In one of the only prenatal classes I attended, a sweet-looking nurse sat opposite me and some other newly mummied people and told us about stuff that will help us in the coming months. Posture, diet, mental well-being, happiness. She talked about the actual physical formation of a tiny person inside us and the different stages that will follow. Fascinating stuff.
She commented on how we all must be (note: MUST be) overwhelmed by it all and perhaps feeling a bond with the baby? I darted a sneak glance around me and all the young early twenty-something moms were nodding vigorously, one going as far as to say in an emotionally wobbly voice that the baby was the most important thing to her now. Seriously? I asked in my head. What about your husband? Or family or work? Thats it, I thought to myself, I am devoid of the maternal gene. The nurse smiled patiently at this exuberant mom and looked at me, almost willing me to reply also. After a few seconds of studiously looking at the execise pamphlet in my hand, I looked up.
“How old are you?” she asked.
“29”, I replied. Definitely the oldest one here.
“Is this your first baby?”
“How do you feel?” she prods.
“A little tired,” I answered, looking around again.
I sounded absolutely robotic and she looked at me enquiringly. So I took a deep breath and try to go on. “I actually forget sometimes. And if feeling a bond with the baby in the first trimester is any indication of what kind of mom I will be, then I don’t think I will be very good at what I do. Honestly, ” I add, as the other girls shuffle a bit. “Maybe you should ask me again in a few months.” Some of them nod, a little relieved. Maybe she’s just slow, I can almost hear them thinking.
We, again, as a society tend to want to do what othes want us to. We react in predictable ways because that is what is accepted. We indulge in banal small talk at social occasions and feign ecstatic responses at weddings because to say we are petrified for someone or possibly having second thoughts for ourselves is just too risky. We, as a rule, should exude glowing joy at having babies despite the fact that it hasn’t even hit us yet. We should suddenly start looking maternal and peaceful, call children “beta” and generally move into an advanced aunty type mode where the only “real” discussion of course is about children. Trust me I have seen it happen. One day you find out you are pregnant and the next day you are someone else. Sometimes it gets annoying. Mostly it stays amusing. Actually, it depends on the hormones.