the middle path. in considering unassisted childbirth, by which i mean giving birth by myself without the assistance of a birth attendant aside from perhaps my husband, i find myself caught between two opposing viewpoints, each pressuring me to conform. on the one hand is the notion that there is a danger inherent in childbirth and that having no assistance risks being unprepared for or unaware of something going wrong. on the other hand, it is not radical enough to merely consider, or to have a backup plan or to believe in the benefit of assistance. truthfully, either side should be supporting what i know to be true about myself and should support my intuition in either circumstance, calling for either need - the space to be alone or the need for support. which is why i have chosen a middle path wherein i have both a support person on call and the option to not call them. and even the option to call after having already felt the need not to - the option to change my mind. and yet - i go and i read the viewpoints of one side and feel wholly inadequate for trusting my own intuition, or for providing for the unknown, as though it could somehow jinx me despite my belief in support as an option and not a cop-out. the truth of what i will need i cannot begin to predict. i cannot know the path before i walk it. it will reveal itself and i will reveal myself in the process. i will learn the truth of what a moment calls for, but it will not be this moment, it will be that one. there is no way to prepare or to predict. the same goes with all matters of parenting and of mothering. i am for instance, scared to death in part, of what nursing will be like as i've never done it before, but only pumped breastmilk electronically for thirteen months. i am scared that i will have trouble, that it will hurt dramatically, that i don't know proper holds or latching techniques. i have cause in my past to fear this. there is doubt buried in my history from the guilt of aleksander's defect and the terrible lack of a nursing relationship between us. i cannot help that. though it was impossible for him to nurse, there will always be the question in my mind that perhaps i simply did not try hard enough. even though i have forgiven myself and made my peace with that aspect of our relationship, a former me asked it and it will hang forever now in my memory. and so i seek out ways to have resources for the support that i could potentially need despite my strong familial support and my intense committment and my personal desire to breastfeed. there may be trouble nontheless and i believe that it is in my best interest to know ahead of time where i can go to for outside support or instruction when it may be what i need. and does this belief in the skill and knowledge of others betray a doubting of my own abilities and the potentiality of my biology? in understanding and appreciating the misgivings of biology and the potential complications of breastfeeding, is it really a vote of no confidence cast for my qualification as a breeder? does the fear that i've already admitted to really say that i ultimately believe that i am built incapable, that i would be hard-pressed to figure it out without the assistance of experts? is that what i'm inferring between the lines? an inherent self-doubt in my own faculties? or can i be confident yet cautious? is that possible? or is the superstition of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, of setting myself up for failure more accurate? fuck that. i believe whole-heartedly in my ability, and yet at moments i waiver for whatever reason and am unwilling to struggle at length simply to prove myself some master of instinct, some champion of biology, the ultimate mother. i will do what the situation calls for and fall for neither a machismo independence nor a weakling dependency. i am, after all, what i am.


i am a birth junkie. as soon as i gave birth the first time, i was hooked. i read tons of books, always wanted to chat with pregnant moms (not that i come across them too often), love birth stories, etc. when we decided to try to conceive a second, i looked forward to being in it again, thinking that somehow it would be different than my first pregnancy.

and now i'm here and in a lot of ways it is different than my first pregnancy, but in a lot of ways, especially the emotional aspect, it's the same. i wouldn't say that i'm feeling depressed per se, but something feels sorta off.

when i would talk to moms-to-be while not pregnant, i would always want to hear about the truth of what they were going through, but it's really not what pregnant people talk about because it's generally not what people want to hear. people don't want to talk about the enormous change that you're undergoing - how it's changing your life and how you feel about it. people want to talk about names and sexes and ultrasounds and all the stuff that we preggos talk about. but i just feel there's something else here, underlying everything. it was there the last time and it's here again.

the truth is that i'm terrified of having two children. i'm worried about everything that could go wrong with the new baby. and i wish so badly that there was some way for our culture to recognize this enormous change that we are going through - before i'm 7 or 8 months along and am thrown a baby shower (or in some rare instances, a mother blessing ceremony of some sort).

there's something intensly intimate happening here. i look for my belly button to pop out and search for my linea negra and that feels real to me. that feels like the truth because it's about the physical evidence of my changing in a way that not fitting into my pre-pregnancy jeans is not.

i want so badly to understand how i feel about being pregnant. i have so many conflicting crazy emotions and yet i feel i have nothing to say about what i'm going through. i feel ironically paralyzed to describe or to understand or to have the language for the profound change and growth that i am undergoing. when i go out in public, or begin to think about me and my pregnancy in a public realm, i feel that it's discounted to a level of normalcy it does not deserve. i'm certain that it doesn't help that i'm a stay-at-home mom to begin with, so feel generally undervalued and invalidated as it is.

