Sunday, November 28, 2010

Just for the record...

....I feel humongous.

I know it only gets "better" (bigger), but I feel humongous. I guess I better take my week 18 Belly Shots and post them.....

Saturday, November 27, 2010

We all have a little bit of worry, don't we?

I have had some wonderful conversations and responses to the post about worry. I believe it is something we can all connect to, and so it inspires an urge to respond. Dear friend Claire ( with a song I can sing to myself and Peach...Claire says....

"Now I walk in beauty
Beauty is before me
Beauty is behind me,
Above and below me. . .

You know this song?  So, hold yourself and the baber in beauty.  All will be well....."

Now don't let the worry be over-stated. There is so so much happy anticipation with this pregnancy! And there is also worry.

So, back to this idea of being effective with one's worry. First and foremost for me is to bring a mindfulness framework to the worry. Be a witness rather than a judge to my worry: "Oh, interesting, there I go worrying again...funny me...." Second, as I said earlier, exaggeration and humor: "Oh, Mark, what if Peach has Down Syndrome? Or, or, what if she has two heads? Does that mean she'll talk back twice as much???!" And third, worry can be motivating. I don't think I wrote about this a few days ago and yet it is essential to worry having any chance of being effective. Worry can motivate behavior change, it can motivate shifts in one's thinking and beliefs, and it can motivate gathering of important and useful information when face to face with a worry, an unknown. For example, I worry about having a baby with Down Syndrome, or a baby with two heads. So, what have I done? I am religious about pre-natal vitamins, I am exercsing like a fiend, I am eating well, and it was a piece of cake to kick my crack habit cold turkey :) And it has been just wonderful to be alcohol and caffeine-free for months now. So, these worries have been extremely effective in motivating me. I wish I could be as consistently dedicated to myself as I am to Peach! Maybe I just need a little more worry :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ready or not, here Peach comes!

I am reading a lovely and helpful book. It's called Birthing from Within. As you can imagine, it's about the inner musings and tumblings and preparations that go along with pregnancy and childbirth. 

"Worry is the work of pregnancy," says this book. Phew. So I don't have to act like this is just pure happiness, bliss and joy? Good, because it's not. 

And I have a lot of worries. The trick seems to be in how to be effective in one's worrying. In my efforts toward being effective, what I'm trying to do with my worries--with my life-- these days is to notice the worry, acknowledge it's existence, watch it float by, and conjure up some humor about that particular worry. Sometimes it helps me to exaggerate the worry as a way of finding the humor and finding some peace. 

The worries of readiness...........

Am I ready for this? I sure as hell better be in some form of readiness because I'm 18 weeks along with (maybe) 22 to go before Peach pokes her little head out from between my legs--¡Hola, he llegado! ¿Está usted listo???

I am ready! I've wanted this for several years now and Mark and I did a lot of talking and (not talking) and walking and thinking and loving and (not loving) and struggling and questioning and!

I am not ready! What if, what if, what if Peach has something terribly wrong with her? What if the scans, the screens, the ultrasounds have missed something and we're about to embark on a lifetime of caring for a somehow-very-intensively-needy-human? 

I am ready! I am already absolutely accustomed to minimal sleep with many interruptions. I've learned to be at peace with frequent insomnia. And now that Teacup is in her later years, she's waking us up every few hours for something or another. No problem. Bring on the sleep deprivation!

I am not ready! What if, what if, what if I die in labor? It happens, you know. 

I am ready! Oh boy, as a sensitive and compassionate human being, I already know too well the struggles and even sadness and hardship that children and infants bring in to people's lives. I see it, I feel it, I carry more than my own fair share of that emotional burden. And so what I will drink up even more than the more difficult side is the joyful side of all of this adventure--ready to laugh and be curious and make mistakes with my beloved Mark.

I am not ready! What if, what if, what if I gain 100 pounds during pregnancy like that story I heard, and I can never lose it, like other stories I've heard? This letting go of the body is a tough one for me. I'm scared of the change and the unknown. 

I am ready! In her passing this summer, our dearest Glory Dog gave Mark and I very clear directions about how to love and be in the moment and live life with love and intention. She has been our guide and she will continue to be our guide. Peach will know Glory because of the lessons she has taught Mark and I that will make us more loving and deliberate parents. 

So I will keep worrying, probably until I die. Hopefully effective worry, at least most of the time!

Here are some pictures of Glory Dog and the Mighty Teacup, the teachers of the parents, Melissa and Mark. 

Glory and Teacup winter 2009 at their retirement home in Boulder, CO.

The Glorious Dog. 

The mighty mighty Teacup.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gender Splendor


We are overjoyed to find out that you are a girl! 

Truth be told, we'd be overjoyed with news of your boyhood as well. So let that be your welcome---we consider you perfect no matter what you bring into the complicated world of gender. At the ultrasound last week when we found out you were a girl, the doctor jokingly told us that yes, you are indeed a girl, but that he could not guarantee how you act when you are twenty. Well, I look forward to the curious adventure of watching you evolve in every way, including gender. 

