Thursday, June 29, 2006

The family feud

I am the kind of person who likes to plan things. I generally lists necessary, make elaborate itineraries for trips, and try to answer the "what are we doing this weekend" question on Thursday afternoon. For one reason or another, however, this anal retentiveness does not extend to my thoughts on babymaking.

If it had been up to me, I probably would have conceived during my honeymoon. (Except that I wouldn't have, because I had my period - a charming wedding gift from my body.) When Rob and I were engaged, even the idea of marriage was enough to flip the babymaking switch in my brain. And while I wasn't ready to actively try to get pregnant, I imagined using the "not trying, not preventing" method of non-committal quasi-birth control.

This idea did not fly with my groom-to-be. Apparently, for him, marriage meant "marriage" and not "permission to start a family." Both of us immediately became whys-asses: I would ask why he didn't want to have a baby, and he would come back with all of the reasons why he shouldn't. There is no way for the pro-baby party to win this argument. If having a baby were a decision based on logic and reasoning, I doubt many of us would be here at all.

For the time-being, Rob and I have come to a compromise: spend six months getting ready as best we can. He feels like he's in control of the decision-making process, and I can force this out-of-control biological clock of mine into the planning space that governs other parts of my life.

Of course, something tells me that all this planning will somehow manage to backfire, or otherwise fail miserably - at least as far as my husband is concerned. After all, one of the best things about making a plan is having it all laid out, and then completely abandoning it.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

It has started

The unsolicited advice, that is. And it's already making me paranoid.

Rob and I spent last night visiting a couple of his old friends. Their second child was born three days ago, and we brought them dinner as admission to The Newborn Show. Mama and Papa both seemed glad to have the company, and as we talked about moving and home improvement and families, it came up that Rob and I are planning to start our family in about six months.

That's when the advice started: this hospital, that school, definitely don't move there, and, "Are you a vegetarian?" Mama asks, narrowing her eyes at my plate.


"Well, I just ask because if you want to get pregnant...blahblahblahblah-really bad idea-blahblahblah-enough protein-blahblah-make sure you're not anemic-blahblahblah-the problem with leafy green vegetables like spinach-blahblahblahblah-most people rely on soy, which is terrible if you're trying to get pregnant..."

I kept quiet, biting the insides of my cheeks, listening to this lecture about how babies of vegetarian mothers fail to thrive, and how I would be ruining my children's teeth if I didn't add dairy to my diet while I was pregnant, and how, on a vegetarian diet, I had a snowball's chance in hell of getting enough protein for a growing baby. I tried to remember that although Mama had worked with doctors, she herself was not a doctor or a nutritionist. I tried to remember that many people are biased against vegetarian diets for any number of reasons. Still, I couldn't help feeling scared.

I started to wonder if she was right. While I had read lots of very positive-sounding information on the Internet about pregnancy nutrition for vegans, I also remembered that the Internet can be a giant holding tank for crap. After all, if I could use WebMD to diagnose myself with prostate cancer, how could I be sure that any of what I had read in my preliminary pregnancy-nutrition research was worthwhile?

But this afternoon, while scouring the Internet for more information on vegetarian nutrition, and scanning through the local library's on-line catalog for anything even remotely relevant, I forced myself to put my fear on hold. I could easily see how an expectant mother might be driven crazy with all of the information and advice she received - especially the unsolicited advice. If I couldn't find a way of filtering the information I received, I was going to trap myself under all of the confusion and doubt. I might start to feel like I couldn't trust anything I heard or read.

I reminded myself: You are not the first woman who has wanted to remain a vegetarian before, during and after her pregnancy. It can be done, and done healthfully.

Gut-level wisdom that I need to remember throughout this process: you are not the first. Hell, even if I were the first, that would be all the more reason learn as much about my health as possible, and gather information for myself.

And that's the first bit of advice I'm going to follow.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

A (pre-)mommy blog

The first blog I ever read was a mother's blog.

I had heard of blogs before, but didn't really understand the appeal. They were like one-sided conversations, right? The soliloquy-version of a chat room. An online menage a moi.

But while using the Internet to research and plan my future, looking for articles about raising children in an urban environment, I came upon childbearing hipster. And I loved every word of it: sweet and hilarious vignettes about a couple and their charming little girls. Though I had no husband or children of my own, I identified.

I quickly became acquainted with the idea of a blogroll, and clicked from parenting blog to parenting blog. I met moms, mommies, mamas, and broads with babies. There were dads, daddies, and papas, too. And I was in love.

Motherhood is the one thing that has remained constant in my ever-changing vision of my future self. And while I had heard my own mother's take on the subject, I appreciated the frank, day-in-the-life-ness of many of the blogs I encountered. These parents were telling it like it is, as it happens.

Somehow, none of it managed to scare me away. While I'm certainly not looking forward to toilet-training my as-of-yet-unconceived children, I know I'll manage. Or, at least, that's what I'm telling myself as my husband and I begin to think seriously about starting a family.

The next several months promise to be filled with all kinds of preconception woes and excitement, probably followed by more months of pregnancy woes and excitement - and I'll be blogging the whole mess!