I think that every pregnant-for-the-first-time woman must go through a period where she just wants to scream at about half the people around her. And it's not the hormones, I swear. It's the constant scolding, correcting, and instructing, usually by women who have already had babies, whether last month, last year, last decade, or last century.
This week marked the first time I saw my son's movements as more than just little twitches. There was a good five seconds of something - probably a foot - moving back and forth across my belly. This happened a couple of times, and while it was awesome, it was a tad on the creepy side, too. Of course, when I said that to someone, I was immediately informed that it is not creepy, just beautiful.
Let me tell you something. It is beautiful. It is amazing. It is something that no matter how excited I am to meet my son on the other side of my belly, I know that I will miss for the rest of my life. I am soaking up every moment of it now because it is just the most inspiring thing I have ever experienced, and I would not trade it for the world.
Now, let me tell you something else. There is another person living inside my body. If that creeps me out a little bit, that does not make me a horrible person or an unfit mother. It makes me human. It makes me pregnant-for-the-first-time and still trying to grasp the enormity of the situation. I am just going to say it one more time. THERE IS ANOTHER PERSON LIVING INSIDE MY BODY. In any other situation, such a reality would be good cause to be creeped out, possibly even alarmed.
I also mentioned to someone this week that I anticipate labor and delivery are going to be rather unpleasant and kind of gross. Again, the looks of horror and statements that "It's not gross. It's beautiful." My son is beautiful. The fact that two tiny cells can come together and begin this process that leads to the creation of another person - that is beautiful. Blood and amniotic fluid and placenta and possibly even poo - these are things that are not beautiful. Why can't we just be honest about that? If you take the baby out of the equation for a moment, the delivery scene is filled with some pretty gross stuff. Can't I just say that without being judged? You want something beautiful? How about the fact that women KNOW about this gross scene, and they sign up to do this, sometimes multiple times, because the beautiful miracle of bringing a child into this world makes the rest worth it.
The whole breastfeeding-formula feeding decision is another area that is just rife with land mines. My husband and I have decided to bottle-feed exclusively. I plan to try to do some pumping in the beginning and possibly for as long as my work schedule (and my body) will permit, but for a variety of reasons, we plan to use bottles to feed our son from the start. When I mentioned this to someone, she asked me, "Don't you want the best for your baby?"
Of course I want the best for my son. But the fact of the matter is that my husband and I have to make choices that are best for all of us. Some of the reasons that I plan to bottle-feed are results of choices that we have made that reflect a desire to create a home that can thrive in the long run, as well as the short run. So, what is best for my son is not necessarily what is best for your child. And in some cases, the choices that I have made could turn out to be choices that you will later wish you made. Even if my choices were bad ones, what a way to phrase it.
I am about to be a new mommy, so I certainly welcome input from others, but only when it is offered in a non-judgmental way. If you are really interested in offering me some helpful tips or advice, then I would love to hear it. But if your real goal is to demonstrate what a better mother you are and try to impress upon me how important it is to model my mothering after yours, then please just let me be.