Saturday, 14 September 2013

Back to school

Reading: Desperation by Stephen King
Listening to:  "Ash Tree Lane" by MS MR
Outside: Rain clouds roll, threatening

September has a distinct feel to it, doesn't it? A few hesitant leaves on rain-slicked pavement, the chill in the air. The kids bouncing down to the bus stop with their new outfits and bags and pencil cases (do kids even use pencil cases anymore these days? Meh.)

Today, my beloved and I went Back to School. That's right.

Parenting school.

Today: the first of four classes we are going to take to (hopefully) turn us into the well-informed, responsible, miracle-working parents we're supposed to be. Today we focused on after the birth (that bit that we can't even imagine yet, the time after that great brick wall of the labor - for me - and the tears and thankfulness of it's-all-over-everybody's-safe - for him.)

Life. After. Birth.

So, minds blank and sponge-absorbent, we sat amongst the six or eight other couples, the women all with bellies much bigger than mine (unlike me, they had perhaps chosen to attend this class as their last one, three or so weeks before their due date. I, however, cannot run my life as last-minute - or last-three-week - as that. I am a product of a mother who had all four of her baby girls early. Early early. I err on the side of caution).

Around us, cartoon posters showed us the stages of dilation and effacement (thinning) of the cervix. Posters, laminated glossy, presented in simplified primary colors the various positions of active labor (woman on ball, woman on chair, woman kneeling on floor, woman on all fours). Posters predicted how I, a pregnant woman, would feel at certain moments in early labor, and in transitional labor, the precise moment when leather thunder and lightning rips across the teal-purple sky of my mind and I will no longer be afraid of spiders.

I shook my head, airing out these thoughts, letting the high level of progesterone do its good work to my brain, massaging it and cooing, telling it, "Calm dowwwwn, babe. Easy does it. Jellybean wills it so."

(Ah! Jellybean. My little squishy.)

So I brought myself back down to earth. At 10:05 am, on September 14, 2013, I answered our teacher's first question: What's the worst thing about bringing a brand new baby home from the hospital?

"Lack of sleep," I volunteered, to a few twitters and chuckles around the still-shy room.

"Oh yes, there is that," our teacher replied. Nurse, midwife, and mother, this woman knew her stuff. Over the next two hours, she asked us questions, and nodded sagely to our responses, and then gave us answers to things us first-time parents just didn't know. What's the easiest and most efficient way of bathing a baby? How do we feel about visitors? How do we handle the constant demand of a tiny little stranger, and how to we learn to know what she needs?  Time, she said, and you will learn and you will be fine.

What I took away from this lesson? That there is indeed a life after birth. It is neither a sacrifice nor a system of checks and balances. It is simply the best, biggest change we can ask for. After the birth, we will have a life we can't imagine being any other way.

Our next class, in a few weeks, will be Active Birth. (Aaaaand squat, ladies!) Time to go exercise my thighs. But first, my beloved needs to inflate our shamefully long-disused exercise ball.

Feel the burrrrrrn

Happy Saturday, all!

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