Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mommy Strength

Today marks the halfway point.  Baby Girl is exactly 20 weeks along and but by the grace of God that she does not inherit my chronic tardiness, the number of days until we meet should hopefully amount to less than the number that have gotten us here.  By the Grace. Of. God, people!

I'm starting to feel like her Mom.  I've known of course, since she was just a flickering peanut, that I was going to be her mother, but in the past few weeks it has changed from something I'm waiting for to something I'm becoming. I've transitioned from talking about my pregnancy to hearing myself say "my daughter" and absolutely delighting in the purpose two simple words give every day conversation.  This transition has also given me a brand new perspective on this whole pregnancy thing and provided me with some pretty handy tools to navigate some of the more challenging first-time mom moments.

One of those moments is when one is faced with the most dreaded of all pregnancy evils... the Mommy Bully.

You know the one.  She asks you about all the intimate details of your pregnancy, your birth plan, your thoughts on how you plan to raise your child, and when you answer she wastes no time in tearing your heartfelt and well-researched goals and aspirations to tattered rags.  It goes something like this...

Mommy Bully: Sooooo! You're five months along, huh? Do you know where you're going to deliver?

Innocent Pregnant Woman: Yes! We're delivering at Come One Come All Hospital. We just had our tour and we really like the staff and birth sui-

(you're cut off mid-sentence)

Mommy Bully: (eyes rolling) Ohhh nooo, weeeee delivered at Holier Than Thou Hospital and my epidural was a cocktail of percocet and champagne and my ob is a direct descendant of the midwife who delivered Jesus.. you're getting an epidural right? You're not one of these new-age natural birth mothers, oh for heaven's sake please don't say-

(you cut her off mid-sentence)

Innocent Pregnant Woman: Actually, I am hoping to have a natural delivery but I'm staying open to the possibility that I might want help, hence why I'm delivering at a hospital.

Mommy Bully: Oh but truuuust me, five seconds in and you're going to be begging for the epidural.  Don't be a hero, there are no awards for giving birth the Stone Age way you know... [negative negative negative, condescending condescending, condescending...]

You could substitute any topic - breastfeeding, swaddling, cloth diapers, strollers versus baby carriers... there is literally no end to the backlash a first-time mom receives from the been-there-done-that crowd.  It will come from the well-meaning, the spiteful, the have-no-sense-of-social-decency-whatsoever, your friends, your family, your coworkers, your cashier at Target. 

And then you have a choice.  You can either do what I did up until a few weeks ago, which was to internalize my anger and hurt and wait until I got home to unleash it all in a blizzard of tears and sobs and "Why doesn't anyone respect my choices?? I'm going to be her mother!! They were new mothers themselves one time, don't they remember what it's like?!?! Don't they think I want the best for my child??? What kind of person tries to talk another woman out of making her own choices as a parent?!?!"

Or, you can take a breath and remind yourself of the one simple, irrefutable truth.. YOU alone are your baby's mother.

I can't tell you what a quick glance in the mirror every now and then, saying these words to myself with a hand on my belly, has done for my state of mind and my resolve. It reminds me that no matter what criticism or negativity comes my way now, something so much bigger and better is coming to stay.  And I dare somebody to challenge her cute little cloth-covered bottom once she's here.

140 days and counting...


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