Tuesday, October 14

Pregnancy & Babies: Am I Realistic or Glass-Half-Empty? You decide.

When I read the first line in Baby Proof, I felt a sense of validation and relief. Even though the book was fiction, at least I knew someone had considered that a woman might struggle with the decision to have a child. So, I began looking for a nonfiction book about real women struggling with this decision and feeling trapped in a society that seems to be making her decision for her. I haven’t found the book I’m looking for, but nevertheless have an ever-expanding library of pregnancy and baby-related books.
Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy, by Vicki Iovine.
This is my favorite of the books I’ve read. Iovine details her personal experiences during four pregnancies. The premise of the book is to speak to the reader as “only a girlfriend would”. What I appreciate about this book is that Iovine doesn’t sugar-coat pregnancy. She also doesn’t limit her discussion to her first pregnancy, which I have noticed is often romanticized by a first-time mother. After having four babies, Iovine gives the gross, uncomfortable details that other books on pregnancy barely mention.
Since turning 30, I have been developing a mental filter that sifts through the idealistic picture of pregnancy and babies. In Iovine’s forward, she says, “Being pregnant is a time of such anticipation and optimism and dreaming . . . and fear and insecurity and self-doubt (but more about that later).” I am still looking for the book that discusses what she puts off for later because right now, I only feel the latter emotions she described and am numb to the former.
I am afraid. I recently wandered onto the CafĂ© Mom website out of curiosity for what online moms in my geographic area have to say. I was appalled at what I found. Mothers in the “Regional Club: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania” were opening their introductions like this, “Hi. I’m Janice from Northern New Jersey, and my son has Autism, asthma, Asperger Syndrome, ADHD, and anxiety.”
I got nauseous reading the countless entries about the illnesses (which don't all start with the letter "A", by the ways) these children have. There were very few who mentioned the child’s hobbies or interests. I also have a friend who recently had a baby with Down Syndrome. Like I said, I am afraid. Terrified! These aren’t issues that I want to learn about, explore in detail or recognize as a possibility after I am already pregnant. I want to know them now, before I decide whether I want to have a baby, a baby who could also be affected by them.
As far as insecurity and self-doubt, I abound there also. Am I being realistic, or am I being glass-half-empty?
Want more information on the illnesses listed above?
Asperger Syndrome

As if there aren't enough things to worry about.
What if the child looks like this?!
What am I reading on the topic today?
The author's introduction: "You probably think this book talks about nothing but a long list of complaints. And while it's true that they do focus on the negative, they're more importantly filled with compassion, great advice, and plenty of much needed humor to help get you through this difficult time."


Mariss said...

Oh, Mindy. Unfortunately, nothing is ever certain in life except for death and taxes. (That's what my mom said the other day! Ha.) Not to make light of the struggle and issues, but it's hard not to worry about all the scenarios and "what-ifs".

Yes, you may decide to have a baby and something could happen. Things probably won't be perfect. In some ways, I think alot of women feel they need to put up a facade that life is perfect, or we feel we fail. Same is with pregnancy, marriage and all that stuff. Life is hard, sometimes more than others. But we get by, and we laugh and enjoy what we can.

Take a breather and relax. If one person, or couple is dealing with one situation (i.e. a baby), they will inevitably figure a way to deal with it. I'm not a religious person really, but I do like that phrase about Life or God giving you what you can handle. We can handle it or give up. You tackle all of your projects with preparation, thought, humor and a big heart.

If you decide to have a child, you'll do the same as well. Sure, some days will be crazy, but you can put the baby in a crib and walk away for a few minutes. (That's what the doctor told my friend who had a baby and suffers from anxiety/panic stuff).

In AA and stuff, they say, "One day at a time". For real, that does work. Otherwise, it's so easy to snowball and get overwhelmed.

Not to freak you out, but anything can happen to the people who are already born too, our spouses, our folks, our loved ones. Whether it is disease or depression or accidents. We just have to believe in ourselves and keep truckin'.

Good grief, someone is trying to make the work day go faster. I'm writing alot b/c I care about you, but also because I think this stuff is on my mind too. Oh, and I WILL see you on the 22nd, Mike's opening is THIS Wed not next week :) xoxo

Mindy said...

Thanks for the honest, thoughtful response, Marissa. You're right. Nothing is certain, and people deal with the lot they are given. I tend to over-think the unknown, and this area is foreign to me, in spite of/because of the bubble of babies that seems to be surrounding me. Since I'm living as a housewife now during my job search, I find myself wondering what it would be like to have a child in this situation. Not to mention that Hoboken is ripe (fertile!) with the number of babies and strollers growing on the streets like weeds.