Conversations with My Mother

October 6, 2014

On Gifts for this Baby:

People are excited. I get that. I appreciate that. I’m excited. But don’t give me things. Not now. Once I have an actual baby to bring home? Once there’s a baby who can use those things? Sure. By all means. But don’t give me anything tangible. I’m having a hard enough time with the intangibles of planning for child care, etc. I don’t need something physical when I’m terrified that this baby won’t make it home from the hospital either.

Mom: “When people ask, I tell them no. Put the baby things down. You want to knit for this baby? Here’s a great charity you can knit for instead.”
Me: “You want a surefire way to freak out my daughter?”

On Gross Things Our Bodies Do:

Mothers can be great for this kind of thing. My navel did something weird this pregnancy. It got this hard brown plug of mucus or lint or… I don’t know what. And when it first appeared, I wondered if this was my innie starting to get pushed into an outie. (I have a really deep innie.) It was a relief when I finally got it out, except for the fact that I hadn’t been able to clean behind it for months, so my navel smelled.

Mom: “I had something like that happen during… one pregnancy. At least you didn’t have to take your smelly navel to a care provider. Hydrogen peroxide will take care of the smell.”
Me: “Thank you! Um, do you have any hydrogen peroxide I could use? I don’t know how this is possible, but I only have witch hazel and rubbing alcohol.”

On Irrational Fears:

I’m afraid to be prepared. (See “On Gifts for this Baby”.) I was prepared last time. If I’m prepared this time…

Mom (tears up): “I know. It scares me, too.”

On Ultrasounds:

Okay, this conversation totally did not happen the way it was supposed to. I’d rehearsed it. Sometime that was just the two of us, I’d tell her that I didn’t want her to try to figure out if I was having a boy or a girl. You may recall she did that when I was pregnant with Sofia. It bugged me even though she insisted that she had no clue what she saw and actually thought it might be a boy.

And then, at knitting last month, somehow, ultrasounds came up. The question of “are you going to find out you’re having”, of course, came up. And my answer of “no” came up. And my mom’s answer of “but I’ll be looking” came up. And I told her that, no, she wouldn’t be looking.

This is not how I wanted to broach the topic. But a few days later, at girls’ night, when it was just the two of us, I told her that. I told her that I would never have said anything about how it bothered me in front of our friends without having spoken with her first if our friends hadn’t been asking about what flavor of baby I might be having.

And we’re all good. And can go back to talking about baby gifts and gross things our bodies do and irrational fears. And knitting and cooking. And annoying things that happened at work. And drivers doing weird things on the road. About everything and nothing.


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