part of the emotion i cannot name or describe, that itch, that nagging in my brain, could be the baby itself - there growing inside of me, an individual. there's also a lot of it that's just about me. how i'm changing. how i'm growing. i have to encompass another person, another soul, if you will, and how does one really do that without being a god of some sort? how can i be bigger than myself? that's what this is. that's what i struggle with. learning somehow to grow outside my borders and finding myself irrevocably changed on the other side. what is that? it can only be spiritual. i am drawing up the energy of the world and it is more than me, yet i am so small. it's just too much to understand. the earth and the universe are tumbling around inside me and beyond me and somehow i swallow it and grow and grow and grow, yet can never fit everything. i am growing beyond myself somehow, yet coming back, overflowing who i am... it's like when the universe sprang out of visnu's navel. that's who i am - visnu lying on the bed of the cosmic sea...


week 15
i'm getting much bigger...
i've become so very festive. i decked out the mantle and the front porch with garlands. i've been burning christmas-scented candles every night, though normally i'm not much of a candle-burner and aleksander wants to blow them all out anyway. i'm feeling so very sentimental about the holidays, even though we're atheists. i can't help but love family and warmth brought indoors during the winter. i can't help but adore the magic of transforming a time so desolate and dark into a time full of life and light. the juxtaposition is essential for me. it will get me through the winter, and is, i think, even more essential now due to my highly emotional and volatile state. but regardless, i have gone a bit nuts. a friend's mother embroidered a stocking for aleksander a couple of years ago, and when i pulled out the holiday box, i discovered that it was the only stocking we had. so i went out and bought three more (one extra for the new baby) and embroidered jon and i's names on two of them. i also got the aforementioned christmas-scented candles. i did what is so appropriate for american's to do at this time of year - i spent lots of money for almost no reason at all. unfortunately, it did make me feel better. the tree, we saw earlier, here's the mantle...


our christmas decorations (what few there are) are in a box with accroutements of all the other holidays, so aleks was a christmas bunny:


at times my inadequacies are immense; the reach of my insecurities vast. and i know not how to quiet the voice inside of me, the ache for more than i am, for more than i have or perhaps even need. how do i quell the hunger for an image? how do i remind myself again that i do the best that i can, that we all do, that no one is perfect and few even really pretend to be? how do i tell myself that who i am is enough; that what i do is good, valuable, adequate? why can i not feel at every moment my own worth and know unquestioningly that the path i am on is the right one? or why can i not simply consider the alternatives without digging holes in my heart in the process? why can i not consider without judging? is it simply the language of our brains? must we categorize every tiny thing to be either good or bad, right or wrong, like us or different? are we not designed for nuance, for subtlety? because all i see in the world are people doing something more right than i do it. all i come away from any situation with is self-judgement, or conversely, superiority, and truthfully i'd rather feel neither as they leave me so empty, so void of value. i'm sick of feeling like i don't measure up to some impossible standard. more aptly, i'm sick of the impossible standards that i set for myself. where does it come from? what purpose does it serve? i want only for my children to not feel this, to know themselves worthy of love and confident in their choices. i want them truly to know themselves and to not second-guess everything at every turn of all the corners. it is exhausting to feel the weight of all that i am not so consistently. i am ready to be done with it. i am ready to be who i am without question and without fear.


psycho pregnant lady. qu’est que c’est? this is not how this was supposed to be going. there was a picture in my head of the ideal - the contented, glowing me, patiently guiding my two-year old through activities, but instead i do nothing and want nothing to do and am impatient and tired and aching. and today, as he limps around the house and we contemplate a trip to the emergency room, i am frantically packing for the weekend away and trying to distract him as he unpacks the suitcase and demands the tube of toothpaste and whatever else might catch his eye. as he crawls on hands and knees, one foot stuck out to avoid applying excess pressure, i try to be calm, gentle, the zen-mother, but instead say "no" five hundred times and become exasperated, nauseous and want only to lay down, to sleep. the pacifier has broken at the same time as possibly his foot and we are dealing with the absence of it, the unexpected weaning from it. i am relying on jon to be the parent that i cannot. i am not sure that it is working. is he really looking to me to instruct, to complete the task? must i always be on top of everything? it is just this moment of hurrying to get ready, i think. it is just right now. it will pass. but did i mention yet that i am tired? that i am ready and waiting to do absolutely nothing? will that day ever come?

how to break a foot:


i will blame you, the people of this country, if bush is elected. i will blame you for the undoing of every positive democratic measure of the last 70 years, the bankrupting of social security, the shipping of jobs overseas, the mass consumption of oil, rampant consumerism, mass homophobia, racism, the degradation of our forests, the collapse of all positive environmental policies into an oil regime, the destruction of everything that i believe to be good about america. and i will not go quietly into my hole and shut up about it. i will be loud and i will be obnoxious. i will blame you and i will stick my finger in your face for your misplaced values and your malshapen morals. i am pregnant with my second child and i want only for that child to have a world to grow up in with clean air and water and a social fabric that values life and appreciates diversity. i want so badly to remain hopeful, but at three in the morning i find myself in tears, filled with an outrage that i had not known possible. when all the world was full of possibility, this country bankrupted of a sense of justice folded under the weight of their own ego. what a disappointment you have become.


