(Warning: Long, rambling, sometimes controversial navel-gazing ahead. No knitting. You can't say I didn't warn you.)
I've been thinking a lot lately about choices, and how we have so many in our culture. Sometimes I think that having all of these choices stresses us out, and sometimes I think it comforts us. At any rate, for good or ill, choices are what have been keeping me distracted from the blogging recently. We found out sort of late in our pregnancy (9 weeks - I know, don't ask, it will only scare you if you're trying to avoid getting pregnant.) that we were expecting our little weebeastie, and since we were a little ahead of our child-birthing schedule in our Grand Master Life Plan, we've had a whirlwind of catching up to do by way of testing and choosing and learning. So much so that I forgot to share THIS with you.
This is weebeastie three weeks ago at about 16 weeks. Freakishly fantastic isn't it? It's just like something you'd see on one of the National Geographic channel's 'In the Womb' shows. I had no idea that we normal people could actually get one of these 3d ultrasound pictures, so that was a fun surprise. Another fun surprise relates to one of our first choices. When we headed into this ultrasound/amnio, we were still unsure of whether or not we wanted to know the gender in advance. We were sort of keen on it being a surprise, but recognized the beauty and simplicity of just knowing in advance. It turned out that weebeastie had his own ideas about whether or not we should know, and only some sort of weird modesty is keeping me from showing you THAT particular ultrasound pic. Suffice it to say that he made his papa proud. ;)
So there you go. Grumperina? Hear that? It's a boy. Just like you wanted.
But I digress. Choices. We have lots of them, and it's both wonderful and scary. For instance, now that we know we're having a boy, we now have to come to some sort of educated, negotiated agreement on circumcision, and regardless of what we decide (and for privacy's sake as well as to halt any vitriolic debate here in the comments, I'll not ever be announcing which way we're going on that), we were faced with making a choice, possibly even one that would be irreversible, for someone who cannot speak for themselves. As my favorite uncle, Duke, used to say: 'MAN.....that is some heavy shit'. And it truly is. I've never actually pondered what it means to make these kinds of decisions for someone else before, and it only makes me even MORE glad that we waited until we were a little more mature before attempting this parenting gig.
And that's just ONE of our many, many choices., some of them obviously more important than others, but as examples, there's OB vs midwife; doula vs. no doula; natural vs medicated birth; breastfeeding vs. bottle augmentation vs. formula; co-sleeping vs. his own crib; cloth diapers vs. disposables; day care center vs. grandma vs. home-based daycare; Winnie the Pooh vs. Finding Nemo in the nursery; bassinet vs. moses basket; glider vs. Poang chair from Ikea; Yale vs. Harvard.....
OK, so maybe we're getting a little ahead of ourselves on that last one. ;)
If it sounds like maybe we were getting out of hand for a little while, it's because we were. Somehow in the last couple of weeks though, a switch flipped for us somewhere and we stopped looking at these issues as earth-shattering problems that we had to solve (did I mention that we're an engineer and an accountant? that's what we do, solve stuff), and began looking at them instead as interesting explorations of our OPTIONS. You know what happened then? Miraculously, this became FUN. Sure, much of it is still serious (and some of it really, really isn't), but it's been fun too. It's fantastic all the things we're learning about ourselves AND each other.
It has also set me to thinking about how fortunate we are to live in a society in which these choices exist. Starting first and foremost with the choice to bear children. I have always been a vocal proponent and an active (some might have even called me militant at times) supporter of a woman's right to control their reproductive destiny, and am intimately aware of the value of being able to choose not to bear a child when one's situation isn't amenable for whatever reason. I will admit that in my mind, the biggest issue in this struggle has always been to insure that women retain the right to choose NO, if that's what they need to do. I still do, but I've recently begun to deeply appreciate how priceless that freedom is even when the decision goes the other way. For some stupid reason, I've never really understood the joy of knowing that the decision is being made, for lack of a better phrase, for the 'right' reasons. In the midst of all of the insanity and changes that pregnancy and impending childbirth brings, it has made me feel very safe, centered and grounded in our decision to have this baby because we WANTED to....really wanted to....as opposed to being in any way trapped, either by our society or our beliefs. This process has driven home for me the fact that what 'the right to choose' ultimately means is the the right to choose when and where to bear and raise a child so as to provide as loving and safe an environment as we can. I'm not trying to start a firestorm here, and I am well aware that this is a complex and controversial topic, but for my part, I have never been more appreciative of the people out there who fight (and often lose) each and every day in the clinics and the health centers in communities everywhere to try to keep this legal right a practical reality for the women in this country. So go hug your womens' health advocate today.....and write your congress person. Or not. Your mileage may vary, and these beliefs may not be yours. I'm not really looking to debate the abortion issue here, just to express my thanks to people that I feel are doing something important. If you feel the need to comment on this all I ask is that you be sensitive and polite.
And now, all of you who have, or have considered having, kids it's YOUR turn. What are some of the choices you've faced/made/battled over and how have your solutions worked out for you? Did you hate your doula? Do you wish you'd started sooner\waited longer? If your kid never stepped foot in McD****'s again, would it be too soon? Do you really wish you'd chosen frogs instead of the little mermaid for your nursery wallpaper? Do you think that Baby Einstein is the best thing since sliced bread? Would you love to have kids, but feel like you're too young\strapped for cash\old? Anything. Everything. I'd love to hear your stories, and they don't all have to be about The Big Issues. What's the best brand of baby food, for instance?
But seriously, if you have the answer to the Yale vs. Harvard question, I'll take that one too. ;)