So today I mistakenly went into the No-No pile: the stack of baby/parenting magazines that I haven’t touched since month three of pregnancy. I knew what was going to happen; I justified my actions by claiming that I was “cleaning” my room – which usually entails pulling everything out of the filing cabinets (read: shoe boxes and plastic bags) and going through all the memories before dumping everything altogether back into one bigger cardboard box (minus one small stack of miscellaneous papers that I proudly throw away.)
So here’s what happened, the slow decline of my morale article by article:
Open page one of “As Your Baby Grows.” Read article about the important decision of choosing childbirth education classes. Article suggests taking the longer course (6 weeks) versus taking the three-day weekend class because you’ll have more time to practice the breathing and relaxation techniques. Feel guilty that I’m only taking a one-day class because it cost me $60 and the insurance doesn’t pay for it. Turn page to find picture of pink baby in red womb, arms and legs all flipped in weird positions, baby looking mighty alien-y due to lack of fully-developed eyelids. I am guiltily grossed out by the photo and drop the mag.
Next, open Similac Baby Formula “Welcome Addition Club” planner given as free gift from doctor. Flip through Weeks 23-27 to find horrifying picture of pale-skinned, plastic fetus-looking baby on opposite page. Almost throw up a little in my mouth. Read about how expanding uterus is putting pressure on my intestines. Instructed not to hold in frequent needs to urinate, or else I could cause my bladder to become enflamed, which may lead to an irritation of the uterus, which may result in an early onslaught of contractions. Great. Urge to pee may cause me to have premature baby.
Tips for Week 28-31: “Now is a good time to start putting together the nursery.” Oh is it? That sounds great, seeing as I have no nursery items, no crib, and no bedding to speak of, not to mention not having any money to spend on these things, not to mention not having an apartment to live in for the next month seeing as we have to be out by October 1. Next page: “Will you breastfeed or bottle feed?” across from Similac advertisements. Snap planner shut with little metal fastener and throw it across the room at opposite wall. Continue rummaging.
Open Target baby registry book. See all the lists of Things You Absolutely Must Have For Baby. Check out the prices for the jogger stroller, the umbrella stroller, the rock star stroller. Check out the price for the “Standard Stroller.” Read tip about color-coordinating the stroller with the baby’s wardrobe. Start to hyperventilate.
Next, “Safe and Sound Sleep” pamphlet from very first prenatal office visit. Open up to bulleted list about how to prevent infant from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Convince myself that I am incompetent due to lack of proper swaddling skills. Start crying. Husband walks in, suggests that I practice on the cat. Makes me laugh and then helps me up off the floor and walks me out of the room away from pile of magazines.
I’m starting to feel like I’m going crazy, but then again, I’m just not quite sure. Do you have to know what you’re doing in order to be a good mom? What does it take to be a good mom? Sometimes when the baby kicks inside me, I feel guilty. I’m supposed to be all happy and touched by the movements, but instead, all I feel is worry and doubt in myself as a mother. And that leads me to feeling guilty. Guilty for thinking this was okay, to bring a life into this world and just hope for the best. Guilty for feeling anything other than pure joy at having a safe, healthy baby inside me, soon to be born. Sigh…
Sidenote to Labor article in “As Your Baby Grows”: “Choosing your baby’s name may seem simple compared to the choices you’ll make in the next few months.”