pregnancy-induced insanity is taking hold of me. i am at every moment not feeling quite well, but this is only the beginning. the brain is expounding upon every possible bad scenario there is. i have too much information available to me thanks in no small part to the internet so that i have heard and read so many stories of all that can go wrong so many times that i am checking my underwear at every trip to the bathroom for blood and wondering if the cans of soup i had for lunch this week will leach enough aluminum into my bloodstream to cause some irrevocable damage to my unborn child. the dreams have begun as well. the dreams that last time told me that i was pregnant in the first place are now suggesting that i could be having another boy. it is ridiculous to want for gender at all, but i cannot help the fact that i have been so longing for a girl that i decided probably before conception that this child was indeed a girl. provided of course that it's not twins, which is certainly a possibility considering the insanity that i spewed forth but days after conception and the theories that i articulated regarding the dropping of not one but two eggs and then of course the meeting of not one but two women with twins shortly thereafter (the day in fact before the first positive pregnancy test). and i decided long ago that if it is indeed twins (which of course i am hoping that it is not) that it will be one of each gender. having three boys would be disastrous, or perhaps i would just grow to love it. twins i do not want because of what it is that i do want - specifically everything that i am not currently imagining at every turn or every dropping of my pants to pee - the single, perfect child to heal all my past wounds. the birth of my dreams and the nursing relationship to confirm for me that i love to nurture and that doing so with my body is one of the greatest gifts there is. along with all this nonsense spinning in my head, i have also a host of symptoms that did not appear in my pregnancy with aleksander, or at least not to the degree to which they are now. and this heightened degree of things such as nausea which has, as i said, become my occupying force, are perhaps indicative of one of two things - 1) the old wives' tale that it is a girl or 2) that i am indeed having twins and all this heightened misery and the incredibly early positive pregnancy test confirms that my hormones are more insane than a usual pregnancy due to the additional fetus telling my body to make more hormones. this is of course all mindless rambling and i should really stop.


nausea has nearly incapacitated me. i do nothing most days. i don't think creative thoughts, i don't write, i don't clean, i don't get dressed. i sit and belch and chew on toast and hope that this will pass. i am tired and i am hibernating. forgive me.


face off tonight between the boy wonder and "the emporer from star wars". hope john rips dick a new one.


my stomach turns and my womb quakes, stretching, becoming again a warm ocean bed. inside me is the beginning of the world, the moment where the wheels and cogs of existence started their organic whirring. the splitting in two of cells and the meeting of proteins, the spreading of plasma and tissue and the construction of an organism. and what to say of the change that happens in my heart? the falling in love so quickly with the unknown, the unseen, the only imagined. it is a feeling i could never have imagined nor can ever hope to describe accurately. i am a life force at the moment, even if i am a little weakened by it, my mood faltering, my belly queasy, my head sore. i am still the great mama, growing in a perfect symphony my perfect child, untouched by the outer world. it is such a miracle and i am ever grateful for whoever it is that has chosen me as its mother.


a sudden stillness. i am strangely and suddenly at ease with my life. despite our financial scares, despite aleksander's addiction to his "nanoway" and the television, despite jon's abrupt expulsion away from home and into a stack of books, and despite the current political climate, i am feeling a bit of peace . is it the calm before the storm? or merely a rest in my usual journey? if there are any thoughts, they are of a reflection of myself and the question ringing slightly in my mind of why it is that i judge myself against everything that i see and enter the realm of self-loathing so easily. is there some social conditioning that i cannot at this moment pinpoint that tells me that i am never good enough, that i must always look around, outside myself for the truth of life, the correct way of being? was i somehow raised to second-guess everything about myself from my hair and my clothing, to the art on my walls and the things that i create? i suppose honestly it is there. i can find it and point to it in a variety of locations. what else are we to do in life but to judge immediately upon arrival whether something is good or bad, like or different? and then there are all those media sources telling me constantly about what is beautiful and what is delightful and fabulous. and i buy into it. like everyone, i buy the hook and everything else. i swallow this bullshit whole and then apply it back to myself and realize that my home is not beautiful enough, my skin imperfect, my car not silver enough, my money too little. and it is the authentic me perhaps that is constantly battling all this, trying at every turn to convince me of my worth. and what am i worth? will i ever know? will i ever get the opportunity to write off the world and pat myself on the back and tell myself that i am doing just fine as i am? will i ever stop these exercises in self-annihilation? the picking up of people magazine, or the assessment of someone else's home, or the reading of the websites that tell me how horrible my diet is, how wrong i am to do so many of the things i do... i cannot even read a book without trying to determine if my writing is on par with the author's. i hate so much the competitive urge in me. i want to learn for myself how to be zen, how to appreciate the journey more than the outcome.


