On Social Media we constantly get bombarded with articles, quotes and images of ‘what it means to parent’, where the baseline mostly comes down to “children ruined my life but it’s the best thing ever that happened to me”. That last bit being a single sentence in a page long rant on how awful it is to be a parent. The other day I came across one such article something like “15 quotes which sum up parenting”. Each quote would point out something awful but then give it a quirky twist that makes it all ‘alright again’. Many of these “awful points” revolve around how we treat our children and the lifestyle we impose on them. Think ‘going to sleep at x time’, ‘having to eat what we feed you’, ‘not taking children serious when they throw a tantrum’, etc. When we follow and enforce a particular parenting lifestyle that over and over and over again brings us to a point of conflict – not only for ourselves, but our children too – shouldn’t we stop for a moment and question what we are doing? Shouldn’t we for a moment stop and check of there’s an alternative? If parenting is a life ruining mission, then something’s wrong. Whenever I find myself in a position of wanting to “fight” my toddler, I know I am looking at the situation from a skewed perspective – and need to consider all the angles available to me. Doesn’t mean that parenting isn’t tough – it takes a lot to dedicate yourself to the life of another person who is much less capable than you. But when it sucks all way around and the only consolation is that it sucks for others as well — we really need to have a look at what we are doing.
Here’s my boy team taking off laundry as it looks like a storm may be passing through. Cesar loves being in charge of the peg bag and handing out or putting back the pegs. If he sees someone going off to hang some laundry he will spot the peg bag and come running making sputtering sounds signaling to “wait for me!!”
Cesar has helped me to reconsider what I think is ‘work’ and what is ‘play’. He enjoys dancing just as much as helping with dishes. In the end – they are not much different. It’s you moving your limbs around. Yet somehow the one type of moving your limbs around is ‘more fun’ than others. Who decided that? In the end it’s all the same = you moving your body. Doing dishes can be just as fun as dancing if you put awareness in your body and are present with every touch and splash. It can have the same therapeutic qualities and give you a grounding workout to the likes of tao chi. When simple physical tasks are considered work, we really have to ask ourselves : are we in our body or stuck in our heads?
Cesar being super excited about his bath. I very rarely take a shower or bath on my own. Cesar enjoys showers and baths so much, it seems to be kind of pointless to exclude him when we can have fun together. In the beginning it was a bit more difficult when his mobility was limited, but now I wash him and he washes me. He hand me my shampoo bottle, my brush. He operates the shower head for me and pours water over my back in the gentlest way – and then we take turns. He also brings me toilet paper and will flush the toilet for me. He gets me a new roll of toilet paper in my hour of need as someone forgot to replace the roll. While for some it may seem inconceivable to have your child around you pretty much all the time since birth and participate in all the things you do – they learn so much and it becomes such an enjoyable relationship and experience for the both, making life so much lighter and easy going.
This post is a continuation to ‘Crap. I’m Pregnant’.
At the end of the post I said I would be looking into some of the reactions and my experience within finding out that I was pregnant.
So the most predominant experience around finding out that I was pregnant was a definitive negative one. I immediately started reasoning with myself why I could not be pregnant as a way to cope and avoid the possibility of pregnancy.
Then when I found out I was pregnant, I remember cutting the lawn on our little riding grass mower, where I had to constantly pull myself out of thoughts of ‘Fuuuck, I am pregnant!!! WTF!!!’ to focusing on the task at hand and not ending up getting stuck in a hole or ditch.
After some time went by and had had the time to process this reality change, I started looking at this negative/bad experience and where it comes from. Because looking at it in a more calm state of mind, looking at the concept of ‘pregnancy’ – there’s nothing intrinsically ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ about it; which meant that at some point (or several points) throughout my life, I had created an interpretation about pregnancy which was emotionally loaded. This is now where I had already made the decision to go through with pregnancy, and obviously, I didn’t want this negative emotional experience to be running in the background while I am pregnant – I want to celebrate and enjoy pregnancy as the life-bearing and creating event that it is.
