Posted by Duff


bathtubartist.jpg bathtub artist picture by duffoliver


Very little of my motherhood experience has followed my proposed script.

It started when I found out I was pregnant.  I guess I assumed my husband and I would jump around happily (or at least he would; he’s a Life Enthusiast). But when I saw reality (in the form of a digital test) staring at me, purposefully, I felt an adrenaline surge strangely akin to…fear.

And when I told my husband the good news, he paused for a long time before saying, “I’m scared.” Not the sentiment I’d expected, but I was relieved that I wasn’t the only parental misfit.

Of course we were happy. And shocked (and appalled) by our own reactions. We had hoped this would happen. Had been disappointed every time a test returned an emphatic ‘NOT‘.

The surprises didn’t end there. Next came cravings for foods I didn’t like: Tacos. Citrus. Hot Sauce.  I should have known then.

Until my first trimester gave way to my second, hormones tapdanced on my emotions. I didn’t feel sad, I just felt wierd. Foreign to myself. Nausea turned my glow gray. And I was still afraid. Though I stopped myself from taking multiple pregancy tests, every trip to the bathroom had me wondering if I was about to get bad news.

At this point, you probably think I’m a pessimist. It’s strange how you can be afraid of missing someone you’ve never met. But that’s what happens when you begin drafting anticipated memories of someone. If she’s a girl, she’ll wear a sundress on the first day of kindergarten. If he’s a boy, he’ll like dinosaurs.

It’s only natural.

As you paint the nursery (who knows what color your child will grow to favor?), you might mentally outline a birth plan. I want an epidural at 5 cm. I don’t want a c-section.  Probably not I want my father-in-law to see hospital-johnnie-evidence that (unbeknownst to me) I’m dialating quickly.

In the end, you realize you have about as much control over this part of the experience as you have over your child’s gender or will come to have over his or her personality. Shettles all you want. Parent the way you intended. Maybe you will feel you have some influence, but some things just are.  Nature versus nuture. Potato/Potahto.

You can plan to have The Teddy, and then you have The Dervish. Who is a girl. Who prefers dinosaurs to sundresses. And seems much more likely a second child than a first. And might be part squirrel, for all the crazed road-darting she does.

But if you’d written her yourself, you wouldn’t have developed her character nearly as well as she does herself, daily. And that would have been a shame.

Note to self: Keep your red pen handy.