Thursday, January 14, 2010

Baby News

Important announcement: The following is not an announcement! Not an announcement of a Personal Nature, that is. So my sisters and sisters-in-law, women of a highly suspicious nature, just need to CALM DOWN and start contemplating their own reproductive futures.

Whew. Got that out of the way. (Who knew that just by standing up at dinner during our recent vacation to announce the publication of the 2010 family calendar, I'd have everyone eyeing my midsection?)

So the thing is, there are babies everywhere these days. Mostly, babies in an embryonic state. Dear friends Jessica and Anne are both incubating their FIFTH masterpieces. One of my oldest friends recently confided the early stages of a long-hoped-for pregnancy -- no names here, since it's still in the hush-hush phase. An even older friend, the one who always swore her future would be childless, recently welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the frigid world of coastal Maine. The other night, I dreamed my friend Nicole was telling me she was pregnant, even though her third is only seven months old. (Stranger things have happened.)

And yesterday, it was my distinct and teary honor to support my good friend Grace as she delivered her firstborn, Isaac Nathaniel. We deep-breathed together throughout her amazingly short labor as her husband rubbed her feet and her mom texted her many well-wishers.

Ten years ago, while I prepared for the birth of my own firstborn son, this was my philosophy:

These days, my thoughts run more along these lines:
Natural childbirth was the way to go for ME. I believe it's healthy and empowering, and that many women don't realize what they're capable of, but let us be clear, I wouldn't do it for weekend recreation, and during the pushing stage with Caroline, the words, "I AM NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN!" blared like a siren through the upstairs bathroom. And when I'm asked to be with a friend at a moment like this, it's not to live vicariously through their moment or to have them validate my own choices by doing things my way. It's to support them in having the experience THEY want.

Let's be honest; mothering is not a competition. Or at least, it shouldn't be. Motherhood works best as a sisterhood, in which each member is automatically assumed to be as wise, and loving, and capable of seeking help when she needs it, as her child needs her to be. Since I haven't run across any reliable checklist out there for good mothering (Sample Harvard application question: Did your parents use cloth diapers or disposables?), can we agree to cut each other some slack on the nonessentials?

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.


cjoy said...

I was going to ask if you were a doula! :)
Speaking of asking...I have been meaning to ask you for, say, 5 or so ARE the cover mama for the Ellaroo brochure, RIGHT? If not, that girl is your identical twin (named "Hannah D." to boot...since I dug long and hard to see if it was you...heehee). =P

Nice mommying thoughts, btw.

Hannah said...

Yup, that's me -- when Eliza was a wee bairn! I keep forgetting about that photo until once in blue moon someone sees it online or buys something from Ellaroo and asks me about it!

Amy Nichols said...

I'm all for cutting slack for others when it comes to things like childbirth and cloth vs. disposable.

Mostly I'm all for cute, cuddly babies!! Congratulations to your friend! :)

Stephanie said...

I like your statement about mothering. If only it were so! Why do we judge? Why do we criticize? Why do we ostracize? Why not rather be supportive, be forgiving, be open to one another?

(Just the opinion of a mom who at a vulnerable time was judged, criticized, and ostracized by the good moms with the good kids, and who now strives to be supportive, forgiving, and open.)

Amy said...

Thanks for the pictures of Grace and the baby. I am hoping to make it over to see them myself very soon. I had an image in my mind of a baby-sized Luis being born and he is not too far off...

Michelle L said...

Hannah, I really appreciate your thoughts on motherhood and particularly childbirth. I planned to do my best to go natural, though I was somewhat prepared for the possibility that things may not go as planned. Sure enough, when I had to be induced due to an issue we found w/Joseph, I realized as I was hooked up to drips, drugs and monitors that there was no way I was going to be on the bouncy ball or have that natural birth :) But it all worked out in the end and I was comforted that so many other moms had similar experiences.

Vanessa said...

Congrats to Luis and Grace. What a beautiful baby! I have to remind myself at times that motherhood is not a competition. . .sometimes i compare myself to these awesome mom's that blog about all the wonderful things they do and are. . .um, like YOU! But comparing only leads to one thing. . .disappointment, so a sisterhood is much better! We just encourage each other on, lend a helping hand and pray together. It is much better that way.