aleksander throws his body about the bed, trying to get comfortable among his sweat. the night is humid and hot. he is falling asleep and i have finished the last of many library books, which sit beside me scattered in the twin bed nestled between the full bed and the wall - the bed that is intended for him, but that sleeps jon most nights. he moves again, this time from head down, feet up, to head up, feet down, parallel to me. still not comfortable, he crawls, eyes closed, flopping his body lazily onto my torso. he climbs half over me and i'm wondering if he's waking up to get to the books, but he stops, rests his head on my shoulder, and i open his legs more fully to allow him to sleep comfortably upon me. his arms hang, do not hug. and i wonder, what is this? is this mothering? is this what it is all about? being a human bean bag? and of course the answer is yes. i am being used in the truest sense. and what occurs to me as i wait for him to be fully asleep, is that how i think of this is how i think of myself as mother. am i being taken advantage of? certainly. i am being used as a bed. but what does it mean? it means that i am comfort embodied - a good place to sleep. i am being put to use. i have a purpose as that which lulls one into a peaceful state, as that which is secure and unspoilt. i am a sanctuary unto my child. and this is not merely some selfless act that i commit for the well-being, or the well-sleeping of my son. this is a mutually beneficial relationship and he is possibly bringing more to me than i to him. by putting me to use, my body, my breasts, my womb - my son is giving me meaning. he is honoring with physical practice the intent of my biology - not only to harbor, but to nurture. what a gift it is to wholly sustain another, for i am not floundering, wondering which wall to lean on, but am standing upright and bearing the weight of the future. i am gifted myself from the load that i carry. i am proven to myself of my worth and my strength. and i ask, is there anything more right in this world?


like a ton of bricks it hits me, and i am fallen, crumpled, trampled, folded into myself, the ball of me in fetal position, cradling myself to attempt in vain to comfort. i am suddenly saddened by yet another other's positive pregnancy test. and it makes no sense. i am not there yet. i am days away yet and there is waiting yet to do. why do i feel so suddenly my heart broke in two? i think perhaps it is some happy news that i have not felt in so long now. i cannot remember the last compliment or the last good thing that happened. i cannot recall when last i felt overjoyed by anything, when good news last struck me hard in the chest and lit me all aglow. when is the last time something good took me by surprise? when is the last time anything at all made my day? i should be so lucky, i suppose, to have aleksander here, making me fake laughter at his tickles, or as he calls them "tickies". but of late he calls me by my first name, particularly when he wants something. and of late everything is new and challenging and none of it is interesting. of late everything is worrisome and troubling. needing to complete the transitional errand-running and now, having finally finished, the check engine light comes on, reminding me of our huge credit debt from moving and surviving and how there is no money for a car repair and there is no money for a car payment and there is no money even for rent because the additional debt we requested via the student loan took a week-long detour. it's no wonder i've spent so much time online lately debating the merits of welfare and also working on the understanding of feminism and my place in the world - it's no wonder because everything else is worse to look at. it's no wonder that i need and welcome the distraction. and it's no wonder that i'm up late and everyone else has been asleep for an hour while i wait for a reply to anything i've posted anywhere, to know that my thoughts are at least not to be mistaken for lonely in the world of cyberspace. it is no wonder as well why i am suddenly feeling so incompetent as a mother again after all that pep talking i did for myself in recent weeks. why can i not be so perfect as to not cook with white pasta - it has all those awful sugars in it that cannot be digested properly, you know. why can i not be so perfect as to practice elimination communication instead of merely doing a wimpy cloth diaper? and why, even having used cloth diapers, do i insist on the ones that leave the mark on my poor baby's skin? why do i not instead research and pay for a better cover? why am i so imperfect as to sit here and self-obsess, losing sleep over myself, being drowned by my own narcissism when instead i could be dreaming? i do go to sleep to dream, and perhaps that's the best answer for my dilemma.


