Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Great Expectations

In the interest of full disclosure, I cannot take credit for the title of this post: that goes to a patient, Madeleine, and I fully expect that she will be in turn thanking Dickens for the inspiration in her blog.

I, or rather my belly, seems to garner a lot of attention lately. People are generally very nice to pregnant ladies, so I'm finding. In theatre restroom line ups I'm encouraged to use the empty facility set aside for those with special needs (I declined, for the record, choosing solidarity with my stall-challenged sisters...). Sometimes I am offered a seat on a packed bus, leading me to wonder about all the other lugs who sit contentedly in full view of my girth. Doors are held open, people smile at me more... the world loves a pregnant woman.

And why not? I'm glowy, I make you look thin by comparison, I waddle - that's always good for a laugh, and not to overstate my case, but the human race depends on us.

What I can't figure out is why the world wants to bring a happy, round, shiny woman down.

The horror stories! The pain! The tales of squeezing a thing THIS BIG through a space this big! The labours that went on for 63 hours! Only to end in an emergency operation! And the cord was here, and they got me just in time there, and then there was all the blood! And the pain - did I mention the pain??!?! Aaah!

Luckily, I'm not expecting any of that to happen to me. Not just because I'm an obstetrical marvel, or my generous birthing hips, or my heightened pain threshold or any masochistic bent. I'm not expecting any of that because I CHOOSE to not expect it. And frankly I'm sick of being told otherwise.

But I'm not naive. I'm aware of the size of this versus the size of that. I understand well the pain of muscular contractions. It is clear to me that child birth is a process that is typically and deservedly referred to as 'painful'. I appreciate that things often don't go according to plan.

I just choose to plan for it to go perfectly, and will modify my plan as it unfolds. I choose to prepare for it to go well, and will modify along the way as needed. I choose to assume that my experience will be positive until proven otherwise. Is that so wrong?

I'm visualizing. I'm taking a hypnosis for childbirth class (want to join me in November?). I'm listening to ALL your stories and experiences, and filing them under 'ways this can happen'. I'm reading and learning as much as I can. I'm preparing my body with yoga and keeping my pelvic joints moving with chiropractic. I'm doing everything possible to create the outcome I want, and I'm not going to be told that it can't happen.

I always thought it was funny, referring to a pregnant woman as 'expecting', as if exactly what she was expecting was up in the air (puppies? a baby? maybe a dolphin!). But I'm taking it literally, and I'm going to use this expectant time to create my positive expectations.

So the next time you spot a spherical woman looking all jolly (think Santa Claus) in her life-affirming state, think: should I smile and tell her how wonderful she looks? Or should I tell her about my cousin's HORRIBLE CHILDBIRTH EXPERIENCE, just in case she wasn't aware that in 11 weeks she will EXPERIENCE PAIN LIKE NEVER BEFORE, not that she can do anything about it now... ha ha ha....

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