I admit now that I made my pregnancy everyone’s pregnancy. I shared the minute to minute change in sensations, cravings, feelings, and pains with my co-workers, my mom, and my friends. Oi vey! Pregnancy is such a beautiful time, but like a tropical vacation others won’t really appreciate every detail of it unless they are also there.
I learned so many odd facts about pregnancy – and y’all were going to learn them too. I started using the term “hamburger crotch” in conversations. When I farted, I would tell you about the changing shape of my posterior and how this had resulted in an altered tune of my passed wind. WHAT HAD I BECOME? Pregnanstein? Frankenmommy?
I was emotional. I couldn’t handle information I was hearing firsthand from a dysfunctional young mother in substance abuse treatment; I wandered how a mother could let harm enter the lives of her children. I broke down every twenty paces on my walk to work the next day. I fell to pieces in the supermarket while trying to recover. By time I made it to my workplace, my boss encouraged me to take a day off to gather my thoughts. Let’s not even discuss what happened when I watched “Precious” while pregnant.
I believe this heightened connection protects us as a species. We develop compassion for humanity on a new level when we are actively growing one of its newest members. I had people from all walks of life celebrate my pregnancy throughout my pregnant days. During the last four months of my first pregnancy, I made an hour plus bus journey to and from work passing through downtown Seattle. On my way home, I would transfer at a rugged looking stop frequented by people loud and broken who were leaving the shelters or other social service agencies in the area. Almost every day, I met someone new who would tell me the story of their child(ren). “Such a blessing!” I felt like I was carrying this child for all of us.
I pondered joining the Roots of Empathy program. The non-profit started by Canadian visionary Mary Gordon (http://www.rootsofempathy.org/) uses the naturally compassionate connection between children and babies to teach empathy and explore the issues of aggression and bullying. Children spend a year following the development of a newborn and spend time interacting with the child and gauging its emotions. This experience improves children’s emotional awareness and promotes kindness and what ROE refers to as “prosocial behaviors”.
Don’t you think that when we connect to our babies, we connect with ourselves?