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Mirror Mirror on the wall

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May. 14th, 2006 | 12:02 am

When I look in the mirror now, I have trouble connecting "myself" with the person I see. In my head, I'm still a kid. It's startling to see a face and body that look so much like my mother.

Dave sent flowers a week or so ago just because, and I wanted to send him a picture of me and the flowers to say thank you. My mom took some pictures, but I haven't sent any. I'm having trouble accepting that the body I see in those pictures is really my body -- I want to hold out for a picture where I don't look like a great blue whale. Of course, between now and the time when I see him, I'm only going to get bigger. So I better go ahead and send the whale pictures, so he can recognize me when I pick him up at the airport. But if I'm having trouble accepting this body as mine, it seems like it will be so much harder for him, since he hasn't had time to get used to it gradually.

Strange mix of emotions. It is an absolute marvel to me that my body is able to support this life. I love to feel him/her moving inside of me (as he/she is doing right now). I am fascinated by the undulations in my belly -- they're better than fireworks. Sometimes at work, he/she will start kicking, and I have to pause to just look down and watch my belly move. When he/she first started moving, it felt like someone was microwaving popcorn inside of me -- little taps and pops. But now I feel rolls, pushes, turns, shoves -- I can look down and see something bulging off the left side of my belly-button. I like to press with my open palm and guess -- what is that? Your foot? Your knee? I love it. I'll miss it when he/she is outside of me.

And yet this changed body seems to be final proof that I'm not young anymore; I'm heavy; life's heavy . . . big responsibilities ahead.

I studied for three years to become a lawyer; I had to pass a background check and sit for a long and stressful exam. But now I'm heading for a more important job, and I feel completely unprepared. No training, no licensing. I almost wish someone would sit me down for a test and say, "Yep, you pass, you're qualified to be a mother." That might give me a little more confidence.

Because I want to breastfeed, I'm supposed to ask for the baby to "room in" with me. But it terrifies me that this little life will be left to my care when I feel so incompetent. Infants scare me. When my friends or my mom's friends have newborns and say, "Do you want to hold him/her?" I usually try to say no. And now I'll have one of my own.

I'm afraid even though we planned for this baby; even though I wanted a child more than anything else; even though I know logically that I must be more prepared for these responsibilities than the kids who have babies when they're in their early teens themselves. The stories of women leaving their babies in dumpsters hit me much harder now -- I am horrified that someone could abandon a life that minutes before was growing inside them, but I have a much stronger understanding of their urge to flee.

I had a dream last night that might be connected to these baby fears. I was in an airplane with Dave and we were supposed to sky dive. The plane was passing where we were supposed to jump, but I wouldn't go. "I don't know where to find the cord that I'm supposed to pull to make the chute come out!" I told Dave. He explained that I didn't need to pull any cord -- the chute would deploy automatically. "But my pack is loose -- it's going to fall off!" He tightened the straps and pulled the pack closer to my back and shoulders. The plane circled back for another pass. He jumped, then I jumped. We landed in the water. Maybe this would be a crisis in real life, but in my dream, this is where we were supposed to land. The chutes somehow disappeared and we swam to shore. We made it.

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Comments {2}

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from: anonymous
date: May. 14th, 2006 10:12 pm (UTC)
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All concerns aside, Happy Mother's Day. I know you're going to be a great one.
BA

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from: anonymous
date: May. 29th, 2006 03:17 pm (UTC)
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Everyone goes through those same feelings... I know I did! And I still do. Before I had my daughter, I had never even changed a diaper! You'll be surprised how much comes naturally. :)

-Ashley-

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