This baby is precious. He is cute and cuddly, sweet and wise. Every moment is incredibly challenging and such a gift.
Today has been my first day home alone with Abraham. David is at work, the big kids are at school and with their mom, the parents have all gone home.
We took a walk, he slept while I ate lunch, I gave him a bath, a friend came by for a bit. And he nursed, a lot.
Tomorrow will be roughly the same. And so on. It is precious to be able to take this time with him.
I have also had time to think and remember. What my life was like before: last month, last year, 5 years ago. So much has changed, so much is so good.
In an effort to break the silence, I decided to tell Abraham about his family while he nurses – I started today with Grandpa, who he is named for. I think he was listening.
We’ll see what tomorrow brings, what adventures and stories.
When I worked at Touchstone Theatre, Ysaye M. Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock came to work on a community project, gathering songs and stories from the African American community in the area. She is an inspiration musically, communally, and personally.
I was just doing some research on creative additions to the Brit Milah (ritual circumcision) and came across a Kahlil Gibran poem that she put to music. It is beautiful, but more something I’d give myself rather than give my son.
I was struck more than anything on the cycles of life. How this lifecycle event (my child’s bris) put my memory back to my work at Touchstone and with Ysaye. I begin my official work writing a play tomorrow, January 1, to fulfill my obligations for the grant I received. I want to get The Reading Theater Project up and moving again, even if in baby steps. The religious school I run needs a lot of creative and leadership support right now. And I’m going to have a baby any day now.
I could use a little creative inspiration right now. I need to find my creative voice anew, as a mother, as a stay-at-home whatever I am, as an independent artist, as a leader.
If the inspiration comes from the memory of working with a brilliant African-American woman and her music, all the better I say. We are all connected, all the same, despite our differences.
Perhaps I am more conservative than I care to admit. I’m not a huge fan of the secularization of Christmas, and I’m Jewish. I don’t like decorating holidays, and I don’t like giving presents because I HAVE to.
David and I were having a conversation about this (his family, Jewish, always did Christmas as a time to get together and exchange gifts, even though they lit candles for Hanukah), and I pulled out “We need to put the Christ back in Christmas” and “Happy Holidays is what the Terrorists say” (which I stole from 30 Rock).
But my favorite Holiday is Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement, of reflection, of fasting from the comforts of life).
But seriously, I prefer holidays with meaning. For me, decorating is not meaningful – it is a big mess.
BUT, Christmas is my anniversary. David and I got married 2 years ago. Time has flown by, and we feel like we’ve known each other forever. So in that way, I like it.
Twas the night before Christmas…
And I’m relaxing in bed a bit. I already ate breakfast at 4am – I’ve been getting super hungry in the very early morning hours. Perhaps I am turning into a newborn before my new one is even born?!
I’m thinking about the word “twas” because so many things are turning into twas-es for me. On Monday, I went to my last yoga class for a while. On Tuesday, I taught my last Neighborhood Bridges class for a while. And one of these days, pretty soon now, I’ll have my last day as a pregnant woman. And my first day as a Bio-Mom.
I never thought I would have to specify Bio-Mom, but it turns out being a step-mom is really important to me. There are two children at my house right now, as they are half of their time, who count on me as a parent. Not their Mom, but another parent. Going from half time to full time, from step to step and bio, from kids to baby – we are all so excited for these changes. But we also don’t really know what to expect.
When David and I got married (our anniversary is tomorrow! Happy Christmas!), we spent a lot of time prepping the kids for the wedding and forgot to prep them for the rest of life together. We all got used to it eventually, pretty quickly actually, and we really feel like a family now. With the baby, we’ve been prepping them for life with a baby, not just the pregnancy and birth (don’t worry, they won’t be there for the birth…).
I think we are all as ready as we can be. But I think once he is born, we will, if even in a small way, miss our time together as 4, the way i’twas.
38 weeks and counting...
I’ve mentioned it before, but one of my favorite blogs is Motherlode, written by Lisa Belkin for the New York Times. She always posts good stories or provocations. A recent one was from a blog called 22 Words:
1. Would you want to be your child?
2. If not, how much of the reason why is you?
1. Yes. Most of the time.
2. In the times that I wouldn’t: Of course the reason is me. What else could it be? But why wouldn’t I want to be my own child, that’s really the question. I see with my step kids that I’m not always the way I want to be (who is, right?). With them, if David is also around, it is easy to excuse myself to take a break to get back to myself.
But it will be different with my own child. For the first few months of his life, I won’t really be working; we will be home together all day. I’m delighted, so looking forward to this time. But I’m also concerned; I know I will have to be on all the time for him. With very little back up.
And of course I plan to do everything right (or as right as I can be), but you know. That’s not actually possible. So we’ll do the best we can and I’ll hope that he likes being my child.
Sometimes there is so much going on in my brain that I’m sure what to write on my blog. What is appropriate, what is interesting, what I feel like dealing with in written words.
I recently came across a prompt project: http://www.reverb10.com/
Each day they have a different reflecting-over-the-past-year prompt. Here is today’s, followed by my response.
December 15 – 5 Minutes
Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.
(Author: Patti Digh)
Five minutes to remember 2010. The biggest memory is getting pregnant and carrying little Raspberry around for much of the year. I remember telling different people, friends, family, co-workers. It is amazing how excited everyone gets when you start talking about a baby. I took a home pregnancy test one morning when David had already left for work. I took a photo of the positive response and showed it to him that night after we’d put the kids to bed.