Now that we know you are a girl, your Papa and I are imagining some more specific ways that it will be fun to be with you, to guide (and follow!) you, to offer you a roadmap that we have developed in our own lives regarding girls, girlpower, and yes, I'm going to say it---empowerment. We are having fun imagining teaching you the things we learned and taught at Girls LEAP ( back in Boston as well as at Impact ( both in Boston and now here in Colorado. At both of these organizations, I have taught girls and women about setting limits, about speaking up, about defending themselves. I have loved--really loved--being with girls in this setting. It has meant the world to me to be part of a process of girls coming to love and trust their bodies and their voices. It is a process of true exuberance. It is joy. 

I've had more than my share of musings on gender oppression (I won't make you read my masters thesis from Goddard, Peach!) and I feel happy to say that I am comfortable with the model I can offer you for a woman who can and does use her voice, a woman who walks with confidence, a woman who will not be silent. I bet we'll have some fun, Peach. I'll teach you and I'll learn from you. Seems like a pretty splendid deal to me. 

And you are learning some "moves" already! My sensei has said that he'll be happy to have me keep coming to karate class right up until labor---I just can't spar anymore. So I've been going to class faithfully and it's fun to know that you are by now actually hearing and experiencing my loud "kia!" from inside! 

Here are some pictures of me and Deborah Weaver, the founder and director of Girls LEAP. Deborah is a dear friend who I hope you will meet someday. She is powerful and kind. She is a sister. To me and perhaps someday to you.

Worked with Deborah for 7 years with Girls LEAP.

Deborah was a mentor, friend, boss, role model. 

Here we are modeling our "strong stance" and our "no!"

And here Papa and I are just hassling Deborah a bit.  Now, Peach really couldn't go wrong if
she got my leg strength and Mark's smile, eh?

In the words of Robin Morgan, Sisterhood is Powerful. Indeed. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

For those of you far away....

Several friends have asked for Belly Shots. At first I found this idea a bit frightening.....appalling even. What? Expose my weird body to the world? Well, wake up, Melissa. Welcome to the digital age. Don't I know that we live in a culture of images? Of fascination with bodies? All my years of trying to be a radical feminist have left me boxed in to certain ideas about how our society OUGHT to relate to a woman's body. Well, here I am at 17 weeks and 1 day. Not much time to write at the moment, but wanted to post a few Belly Shots for those of you far away who won't see me pregnant.

I think this is going to be fun.....stay tuned as I get more adept and courageous with the camera.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sing a song to help the babes along

Dear Peach,

I enjoyed our run together this morning. I look forward to a lifetime of those with you in many forms---now with you inside me, eventually with you in a jogger, later on maybe you'll enjoy it as a youngster, and then eventually the fun of watching you run far faster than what I'll be able to do as we grow up and older together. I'm not a young mother and I see quite clearly how this process will be one of continually handing off the baton to you. "You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth." I will be your bow, joyfully, and I'll send you forth, with love, and with my own fair share of worry and faith.

Worry and faith. I realize as I nurture you deep inside my belly that I would already lay down on the tracks for you, Peach. Funny, one of my pregnancy books says that if I met a proportioned 6 foot version of you in a dark alley, I'd scream and run the other way. OK, so maybe you aren't so cute yet with your paper-thin skin and your eyes on the sides of your head. But I'm in love with you already and am holding a tremendous amount of love and intention for you. I want to sing you into this world with joy. So, Mark and I started our ritual of singing to you a few days ago. We know that soon you'll be able to hear us. We'd been talking about wanting to sing to you and talk to you directly and we wanted to pick out a few specific songs that would become "standards" that you will grow to love. What finally prompted us to get to it and pick out some songs was the fact that I needed to sing not only for you, Peach, but for other babies. See, tragedy strikes many babes, and I see it firsthand when I go to work and visit with parents who have infants. This week, I learned that a baby I'd held and loved was shaken to death by his father. Insane and unfathomable. Almost enough for me to say I can't do the work anymore. That night I needed to sing a song to offer my contribution to bridge that baby's soul onto rest and safety. Singing songs to help the babes along, to help you, Peach, to feel comfort in the womb, and to help my lost friend find his way to the other side. We sang three songs-- "The Trees of the Field" (a traditional hymn but I go by the lovely folk version by Annie Blood Patterson) and we also sang a traditional goodnight song that I know the Grateful Dead cover and we also sang "Free to Be You and Me". The "trees" song was the final song at mine and Mark's wedding--sweet and fun and joyful---necessary ingredients for holding the complexities of this life! 

Last note--Peach, a couple of weeks ago, you got to attend the 10 year wedding anniversary celebration of your Papa and I. A dozen friends gathered 'round us and witnessed a renewal of our vows to each other. Your presence was felt, as our friends commented on how the next decade of marriage will be quite different from the first, namely because we will be spending a lot of time with you! Our friends are delighted that you are joining us. We sang the "trees" song. I hope it will be one of your favorites. 

Here are pictures from the anniversary celebration. Can you tell that you are inside me, Peach? You are now 15 weeks old and you are certainly making my pants fit more tightly!

Mama and Papa

Mama and Papa

Mama and Papa

Our devoted witnesses to the vow renewal

Mama and two very special girlfriends. The one on the left is Sarah. She gave us the beautiful little infant "milagro" from South America to help Mama and Papa conceive. It worked! The one on the 
right is Lisa. She is going to be at your birth, Peach. She is a beloved friend who is guaranteed to 
be the best auntie EVER.