I have three countdowns on my desktop.
1) A countdown to finding out the baby's gender. Currently sitting at 6 days 3 hours 45 minutes and 42 seconds.
2) A countdown to closing on our house we are selling and the house we are buying. A.k.a. MOVING DAY. Currently sitting at 12 days 22 hours 44 minutes and 47 seconds.
3) A countdown to the birth of our little one. Currently sitting at 4 months 21 days 10 hours 43 minutes and 29 seconds. (but then only one person really knows on this one, and he ain't talkin!)
Some days these countdowns seem like A LONG TIME AWAY. Other days they seem frighteningly close. My assistant told me yesterday, "Just think about it. If you save a penny a day, you will only have a $1.43 when the baby is born."
There are things for which I wish I had a countdown. Like a countdown to the first real kick. I have been feeling the baby move, but not a good solid elbow or forearm or judo chop.
How about a countdown to the first smile. Or the day I master breastfeeding. Or to the day when our new house really feels like home.
Lately, I feel like all I do is wait. And when I wait...I worry. So I have to find distractions.
Currently, my biggest distraction is BabyCenter.com. Some for the articles. But mostly....
FOR THE CRAZY PREGNANT WOMEN!
You have not seen hormones until you see a bunch of pregnant women at the same stage of pregnancy typing away on an internet forum to people that they know they will never have to actually meet or talk to in person.
Holy Cat Fight, Batman!
Here are some surprising topics that you may not realize cause pregnant women to LOSE THEIR MINDS:
1) To circumcise or not to circumcise.
Oddly this seemingly completely arbitrary choice causes pregnant women to become completely enraged at one another. If you are planning to circumcise your son, then you are a foreskin murderer with no regard for your son's personal wishes or the way nature intended his body to be. You are dooming him to a life of desensitized sex and, the best one I heard yesterday, "he will never be able to walk naked through the woods like his ancestors, without fear of branches or animals hiding in tall grasses."
Yes. That is a quote.
If you are planning to leave your son intact, then you are a lazy, hippy, tree hugging mother who will have a son who will constantly smell, get infections, and no woman will ever want to touch him. You are dooming your son to a life of locker room ridicule and giving every person he sleeps with a yeast infection and aids.
At the end of the day, whichever study you want to stand behind, there are pros and cons to either decision. Pick one and calm down.
Here is another one, where you are darned if you do and darned if you don't. The pressure to breastfeed is something that comes from all directions. Parents. Grandparents. Medical professionals. Magazines. Television. And the upstanding ladies on BabyCenter.com.
Here's how this one breaks down.
If you breastfeed then you are hippy.
If you don't breastfeed then you are the devil.
If you tried to breastfeed and failed, then you were not trying hard enough.
Breastfeeding is a completely personal choice and I know plenty of people who were not breastfed and turned out perfectly fine. (i.e. my wonderful self) I also happen to know people who were breastfed and have a host of medical problems. (i.e. my DH who was breastfed until he was like 2!)
It is indisputable that breastfeeding is beneficial to newborns and infants. It is also indisputable that human milk can never be completely replicated by even the most expensive commercial formula. That being said, it is also not the end of the world when someone can't or chooses not to breastfeed. If breastfeeding is going to become a source of stress and anxiety for mommy then I think that inhibits the ability to successfully bond with baby, and then aren't you really doing more harm than good?
I am going to give breastfeeding the good old college try, but the minute things start going south I am slapping that formula bottle in the kids mouth and calling it a day. Period.
3) SAHM or WM
For those of you not well acquainted with tech-mom speak, SAHM = Stay at home mom and WM = Working mom.
I am a feminist. I am what is called a social feminist. I believe that all roles that men and women play should be equally valued. A woman's role as a contributing member to the workforce is just as valuable as a woman's role as a good mommy. These are certainly not mutually exclusive roles to play. And by the year 2009, I would have thought that most people would be on board with me.....
but I was wrong.
The amount of stones being thrown at working moms in this forum is unbelievable. People quote all sorts of notables in their arguments: Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura, Rush Limbaugh.
You know. Experts.
They say that working moms are selfish. That you should be willing to adjust your lifestyle to be with your kids. That your kids will be irreparably harmed by your absence. That it would be better to be on welfare...to live in a two bedroom apartment...to not have pets....to use food stamps....to use WIC...to live with other family members....to buy your kids clothes at Goodwill.....on and on and on......
The language used is very telling. "Dumping your kids at daycare." "Having your kids raised by strangers." etc.
I hardly think that given the amount of time, research, and energy that most women put into finding childcare that it could be considered "dumping" or "strangers". It is simply not economically feasible for some women to work. Period.
If I could stay home, I would.
So, I will find the best childcare I can possibly afford and when I am with my babies I will lavish all the love and attention I have stored up in my body to make up for the time I spend away.
And no one is going to make me feel guilty for that.
Which is really where all of this comes from.
Guilt and fear.
Mothers are held to an impossible standard. We are endowed with the unrelenting weight of creating human beings that will thrive and flourish in the world. We are creators. That is a big deal.
So, I guess it is natural that we get overly defensive of our positions on those questions that have no good answers. Because we desperately want reassurance that we are right. Because God help us if we are wrong.
How will I come out on the other side?