finding myself back where i started. as always, feeling out the holes in my being, figuring what should fill them, and being, as ever, confused about the matter. considering these days what i should do with my life, having thought momentarily that motherhood could be enough and realizing now that though i view it to be just about everything, which it is in so many ways, it is also very much not enough because you cannot converse, for instance, with a two-year-old about the depths of your thoughts the way that you can with someone much closer to your age. nor should one really be inclined to impose that sort of discussion on one's children. and the depths of my being includes things that go above and beyond potty training and "peter pan". honestly, my thoughts are usually completely self-absorbed, hence the blog, but these days i don't mind it so much since i have suddenly been called to the awareness that the thinking part of me and the part of me that is about art or about things other than diapering has been crushed of late between diapering and drooling. motherhood can be so oppressive, and i don't really think that it's supposed to be. of course, i could rail incessantly about the institution of motherhood in this country and how unsupported it is, especially when compared to say, sweden or denmark. however, that's been done before, hasn't it? and it's quite privileged nonetheless, isn't it? to complain about how much we're not supported as white, middle-class mothers (though of course, i am not really middle-class at the moment, i am stark-raving poor, though you wouldn't know it to look at all that i have, but that's america, now isn't it?). but of course, that's what the invention of the middle class has afforded us - time to stop and realize how much better we could all have it, time to realize the oppressiveness of the patriarchy, or of the oppressiveness of the government, or the class system, or capitalism. regardless of all that, the point that i was getting to is that i am feeling squished under the weight of my responsibilities, even as i am planning to add exponentially onto my workload with the addition of another child, i am feeling quite oppressed. i really have begun to remember what it was like to have autonomy and have subsequently begun to miss it. ah - autonomy. how lovely it all seems in retrospect, when clearly, i also remember, and can be reminded quite clearly by the blog itself, of how lonely it was, how miserable i was with no direction, nothing to fulfill me and no clue as to what i should be doing instead. and then mothering came along and distracted me from the quest for meaning and fulfillment. of course, now i have something that fulfills me, at least part time. i need to strike out again and find the things that interest me and bring me thoughts, real live, grown-up thoughts and maybe a little creativity thrown in for good measure. and i'm not talking about thoughts about the upcoming election, or the situation in iraq or israel, or whathaveyou, because i have plenty of thoughts about all that and those thoughts just fill me with anger and hatred and are not particularly fulfilling in a deep soul sort of way. i need to find an interest, a career, if you will. beyond blogging. though blogging does offer it's own unique fulfillment. i need to - and please pardon the cliche - find myself. oh self, where have you gone?


to be poignant about what it is that i do and why is the weight upon me at the moment. to say how it is that i see this is spinning in my thoughts, the complexity of my motivations and the never-ending questioning of what they are, where they come from and how i can come to understand them or even to discover them. how i can come to understand myself, to unearth myself from beneath the images spilled into my head from out the books and all other forms of media, to unearth myself from beneath my history and the processes of my journey and the everyday and the confusing and the confounding. to unearth myself from out my mothers and my fathers and my sisters. to unearth myself from out my grandmothers and grandfathers. from out my ethnicity. to unearth myself from beneath each role and each archetype i posses or each that possesses me. to unearth myself from out myself and the ghosts of myself walking around me, the multiple dimensions of each choice made at every moment in an infinity of choice-making, the ghosts of my fifteen year old self who can still think that the kid in the newest version of peter pan is cute, the ghosts of my three year old self, wondering if the heap of old lady in the alley is dead or merely drunk, the ghosts of my twenty-one year old self, crying, fighting with my husband, trying to find truth and meaning and beauty in life, and perhaps even the ghosts of my future selves, all spinning inside my head and trying desperately to make the correct decisions with each moment, each choice before me so that i spend the best amount of time doing the best that was given to me and the most fulfilling thing possible always, constantly, despite the inconveniences it causes and knowing perhaps that really the choices made are the most convenient, the least disruptive and the easiest made, or alternately, no choice at all... but where do i find me? where am i hidden? is it true that i might be more satisfied elsewhere, doing more, doing less? did i make the decisions that have brought me to where i am for the right reasons? am i selling myself short? the question more precisely: did i arrive at motherhood, or did motherhood arrive at me? did i choose to be a stay-at-home-mother because that was something that i truly feel is a calling for me, or did i choose to be a stay-at-home-mother because it is what is best for my children and really, i hate work and would rather not have to go back? more precisely, barring those early years, do i intend on staying home for as long as i do simply because there is a lack of other options? will i find fulfillment? i truly do not like to make a game out of putting the groceries away. i do not sing songs with a smile on my face. i am not thrilled with my two-year-old's behavior most of the time. i can not muster the care bear strength to do all this and do it without complaint like some martyr to motherhood. but - is that okay? is this pressure that i feel to be the perfect mom who bakes and gardens and sings raffi songs and reads stories all day long while serving up organic, whole foods and sewing my own organic cotton diapers - is it reasonable? is it really what i want at all, or is it merely the perfect mom heroine in my head who births perfectly and breastfeeds perfectly and disciplines perfectly and never has a bad word to say about it? is this some fiction that i created, or did it come from somewhere else? how do i cut her off at the knees? i can never hope to aspire to that. i feel nearly done reading discipline books and scouring the electronic fields of mothering for the answer to my problems. i feel like what i do naturally is probably good enough. more importantly, i feel that what i do naturally is my best and that to strive for much more than that is setting myself up for failure. i cannot, i do not think, retrain my brain to do without words like "no" or to not get annoyed or upset. i can only attempt to not yell, as i have been doing the last six years with my husband. and what i am finding aids in this best is to lower the bar dramatically. if i do not feel the pressure to be the perfect supermom all the goddamned time, then i am much more able to get through the day with my two-year-old without wanting to strangle him (much). motherhood really does change your life - it makes you loathe the creature pulling on your leg, whining, and wonder why you ever did this in the first place (though of course, not all the time, just most of it).