36 weeks pregnant...
In 2010 my grandfather passed away, a sad reminder of the cyclical nature of life. He was ill and had been struggling. Luckily David and I went to see my grand parents in January, so we had spent some time with him when he was feeling pretty well. Never enough time.
With Grandpa and Grandma in January
Mentioning the midwest reminds me of the way I began 2010 – by totalling David’s car. We were driving from Chicago to Detroit (the WORST idea we’ve ever had in winter – and we are smart folks!). David suggested I drive a bit because the road was clear and there was no snow. After about 5 minutes of driving, the road suddenly covered in ice and we were the final car in a huge pile up. The tow truck driver took photos it was so many cars. We were completely shook up, we spent the night in a weird Ramada in Western Michigan, and the next day rented a car to drive to Detroit and then PA. David kindly did all the driving. And we agreed never to drive to the Midwest in winter again.
We are very lucky
And that’s 5 minutes of memories. It is interesting to see what comes up – life, death, fear.
Last year I made a 2009 photo album of our best photos from the year. It was mostly the kids, some of me and of David. I plan to do it every year, in part because it is nice to have a tangible memory, and I love looking through the hundreds of photos we take each year, remember everything from ice skating, to planting our garden, to swimming with cousins, to going back to school, to ice skating again.
This year will be full of such different memories. But I love looking back.
Posted in family, myself, pregnant
Tagged baby, children, connections, family, learning, love, personal, pregnancy, reflection, slow down
My husband loves me.
His beard was getting too bushy (he was growing it as I grow my belly, but it was starting to collect too many snacks). So he shaved it, leaving every girl’s dream: an evil mustache.
Too much fun for a Saturday night…
I just read an article that, with some alterations of name and location, I feel like I could have written.
It is called MWF seeks BFF. Girl moves to a new city for Boy. They Get Married. She feels like she has no friends there.
I so not mean this as offense to any people in Reading/Berks County who are my friends. I do have friends here. But not Friends. Not yet.
Without school or a full-time job, I’m not spending huge amounts of time with anyone. I don’t have a yoga community or a Jewish community here (yet, I’m working on it). Besides David, who I don’t count as a friend because he is the ultimate friend, my closest friend is around 60 and a man. And I love them both (in different ways, obviously) but still.
I need some ladies.
UPDATE: David said this post will offend my lower-case friends. That isn’t what I mean at all. I hope all of my friends become Friends. We just aren’t there yet. It takes time. And I’m shy.
As the birth of Raspberry approaches, I find that his Bris (Brit Milah, ritual Circumcision) is not as easy and obvious as I thought.
For starters, will his brother and sister be able to come? They are young, but they are his family. And others of their family will be here. We don’t want them to miss it (though they’d obviously be in a different room than the actual event), but we cannot predict the date of the Bris.
Which made David suggest to have the Bris not on the 8th day, but on a convenient day. To which I, without even thinking, said, “No.”
And then I thought about it. Why is this commandment so important to me that it must be done just so, when there are many, many commandments I don’t follow at all.
So why do the Bris at all? Maybe we could have a Brit Shalom or Bris B’li Milah (meaning Covenant of Peace or Covenant Without Circumcision), which is a new adaptation of the traditional ceremony that involves the blessings but not the cutting.
I have both a positive and negative visceral response to this. I’ve been ingrained from a young age to believe in Jewish traditions and belonging to a Jewish community. I’ve also been ingrained to act thoughtfully and in peaceful ways.
I find myself rubbing up against my personal beliefs and community beliefs a lot lately. Part of it may be that I don’t really have a spiritual home here in Reading, neither with yoga nor Judaism. I’m working on finding or building them, but it isn’t easy in a small, conservative town. Part of it is certainly that as I get older I have to face more and more difficult decisions that affect not only me but my family. Being a bio-mom (because I am already a step-mom with its own set of responsibilities) is a huge responsibility and one that I am so looking forward to, but I can see already that so many decisions are not so easy to make.
I stumbled upon an article about eating the placenta to improve lactation and prevent post-partum depression.
That’s right, I said it. Eating the placenta. Or as one article put it - Afterbirth: It’s What’s for Dinner.
As disgusted as many of my friends are, I have been considering this. One friend, who will remain anonymous, wrote to me privately to say she did eat hers, a small piece each day. Her midwife proscribed it to prevent post-partum depression.
I’m a little concerned about post-partum depression, as winter has always been a more difficult time of year for me, and I will be much more isolated and less busy (and yet, way more busy) this winter than previous winters.
I also found a really great blog series about eating placenta from a Jewish perspective – is it Kosher? I do not keep Kosher, so it is a non-issue, but still interesting. Good cocktail party talk (should I ever go to a cocktail party…).
Breastmilk, it turns out, is pareve, which means it is food neutral, neither meat nor dairy. I guess we don’t have to worry about boiling a calf in its mother’s milk…But can you eat placenta with breastmilk?
Maybe I’ve gone too far…
Just in case I haven’t: there is a lovely image in one of the articles of the placenta being like a tree of life – the veins and umbilical cord look like branches and the trunk of a tree. And if the placenta gives life to the baby for 9 (long) months, why not give a little life to Mama too?