Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Nursery Olympics (Part 2)

(Continuing from an earlier post that I fell asleep before finishing)

Once you take a seat, the meeting takes on a bit of an air of Alcoholics Anonymous. You introduce yourself and your baby, and then the soul-baring begins. Most moms start by explaining how things are going pretty well.... then her eyes start welling up, her voice starts shaking, and with a bit of coaxing from the group leader (a mother, maternity ward nurse, and lactation consultant), she starts to share the real problem, providing information that would make all non-mothers blush and quickly find a reason to exit the room. My nipples are bleeding. The baby hasn't pooped in three days. She won't sleep for more than 45 minutes. Does he have acid reflux? I think I made a mistake having a child. Our problems vary, but boil down to one central concern -- is my child/experience normal? (More on "normal" in a later post).

While we all feel that our personal crises are unique and monumental, through the course of discussion we find that we are, in fact, not unique and we are not the first nor the last to face these problems. The experience is cathartic; we all crave the reassurance that we're not causing (permanent) damage to our children.

And so we subject ourselves to the risk of judgment in order to be, finally, accepted into the bizarre sisterhood of mothers. We have all experienced the same rush process (pregnancy), initiation (birth) and hazing (the first six months); no one else can listen to the description of the color and consistency of poop or the saga of inadequate milk supply and say, "I feel your pain, sister".

And despite my fear of being judged for the milestones my son has reached (he can crawl but he can't sit) and the parenting choices I have made, I anxiously await these Mommy and Me meetings every week. I go for a chance to air my grievances. I go for the chance to compare myself and my child to the others in the room. I go for the excuse to leave the house. I go for the chance to be around "sisters". And I go for the opportunity to discover that I, like other mothers, am in fact normal.

1 comment:

  1. Wow...great post! I think I will be reading your blog quite a bit :)