nope. not pregnant. can't see why i thought it would be so simple. of course, there were a few factors that stacked the odds against us and i know that it's all for the best and we'll probably just succeed next month. but it's so hard for me to ever have hope. i shirk at the word. i know that if there's a "maybe" in my life, that it almost always means "no". but i do have some amount of control in this situation. i'm feeling really well released from expectation at the moment, for what it's worth. bah!


being a stay-at-home-mom means that i don't get a whole lot of pats on the back for the things i do. no, "you really handled that situation great" or "what a healthy snack choice!". not that people who work get encouragement like that either, but they do get feedback. i remember bosses saying, "let's do this" and i'd say, "how about such and such" and they agree with my idea or say, "better yet, yes" or what have you. that's feedback. that's positive reinforcement. i always knew when my bosses liked me and i always did better work when they did. nowadays, my boss is a two-year-old who doesn't like anything that i do. i don't have "colleagues" at the moment since i just moved to a new city, and i'm not feeling like my family much gives a hoot or can remotely understand what it is i do all day. i come from working women. fierce, independent, single-mother working women. they just don't even get what i'm doing. or maybe they can only see it as something to envy, or they think that somehow it's easy since i don't have a job. i don't know, but i just don't get encouragement from anywhere these days. and no one seems to understand the passion with which i parent, being the hip, attachment parenting-mama that i am. no one gets that when i'm on mothering for instance, i'm doing research for work. i'm working out all my issues all the time so that i don't royally screw up my son. not that that won't happen anyway. i'm forever working on how to be the best person i can be, and right now i'm passionate about motherhood because that is what i am doing. i can't be as laid-back about my actions as my mother can because i haven't resolved myself to only doing what i already know how to do. i'm convinced that somehow i've got to improve upon what i know - get better at mothering. like going back to school for a master's degree or continuing to do weekend workshops to stay abreast of my field, i am obsessed with doing this and doing this right. i mean, i'm not all that obsessed. i frequently remind myself that i do what I know how to do and that when i know better, i do better. problem is, i keep learning all the time.


today's dose of crazy. i feel pregnant. at five days past ovulation.
quite tired from fighting with jon/crying last night. i should not read threads on mothering anymore. there is something wrong with me. i hate birth stories. i hate reading about breastfeeding. of course, i love it, but the birth stories, especially ones that somehow end with everything being right with the world with a perfect babe in arms, make me cry, make me remember my own birth and how it was perfect, but not perfect, how all was not right with the world, but the world was filled with injustice and confusion. if i read about the convenience, simplicities of breastfeeding, i am reminded of being unable to nurse alex. i suppose that i feel very proud of all that i have done - my birth, my pumping for 13 months, and yet at times all i can feel is not confident or proud of how i dealt with all that's happened to me, but beat up by it. how do i shift my thinking? when is it going to stop being about me? is it really only sometimes and that's okay? i'm scared. even as i want so bad to be pregnant, i am terrified. i am so afraid that everything won't be perfect (which of course it won't) and i'm afraid that i'm putting too much into wanting the perfect birth and the perfect child and the perfect nursing relationship to heal what i've lost, to somehow prove that i can do it because somehow i've failed. and the guilt that results in feeling like a failure somehow leads around to feeling guilt for feeling that way - like, it's not about me, stupid, it's alex's life now, he's the one who will have to deal with it; nothing happened to me, it just happened. then all last night i dreamt that alex died and it would hit me suddenly, "he's gone" and i would fold under the weight of it, sobbing in my sleep.


potential. am i pulsing with potential? glowing with potential? blood-pumping, life force potential. potential for changes and for new beginnings and for rebirth and for life again and for myself again swollen-bellied, achy, tired, exhaustion set-in potential. arms wrapped around cradling self and husband and family potential. the potential for everything is but days away from an answer. i am questioning how i feel about everything because i am feeling so much about everything. i am terrified and ecstatic, confident and apprehensive, certain and yet doubtful. i am imagining perhaps the pulsing, the cramping of new beginnings, a uterus unfolding. i am imagining perhaps the tender breastedness. i am imagining perhaps the magnified appetite. i am awaiting dizziness and nausea. i am awaiting uncertainty and the possibility, the potential for anything. and then i am again reminded of the potential for perfection, even as i remind myself that it is such a silly thought, that nothing ever turns out how i imagine it to. and isn't that the point? to be open and ready for anything? to follow the path as it unfolds, in a sense unquestioning, even as there is an open-ended awareness and a sense of preparation for the impossible. am i? is it? could it be? am i even filled up with anxiety about this? not particularly. there is a general sense of calm as well as a general sense of thumb-twiddleyness. a waiting. an anticipation. a waiting waiting waiting. i am waiting for my potential to be fulfilled.


