Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ramblings on Motherhood

I'm not sure what it was that kept me awake last night, late into the early morning hours. Perhaps it's all the laying around I have had to do. I leaned forward to pick up my tennis shoes for a quick work out and ended up pulling a mid back muscle. It's not the first time I've hurt my back while pregnant, but it's the first time the pain was so bad I was afraid to walk. So I spent the day on my side, not moving a lot.

Last night, while I lay in the darkness of our room, I started thinking about my baby. I keep reading about trying to bond with your baby while she's still in the womb, talking to her, singing to her, and playing games (like poking at her and seeing if she'll poke back). But I don't know how a woman could carry a child in her belly and not feel bonded.

I had a friend who gave birth to a stillborn child. Before I ever experienced pregnancy, I could not understand her grief. But I understand it now, because if I lost my Sonja now... it would destroy me. The love that I feel for this baby is already so strong, and so powerful, that I'm afraid of how I will feel when I've got her in my arms. I'm afraid of the pain I will feel when anything bad happens to her. All I want to do is have my baby and know that she is safe, and know that I am doing what ever it takes to provide for her the best environment possible.

Last night I was trying to envision what my Sonja might look like. Will she be blonde, like Jeff and I were as babies? Will she have my eyes? Jeff's eyes? Her own random genetic combo? Will she get my lips or Jeff's? Will she have his nose? My freckles? I'm so incredibly curious. And what will her little personality be like? Will she be a sweetheart, or a stinker? Will she have her mother's ADD or her father's ADHD? Will she be smart? Will she be devious? Will she have my sense of humor? Or be more serious?

I'd love to design the perfect baby in my head and later find that Sonja embodies that perfectly, but it is not my job to decide who Sonja is. It is her job. My job is only to guide her on her path to self discovery, to nurture who she is, and the good aspects of her personality, to make sure she grows into a good person, a functioning member of society. I don't want to give myself any preconceived notions of who I want my daughter to be, because that never works out well. I don't want to live vicariously through my daughter. I want to live well, and have my daughter see her mother as a happy, independent woman whom she can look to as a guide and mentor. And I want Sonja to love the crap out of her Daddy. I have no fears that he will be a good example to her. Out of the two of us, I am the one who has to watch her step, watch her temper, and learn to be patient. Sonja is so lucky to have Jeff as a Daddy. He is going to be such an amazing father.

As I told Jeff the other day, if I do nothing else right as a mother, I want to make sure I raise my daughter to have confidence in herself. I want her to have high self esteem. The topic came up when I was listening to a Taylor Swift song about a guy who put her down all the time and she finally left him for someone who treats her well and appreciates her for who she is. I said to Jeff, "Never once did I date a guy who made me feel like crap about myself like that... no guy ever put me down." Granted, I have dated some Dousche Bags in my day, but I never put up with verbal abuse and I will be damned if I raised my daughter to do so. There's actually a concept called "negging" that some men use, they put girls down to lower their self esteem in an attempt to gain control over them and get a date. It's disgusting and unfortunately effective way too often. Make a girl feel self conscious and automatically she will want nothing but your approval. Daddy issues? Maybe. Or maybe a society where no one feels good about themselves anymore.

Well, maybe it's my childhood... I spent a good 14 years dealing with people putting me down for my looks, and sure, I am still a little sensitive about them. Maybe it's that my mother never let me take crap from other people. Maybe it's just my personality... but my self esteem is oddly really solid. Do I have insecurities? Sure. But for the most part, I feel pretty good about myself, and that's OK. People walk around like taking a compliment or feeling good about yourself is conceited. It's not. It's healthy. You shouldn't look in the mirror and hate yourself, you should look in the mirror and like what you see, you should love yourself. If you don't love yourself, how can you expect others to?

I'm rambling... my point is... I want my daughter to like who she is, and not be afraid to look herself in the eye and admit it. I'm not saying I want her to be conceited and narcissistic, but it's really not that big of a concern to me, because most narcissistic people, those who seem to have big egos and walk around all puffed up, are the most insecure of them all. In fact, I have never met someone I thought to be egotistical and not felt that deep down, they were incredibly insecure, and to crush their egos would be the easiest thing to do, even if you couldn't tell outwardly.

And thus, I want to raise a self-confident, self-loving, happy and healthy woman. In order to do that, I have to be that woman. I'm doing my best to steer myself in that direction. I'm 35 weeks pregnant, and as I type, my baby is kicking around inside me like crazy. I could have my baby anytime in the next 5-6 weeks, depending on if she feels like arriving early or late. Meanwhile, I am mentally preparing myself for motherhood. I'm reading books, but mostly, I am trying to communicate and bond with my baby. I am trying to ready myself for the difficulties, to remember to keep my temper in check (I imagine this will be more for when she's older and more defiant), to stay patient and loving, and to be the most nurturing and loving mother I can be.

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