Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog

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There goes my belly button

I guess I didn’t need it, but it’s gone.  My belly button does not project out past my tummy, but it’s lost a substantive cavity.  It looks like Cyclops mounted on a T-rex.  I suppose I’ve only used it in the past for catching lint.  There is that scar however, that now protrudes into the universe.  I have a scar at my belly button that serves as a remind of a rebellious time.  I must admit that I was the most un-rebellious college student on the planet, but the one thing I did left a mark.  Figures.  I had to smile when my midwife asked if I pierced belly button.  I believe the thought tantalised her imagination.  Yes, but it was an utter failure!

First of all, belly rings only look good on very skinny people.  Those women with flat stomachs that wear bikinis.  I am, or at least used to be, neither fat nor skinny.  But I had pooch.  I also had a nice layer of flubbed that was very grabable.  A pooch does not lend itself easily to piercings.  Every time I sat down, my belly ring became engulfed in my tummy tube.  This was not a comfortable feeling.  You couldn’t even see the ring unless I stood up and stretched.  Of course, I would never dream of wearing any clothing that would expose my stomach.  I didn’t even own those type of clothes.  Why would I pay for half a shirt?  The piercing eventually became infected, although I was beyond being irritated the moment I got it.  The point, although I would never admit it, was to impress a boy.  A boy who is now my husband.  I don’t think it was the ring that did it for him.  He chuckles now at the scar resting boldly on top of a mountain of baby belly, knowing that my meager attempt at defiance was such a disaster.

My attempts at rebellion remind me of my mother’s attempts at telling jokes.  It’s a hopeless cause from the beginning.  She beings the joke by declaring that she can’t remember the joke very well.  She laughs at the beginning, not end.  She doesn’t actually tell the joke; she explains it.  She also explains that there was a punch line and that it was funny, if she could have remembered it.  The jokes are doomed from the start, just like my attempt at rebellion.

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When is it appropriate to push?

I am having my first baby next month.  In the natural birth classes, we have discussed the labor process. A major question for many mothers is: When do I know I’m really in labor?  When do I know this the day I’ll see my baby?  When can I stop waiting and become actively involved in the birth process?  When it is appropriate to push?  These questions reminds me of the story about my mother’s horse, Blaze.

Blaze was an amazing horse.  He was a race horse past his prime, sold to my grandparents to live out his retirement years on the farm.  My mother was not yet a teenager when Blaze arrived on their New England dairy farm.  Blaze understood children.  He stood very still when my mother’s brothers and sister scurried around his tall legs and whooshing tail.  His big eyes followed them around the barn with experienced patience.

When my mother learned to ride, she was given the opportunity to explore hundreds of acres of wild highlands.  One time while riding Blaze, my mother found herself lost in an open field that resembled all the rest.  She became disoriented and lost her sense of direction.  After plowing from field to field in search of familiar landmarks, she gave up.  Only then did she remember she wasn’t alone.  She let go of the reins, hugged Blaze around the neck, and let him take her home.  I can only image Blaze’s relief when he was allowed to do his job without interference from the rider.  My mother needed only remember that she was never alone and never lost.

When the maternal questions seem overwhelming, I think about dropping the reins and being still.  I do not feel alone in this natural birth process.  I’m not alone.  Don’t worry, I’m not comparing Baby to Blaze.  I’m known for being politically inappropriate, but that wasn’t my point.  I simply mean that the process is natural.  It’s beautiful.  It may be new to me, but it’s not a new process.  I can let go of the reins and I can safely come home.

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Forcing the Bloom

Just a bit about me before I begin.  I’m a 32 year old mother-to-be attorney living in North Carolina.  I’m expecting my first child at the end of March 2012.  I’ve been told it’s a boy, but I’ve also heard there can always be surprises in the end.  I’m excited about using a midwife and having a natural birth at a maternity center.  I’ve been reading up on breast feeding and plan to attend a La Leche League meeting this month.  I have a passion for triathlons and writing.  I also don’t want to loose my passion for anything after I become a mom.  What I mean is, I don’t want to loose myself.

As I continue on this spiritual journey into a new phase of motherhood, I can’t help but remember my childhood and my mother’s stories about her childhood.  My family is as crazy as they come.  Their stories have always danced in my head, demanding to be told.  It’s time the stories were told, if only to give me peace.  They are just that, only stories.  They are the stories as I remember or imagine.  They are no more real than any other story.  And everyone has a story to tell.  This story begins with a Rose.

There were once three rose bushes that sat beside our backyard deck.  I do not recall that they thrived.  My mother was constantly pruning them back until eventually they were gone.  Ironically, my mother’s name is Rose.  To me, and I have nothing against roses, the rose bushes seemed defiant and haggard.  I know they can be beautiful in large quantities, but these bushes were not so lucky.  Unlike any good flower, they refused to be beautiful until betrayed by their bloom.  They rejected beauty with thorns, thick stems and spiked leaves.  They sent clear warnings to the world.  Do not touch.  We prefer to be left alone.  They barely moved in the wind and showed no trace of exhaustion in the summer.  Winter storms could do nothing to unmotivated their growth in the spring.  Even without water, they held their ground.  They were, of course, hacked back into submission as soon as they caught some momentum because their wildness was constantly at the ready to take hold and run uncontrolled across the yard.

One spring, when I was still more aware of my surroundings than myself, the rose bushes caught my fascination.  Most of the roses sat closed-lipped, patiently waiting for the bloom.  I reasoned that I could help them along by forcing them open.  I shoved my finger into the center of the bud and worked at prying the petals apart.  I’m not sure how many I got through before my mother caught me.  I remember her trying to explain that the buds could not be forced open until they was ready to bloom.  Even more dejecting, there was no way for us to know when the bloom would take place.  I’m sure I watched for awhile, hoping to see the bloom before giving up and finding something else to torment.  The lesson stuck with with me to this day.  The rose is a motivation, a metaphor for life.  Am I still trying to force the bloom?  Or am I waiting patiently for the unfoldment?