summertime. mosquito buzz, faraway hum of a lawnmower, melting ice cream, screen door slam, a sprinkler inching back and forth, bird twitter, corn dog on a stick. where have the lazy days of summer gone? why do i feel already the need to put in order, to prepare? i am picking up furniture for the new apartment, making order of electric company phone numbers and health food store locations. i am waiting. yet again, i am waiting. i am trying to figure out how to think, or what there is to think about. i am too focused on small ideas, the mundane, and not taking time to consider much of anything. i am feeling good. i am feeling not at the moment so engrossed with my intellect however, and starting to wonder when the last time it was that i spent time learning and thinking and coming up with new ideas. and yet here i am planning to get pregnant in but a few more days and then i have a feeling there will be no more thinking. pregnancy does something to your brain. makes everything fuzz and everything exhausting. i suppose that now that i have child(ren) that i must live vicariously through them, experience the world through his eyes that light up at almost anything at all. realize that while playing with the hose this summer that he is playing with the hose for the first time so that spraying the dog or grandpa or the sidewalk is infinitely engrossing. he has not become so jaded as to be bored, sitting on the steps waiting for his son to finish. he does not want to spend all his time in front of the computer or in front of the television. he wants to run in the grass, try to touch the bees and try to stomp on them despite having once already been stung. he wants to feed the birds and scatter the birdseed all over the patio, smash ants, try to look at the sun, hit the dog in the head with a wiffle ball bat. he wants to chase chickens, scratch in the dirt with a stick and let the nectar of peaches drip all over. he is immune to the irritations of stickiness or dirtiness. why can we not retain that? will everything from here on out be old hat for me? is there nothing left to become intensely excited about? ah, yes... pregnancy. birth. parenthood. the last frontier? i certainly hope not.


i am trying to release myself from the burden of expectation. i am trying to let things go how they will without the burden of having too exactly planned, but with the wisdom of preparation. i cannot seem to see where it is that i am wise and where it is that i am foolish. my actions cannot be read like a book, showing and articulating where it is that things went wrong and why, or alternately offering an explanation of the existence of things as they are or the revelation of things as they are. too often there are questions. questions about my motives and questions about my emotions. why is there jealousy and hurt? why is there peace and understanding? which is which when? how can i learn to identify correctly and adequately where i am at, how i am dealing, what it is that i am feeling and why? how can i learn to identify correctly and adequately the things that i do as correct or misplaced? i suppose what i am asking is what is right? and how am i doing in relation? i cannot see it while i am in it. the benefit of hindsight is so amazing, really. i can see how the outcome of preparations to conceive is to birth in one moment, but in the next how the preparations are all for to mother. you forget once you are in it, how you dreamed of the word "mommy" and how you imagined tangibly holding onto the scent of a sleeping babe. i forget that i cannot truly savor things appropriately. i cannot be thanked appropriately or respect myself appropriately or even do it right all the time. i can only always try. and the most aggravating thing, perhaps is that there is no good way to evaluate how i am doing. either at mothering or at being. so even as i am trying to learn how to unburden myself from the responsibilities of expectation, i am unaware if i am being at all successful or if it is even possible. am i at peace? at this moment, do i know peace? or am i merely at this moment a little tired, a little dreamy and wistful? i cannot know. but i am not at this moment bothered by that because perhaps i am just a little tired. or maybe a lot peaceful. the inner struggles are at times utterly ludicrous.


duplex. friday we went up to visit jon's family and then over to cleveland to go house hunting. we found an apartment yesterday and move august first. it's the first floor of a duplex in the coventry area of cleveland, right near jon's new school. it's got hardwood floors and washer dryer hookup in the basement, two bedrooms, a large front porch, a bit of a front yard, a small patch of grass for a backyard, large living and dining rooms, large closets, a garage, leaded glass windows, a nonoperative gas fireplace, glass enclosed bookshelves on either side of the fireplace and glass cabinets in the dining room. it's old, but clean and we're pretty excited about it.
anna peeking in
taking a picture of myself in the entranceway on the closet door mirror  

living room       

living room windows (leaded glass) onto front porch and yard  

alex in dining room (note glass enclosed cabinets, swinging door to kitchen) 
dining room opposite angle

kitchen cabinets 
(the refrigerator was in the middle of the room due to painting)     



linen closet built-in

bedroom number two

bedroom number two closet (right side built-in)

tower of pancakes. this morning i made pancakes. silver dollar sized. and this especially for jon:


considering my son's nose in the mirror, i see finally just how crooked it is, how the whole left side slants down, covering the nostril, leading down to the scar and the tightened, knotted lip, raised where it should not be, the two halves connecting incorrectly and i am overwhelmed by sadness and anger and the injustice of my life, the way my body failed me so... i am dying to try to have another baby just to prove that i can do it, that i can make a whole person and feed that person as i was intended to and nurture and cradle that person how i wanted to with alex, but was prohibited from. i am so jealous of all the perfect babies out in the world and the perfect mommies who can do so easily what i could not do at all. i remember when he was born, how i tried to nurse and couldn't and how he screamed at my chest. i remember how the two sides of his upper lip could move independently in ways that were not intended by upper lips to move. and now, i am reminded of this every time i brush his teeth and the inside of his upper lip is so tight from the forced connections of tissue that it is hard to reach his upper teeth, let alone see them. and at the moments that i do get a look at his teeth, there is a tooth that slants sideways and back because it is in the hole where nothing should be and just to the left of it, there are no teeth at all because there is no gum at all. every night at bedtime and every morning after breakfast as i say, "brush teeth" and he repeats and points towards the toothpaste and the toothbrush, "teeth, teeth," i am reminded that there are surgeries yet to come and orthodontics reminiscent of medieval devices employed by barber surgeons yet to come and rhinoplasties and implants and god knows what else all yet to come. all this tells my heart is that it takes but moments to set in motion pain and suffering enough for a lifetime...




