Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Envision the birth…

I'm not the touchy-feeliest of chicks, but I'm pragmatic enough to be OK with the fuzzy, feel-good stuff when it works. Never let stylistic differences stand in the way of getting the job done, I say. To this end, when I got pregnant I decided to use both the Eastern-influenced squishy approach to birth AND the clinical, calculating Western medicine techniques. I thought everyone would be supportive of that approach, in a best-of-both-worlds type of way. But sadly, no. What I've discovered is that both camps are foaming-at-the-mouth ideologues just waiting for the opportunity to launch into a tirade about the evils of the other side.

Future posts will detail more of this psychotic world I was ignorant of because a) I've never defined myself as a woman through potentially being a mother and thus never obsessed about the pregnancy process until I actually wanted to get pregnant, b) don't subscribe to the cult of motherhood and don't know anyone who does, and c) am the first of my friends to have children (or as they like to think of me: the canary in the coal mine of pregnancy). I was raised by hippies and ex-hippies, so finding out that people are now using those ideals to become condescending, sanctimonious fatheads about motherhood and the birth process has been fascinating and slightly nauseating. Mother Magoo and her friends think its hilarious.

The odd juxtaposition of sticking by both approaches can lead to some interesting moments. For instance, The Hub and I are in a prenatal birth group in the local birth center. They are WAY over on the touchy-feely end of the spectrum, but they manage not to be uppity or obnoxious about it. They're about as good as it gets for people like us... but they think we're completely insane. Mostly because when the group is presented with some question/exercise/stimulus our responses are always completely divergent from the rest of the crew. Sometimes we get that you're-so-funny-laugh, other times we get the I'm-uncomfortable-but-I'll-laugh-cause-there's-something-wrong-with-you laugh.

Recently we had an "Envision your birth" exercise in group. We were given clipboards and crayons. We drew pictures of the new family and shared our hopes, dreams, and concerns. Theirs were lovely: all about the aspects of spirit they wanted their newborns to have, how they saw creating the beautiful space for the birth, how they were worried about their kid in the world or their being complications so they couldn't give birth at the center liked they wanted and might need to use the demon medicine or the usual concerns about newborn health. The drawings were soft and wonderful, silly and metaphorical or spiritual.

When it was our turn, Husband-cat started with, "I don't want a dumb kid. What would I do with them? What would we talk about?" This led to dropped jaws and nervous titters. "No seriously, I'm really ambitious and driven what if my kid wants to do nothing and isn't interested in the world? How do I talk politics and history with that?" I should mention here that Husband-cat has the face of an angel so people never expect him to say shit like this. I think what puts it over the top is that he really does want to know.

My remarks, by comparison, were small fry after that. Even though I focused on our kid being driven, ambitious and smart and didn't focus on our unborn's spirit and connection to the Universe, they were so stunned, I suddenly looked like the reasonable one which was a nice change.

Oh, and our drawing? Stick figures with circle bellies (me), circle biceps (him) and circle-blob baby. All topped with smiley faces.


  1. hilarious in so many ways ... wish I had more time to comment but I gotta write a funding proposal or two and three research papers....
    love you both, well actually all three even though I don't know the spawn yet

  2. Right back a'cha, AnnaC!

  3. I love it! And you are right about Father-cat's angel face: you don't see the truth coming!!! great blog!!! I am such a fan!!!!!

  4. Yay! Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!


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