Her Bad Mother

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fear And Hope And Love, Oh My

My first pregnancy was - for the first six months - a long gauntlet-run of fear and anxiety. I started bleeding about seven weeks in, and this continued off-and-on until well into the second trimester. I was on permanent miscarriage watch, and spent a great deal of my time in a state of confused terror, never sure when the bleeding would increase, when I would have to go back to the hospital, when I would have to hold my breath and wait for the doctor to search out the heartbeat and tell me that she had no idea what was happening.

I both hated and depended upon my visits to the doctor. Hated, because they were visits motivated by fear. Depended upon, because they represented the only sure place of safety: there, I received my only reassurances in the form of the delicate pulse of the heartbeat, thrumming through the monitor. There, there was always a heart beat. Despite the bleak hormone tests, despite the ever-present blood, there was always a heartbeat breaking the silence of those the cold, bright rooms.

I have my first full prenatal assessment today, and I'm scared. But I'm also counting down the minutes, tapping my feet anxiously, waiting for the moment when they tell me - and they will tell me, they must tell me - everything's okay.


In the meantime, there's a world that needs saving. Or, at least, a world that needs looking out for. A world in which mothers and children need looking out for. So I'm directing my spare energies to those matters, and pushing the worrying aside.

First, I'm throwing all of my available superpowers into the causes of The League Of Maternal Justice, a vigilante effort to right the wrongs perpetrated upon mothers. First Mission: shame Facebook for policies that discriminate against breastfeeding mothers (that is, their insistence that breastfeeding photos violate their standars of decency, while pro-anorexia materials and pics of half-naked pop tarts do not). Second Mission: the Great Breast Fest, an Internet-wide virtual nurse-in and celebration of all things booby, to empower women to be proud of what nature gave them. You've got superpowers, too - boob-powers, heart-powers, MOM-powers (and Dad-powers) - so please... join in.

Second, I'm using all of my available ordinary powers - waking up and walking, primarily - to support my nephew, who has Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy. I'll be getting up before dawn this coming Sunday to walk the 5 kilometre Charity Challenge. I won't, however, be doing it alone - I'm going to have some wonderful, wonderful friends walking with me, friends who have helped me raise over $2000 (and counting - you can still pledge the cause) so far. And there's a long list of more wonderful, wonderful friends - too long to note here, but who will be counted in Tanner's Super Friends Hall of Fame, coming soon - who have helped from afar by sending dollars and good wishes. I'm indebted to all of you.

(If you're in or around the Toronto area, you're still welcome to join us, either for the early morning walk or to help me cheer my sister - who is running the Toronto Waterfront marathon, of which the Charity Challenge is an adjunct event - later that morning. Just send me an e-mail or leave a comment and I'll get you the details.)

Ready. Set. Go.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Swimmer

The first time that you do it, it's like taking a long jump off of a short pier into unfamiliar waters.

Maybe it was something that you always wanted to do. Maybe you were enticed by the sight of all those other swimmers, out there in the water, swimming toward distant shores. Maybe you got too close to the end of the pier, and slipped. Somehow, you got in that water, and when you did, you didn't know what to expect.

You didn't know what to expect, and so you were surprised by how quickly the current moved, by how turbulent the waters could be, by how hard the waves pushed. But you put your head down, and swam and swam and swam toward the far-off shore, and sometimes you even enjoyed the cool of the water and the feeling that you had become, somehow, another being, another species, and the sweet freedom of just bobbing along when the waters were still, of taking the journey slowly, even as you yearned for its end.

And then you arrived, at your once-far-off shore, and you were new and life was new and you looked back across the waters and couldn't believe how far you'd come, how distant was that pier.

You can't even remember what it felt like to take that leap, what it felt like to hit that water.

But you do remember the long, long swim, and how it was sometimes dark and cold and turbulent and frightening. And so it took you a long time to jump back in. If you really did jump, that is. You were pretty close to the edge, so close that the jump was inevitable, but still. Maybe you slipped.

Now you're in the water, and you know exactly what the long swim ahead feels like, you know all about the waves and the current and the cold and the fear and you're scared. Happy, too, of course, and excited, to be pursuing this adventure again. But still, scared.

You take a deep breath, and plunge ahead. The shore awaits.

A shore worth reaching.

Monday, September 24, 2007

THEIR Bad Mother

(It's early days, but I'm sharing anyway. Because so many of you figured out that my anniversary message to my husband was coded. Also, because it's all that I can think about, and how am I not supposed to write about it? Also, because our realtor knows, and if he knows, why shouldn't you?)