and yellow flowers. It makes me miss Mexico and makes me wish we could be sitting at a table with Teresa and Ibis, laughing, talking, and eating.

But since we’re in New York and they’re in Oaxaca right now, I’ll do the next best thing, which is encourage you to go read Teresa’s recent articles about weavers from Teotitlan del Valle. The swine flu mania has caused tourism–the mainstay of the community’s economy–to plummet. Fortunately, Teresa is there to document what’s going on. I hope you’ll take some time to read her beautiful writing:

Notes on Oaxaca Since the Swine Flu

An Awkward Hug and No Chocolate

What’s Being Lost

And thanks, Teresa & Ibis!

Things You Don’t Want to See at Your Midwife’s Office

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I’ll admit that I was a little, um, cranky when I got to the midwife’s office on Friday.

First, the office assistant–who’s just NOT a good communicator–called to cancel an appointment scheduled for last week that apparently shouldn’t have been canceled. And I got a cranky phone call from the midwife saying, “Hi, where are you?” Then, this appointment, which was the rescheduled one, also got rescheduled because the midwife was called to a birth.

So.

I get to the midwife’s office and there’s no one at reception. There’s no one there for about 10 minutes. And while I’m waiting for someone to appear, I notice a poster on the wall that either wasn’t there last time or I just happened not to notice while I ran between the waiting room and the bathroom to throw up.

“Get rid of your wrinkles with Botox.”

Really? In a midwife’s office?

Believe it or not, I’m speechless. There’s nothing else to say about the poster other than it was just plain wrong and shouldn’t have been there.

That is all.

I heart the second trimester.

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All things considered, the first trimester wasn’t bad. I’ve certainly heard worse stories and I don’t think I can really complain. But in the first trimester, I was just getting used to the idea of being pregnant while dealing with the physical changes of being pregnant. Not to mention the emotional changes.

Plus the first trimester coincided with the winter, when I’m generally bearish anyhow, desperate for sunlight, looking out the living room window every morning for the first sign of green buds forcing themselves from the tree’s branches.

But the second trimester… I think I could be pregnant in the second trimester forever. I feel good–great, even. I even feel like I look good, which is just downright bizarre (does something happen with one’s neurons during the second trimester?)… I mean, I’m gaining weight, I alternate between two pair of pants, and even under the best of circumstances, I have never thought of myself as sexy or even beautiful. I’m average and that’s always been ok.

The pregnancy wheel says this is all normal for the second trimester. It also says that sex is often exceptional during the second trimester, and without offending your delicate sensibilities, dear reader, I can confirm that this is, indeed, the case.

And then there’s this: in the second trimester, I’ve settled into the idea of pregnancy, of parenthood, and of change… without really having to confront any of its wild extremes just yet. My belly isn’t so big that I’m uncomfortable. It’s not so hot outside that I’m whining. I’m not so close to giving birth that I’m having a melt down about all the how tos and things to do.

The green buds are now little leaves on the trees. I see the growth every morning. A neighbor up the street has this eye-poppingly beautiful garden that, because of a cool spring, has just gone on and on. Yesterday brought the first roses.

If we decide to have a second child, please remind me how wonderful the second trimester is when I’m griping about the first one. And three months from now, remind me of the beauty of this particular moment.