So when I looked a bit deeper into the emotion experience, I saw that – fascinatingly enough – a lot of moments and snapshots came up from movies, series as well as memories of friends and family (though mostly jokes).
In terms of series and movies, these were mostly high school/college related, where someone gets pregnant really young and this is then REALLY BAD NEWS. Since I am 22 going on 23, I consider myself ‘very young’, especially since I don’t feel much older than when I was 16….
Within this perception, where I have labelled myself as ‘young’; I immediately created the connection that ‘young’ + ‘pregnant’ = bad.
Then in terms of friends and family, there had been occasions where I had to share some ‘bad news’ where the joking response was ‘you’re not pregnant are you’ – again reconfirming the idea that pregnancy = bad.
Because I had already created a judgment about pregnancy and babies, kind of made it a ‘taboo’ subject inside my mind – I had never really explored who I am in relation to pregnancy/babies or who I would like to be.
So when I found out that I am actually pregnant and this shit is happening for real – I drew from the only information I had stored inside myself, and went into a negative experience and reaction about it.
Looking at this information inside myself and seeing how I had created this experience around pregnancy was cool, because now I could simply decide to let go of this experience, as this was not how I wanted to live my days being pregnant.
It started with being late.
Both me and my sister were late though and the other person whose part of our ‘joint’ menstrual cycle was also have some ‘discrepancies’. I had gotten all my pre-menstruation signs: some pimples on my face, chocolate craving, some nausea here and there – but no bleeding.
So the days went by and the days became a week and now I was starting to become a bit concerned. Was I maybe pregnant? Nah, my sister was also late – there was probably some reasonable explanation for this. The seasons were changing, so maybe it had something to do with that, yes, yes, it MUST be the season change…
And then my sister got her periods and she usually gets them just a bit after me so now I was getting a bit anxious. Now I seriously started to worry. Am I pregnant? Or is my cycle messed up? Not knowing was frustrating. The other day when I was at the shops with my partner I had jokingly mentioned that we should get a pregnancy test because I was late. The next day he texted me as he was going to work to ask if he shouldn’t just buy one – and I said yes. That day was weird because I was constantly shifting from Am? Or I am not? And I basically didn’t know so I had to keep on snapping myself out of it and get back to a point of ‘there’s no point worrying, just have to wait and see’.
Then he came back in the evening and I found the test in his bag and started reading the instructions and so on. It was recommended to do the test in the morning, as in the early stages the hormone the kit tests for might still be at very low levels and so it would have a better chance of picking it up in the morning as the hormone would accumulate in your pee overnight.
So I set my alarm for a bit earlier to do the testing procedure. I woke up and quickly took the kit and went to the bathroom, went over the instructions one more time and then peed on the strip. I waited for a few minutes which seemed to take forever and nothing showed up. I was a bit relieved, like Phew, ok the test went wrong, I can still NOT be pregnant. And then I looked at the strip again and there out of ‘nowhere’ two faint pink stripes started appearing slowly but surely. I remember reading that no matter how faint, a second line would indicate a positive.
This happened all so unexpectedly, against all odds ….and yet here was the pregnancy strip staring at me with two pink stripes: I am pregnant. Uh Oh.
A weird sensation went through my body but other than that I was pretty okay – there was nothing I could do except for adapt to the situation.
I was sitting on the toilet looking at the strip and thinking ‘I am not prepared for this’. Then I looked at the point and placed myself in different contexts, like in the future and having planned for a pregnancy and finding out I am pregnant and I realised: I would still not have been prepared and I would have still had the same response. There’s not really a way that you can ‘prepare’ yourself for a first pregnancy. You can read a lot of books, magazines and articles and talk to people – but when the realization hits you that there’s a little someone growing inside you and that it’s actually happening; that = you can’t prepare yourself for. This is something you just have to walk and take moment by moment and day by day.
