My two lovely co-bloggers can attest to the fact that I can be opinionated, stubborn, and self-righteous. So what happens when I find myself in the one situation that anyone and everyone seems to have an opinion on? I would have to add that I tend to be defensive but not necessarily confrontational, so if someone told me the way my pregnancy should be I would likely just grit my teeth. The thing is, no one did.
My coworkers were mostly liberal-minded progressive women – some with children, some without. They joined in my celebratory moods, gave me space during my emotional swings, and stayed home so not to pass on their illness to me. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive group of colleagues.
I noticed that although I had waited to my early thirties to start having children, I had hopped the procreation train a couple of years ahead of most of my long-term friends. Was I missing out on a bonding opportunity with these girlfriends? I decided that it was best for me to build a tribe of friends who were also pregnant at the same time. I emailed a high school friend I hadn’t talked to for more than a decade throughout our pregnancies. My husband and I joined a prenatal care group to meet other pregnant couples. There is a strange comfort in being lost…together.
Now I am reflecting on the last four years as a parent and I feel like I have earned some sort of honorary doctorate in Parenting. I have chosen to specialize in certain areas like “How to manage without a bottle of Children’s Tylenol” and “Babywearing in a Bikini”. It is this beautiful odd mass of information on how to raise my two children with their quirks, their preferences, their constitutions, and their gentle hearts.
And yet…over these last few years I have developed this notion that my knowledge might be just what another pregnant friend needs. I, you might say, adopted a younger girlfriend who is pregnant with her first child. Her sisters are mothers but they do not live in the same city. I invited her over to do prenatal yoga once a week. It was a great chance to exchange information, chat, and stretch. But after our first session, I wrote out a comprehensive document outlining all of the prenatal resources I knew about in Seattle. It could possibly intimidate a midwife with its length, let alone a first time mom. So each time I gave her a bit of information, I took two steps back or back pedaled to give her an out to avoid further discussion. My fear is that she might not ask me the question I wanted to give her the answer to. Oh my, it sounds ridiculous when I write it down.
She is healthy and nesting in her 39th week of pregnancy. She took the information I provided and did what she chose to do with it. I am okay with that. She is a woman – kind, knowledgeable, and polite enough to listen to me talk about all things baby. And who knows how pushy I really was? I have forgotten most of the specifics of our conversations, but I do remember making a concerted effort to become a better and better listener. And listening, truly listening, is always wise advice.