So I left the bathroom and went to wake up my partner, shaking him and when I’d see his eyes go open I went ‘the test was positive’. I wasn’t sure how he would respond to this information so I was kind of concerned and reserved as I said it and just wanted to see how he would react. He was immediately awake and went ‘What? How did this happen?!’. But then I think he realised how what he said was coming over and his face immediately changed and he was very calm and just said ‘okay, what now?. Because it was morning and our morning schedules run quite fast in terms of one thing happening after the other and him going off to work soon I said we’d go talk to some else later in the evening and get some perspective.
So now I knew I was pregnant but now there was a new question: where do we go from here? Do we embrace this point and continue the pregnancy or do we terminate it? So those were the two questions bugging me that day lol. I tried to keep myself as busy as possible physically so I wouldn’t torture myself with these questions.
I did look at both points and considering the pros and contras of each to see what decision to make. But since it was still going to be awhile before my partner would be home I tried to leave it as much as possible. So then my partner came home and I indicated that I wanted to talk first in our room about this before speaking to someone else. We hadn’t really talked about children before – for myself I figured we’d have kids after I was done with my studies and would have more time and assumed that my partner kind of expected the same. I knew we’d have kids because we could both see that it makes sense to bring children into this world and to raise them according to principles that you want to see being lived in the world.
So I said, let’s have “that” talk – the talk about kids that we had not yet had before. The point is here so let’s open it up, share our perspectives and see what comes out of it. So I shared my side where I was basically more coming from a concern of it being ‘bad timing’ and not having expected for this to happen so soon – which he agreed, but then we also agreed that we were going to do this at some stage anyway, and it had presented itself right here, right now…so why not? And then I asked like, do you want to have a kid and he said ‘yes’ and he asked me and I said ‘yes’ so okay, now we know we are cool with both options. The conversation itself was quite funny because here we were now, laying/sitting on the bed talking about babies and kids and I hadn’t expected myself to have that conversation any time soon, I mean, babies – at least human ones – wasn’t really part of reality on the farm I live in, so it wasn’t like it would ‘come up’ as a point often to look at. Anyway, so we had a laugh at the whole situation but we were both quite happy about what opened up and having clarity from both sides on where we stand. And so we went off to talk to talk to a friend which had always been a much valued counsellor in any matter, who would always voice his perspective even though it wasn’t always what we’d want to hear.
So we went to talk to him and he was pretty much like ‘yea I already saw it coming’ and ‘it was inevitable’ and not really showing any sign of being surprised lol –he’s kind of like that, no matter what you say to him or what news you bring (and how nervous you might be about it) he just kind of takes in the new information, re-calibrates the variables and responds in such a down to earth manner as if you’d just let him know something about the weather .
So we went over the points and we got to the point where we agreed that the support is here in terms of the our living environment and financials, and that we have everything in place to be able to do this, so why not? I cried a bit because I was a bit scared, as in actually deciding on it really made the reality of the situation settle in – the point of ‘being a mother’ was like alien to me so I had to get passed that initial shock response and then I saw I was actually quite happy and excited about the whole thing and so the decision was made and people were informed and plans were put in place.
Within this whole event it was quite interesting to see how things developed and where I myself had always seen ‘pregnancy’ and ‘being pregnant’ as some form of ‘nightmare situation’ – which was quite clear in terms of how I responded to my periods being late and actually finding out that I was pregnant – it hadn’t been a pleasant experience. And I remember looking at it, and asking myself like, why am I being so worried and basically ‘negative’ about it – where does this come from?
And then the contrast of actually talking to my partner and talking to other people and simply embracing and being excited about it afterwards felt really ‘natural’ in terms of ‘this is how it’s supposed to be’ and I didn’t get why I had made such a big deal about it in my head previously.
As I was busy writing this blog, I also had massive reactions towards whenever typing the word ‘mother’ – and I almost had a gag reflexes going on as I was typing M-o-t-h-e-r. So this distinctively negative experience and reaction to the word is something I want to investigate for myself and see how I can change my relationship and attitude towards the word mother, and so being a mother myself.