considering my son's foot this morning upon waking, i took in the toenail and the toes, the peachiness and the plumpness. for now there are no freckles on his feet, no moles, no scars, no hair upon the toes, but one day, there might be. one day, when he is older and no longer my baby cradled in my arms. and i will no longer consider his feet and spend time considering if there are freckles or hairs, long or short springing from the knuckles of the toes. i will no longer wonder over each inch of his skin, looking for new freckles sprung up. at the moment, at last count, my son had six freckles: one on the back of his right ear, one on his right elbow, one on his left wrist, one on his left cheek, one on his anus, and one on the top of his right hand below the knuckle of the middle finger. will there come a day when all i consider is him, who he is, his personality, and no longer the wonder of skin and muscle that i created out of the magical, unseen division of gamete cells? it is such a soft, tender thing to know my son so well, to hold him close and smell his hair, kiss his head. i do this everyday. it is the joy of warm summer days filling me up, of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies still warm from the oven. it is a first kiss and the knowledge of true love. and every single day i get to feel this by simply holding him and rocking him to sleep. i am nervous of when the day will come when he will be too big for my arms and will no longer be so peaceful, but roughed and tumbled up by the miseries of life. my son, his human form, as the physical expression of my heart beating outside of my body is astonishing to me every single day.


my husband now has a master's degree. i don't have a degree at all. a week ago, he graduated. now we can leave montana. i leave on tuesday with alex. we're flying back to ohio and leaving jon to pack up the truck and drive it across country. a friend was supposed to help him, but he broke his leg and so we had to get my little sister's ex-boyfriend to fly out to help. they should have a fun trip, actually. except for all the moving business. i didn't have to move the last time at all either because i had just had a baby. i did have to travel out here in a car, but my mom did all the driving. i sat in the back with alex. he was such a tiny thing back then. back when he had that gigantimongous hole in his face. when i think about it, i miss not being able to nurse him. it was so devastating for me. i still cry when i think about it. especially when i think of other people doing it successfully. i just get all jealous and resenting. fuck them for being able to breastfeed perfectly. i don't know who annoys me more actually, people who choose not to breastfeed, but are perfectly capable or people who have absolutely no difficulty at all. i hope beyond hope that everything goes well with our next baby. i'm getting so excited about trying now. i think i have a pretty good idea of when i'll ovulate in august. i'm sort of banking on the baby being late, so i'm counting forty weeks from conception as opposed to the way that professionals estimate a due date by going from the first day of the last period. which means that a pregnancy is actually thirty-eight weeks and not forty, but in my case, i think it will actually be forty weeks like alex was. i'm pretty sure of aleksander's date of conception, so i feel pretty confident that his due date was correct, but that i carry babies a little longer. i know that with subsequent babies, it has a good chance of being different, but if i did it that way then we won't get two opportunities to conceive, but just the one. if i ovulate when i expect to and manage to conceive immediately, then i will be due around the beginning of may. also, if my anticipated dates of ovulation are correct, then i will get a second opportunity to attempt conception for a due date range that is reasonable to our expectations. i can't wait. i was around all these pregnant women today at the blessingway of a friend. it made me want to be pregnant again so badly. i love pregnancy. i know that i complained the last time, but overall i had a very simple pregnancy and my body handled it beautifully, so i fully expect for that to be the case again. i've got to find a better way to handle morning sickness though. i'll stew on that. a friend recommended these ginger candies, but they're pretty darn spicy. maybe i'll just buy tons of ginger brew, which is less spicy, but made by the same company that does that candies. i'll also definitely buy the wrist bands this time around.
here's a picture of jon after graduating. he's on the right.


not everyday is a struggle. but everyday is exhausting. my bones ache and my skin feels heavy, my muscles sag. i have so much work to do, but it's not necessary to do it this minute, so i am waiting. it's been cold here. i can't wait to leave. we leave on the twenty-fifth. i am ready. i am ready for it to be warm and for alex to have a yard to run around in. today i bought him really really expensive rain gear. i made sure that it was big enough to last him through next spring, when he'll probably actually get some use out of it. the boots have frog faces on the toes and are adorable. the jacket is terry-lined and really warm. he was wearing his boots around this evening while naked. he's naked all the time, really. he's been unpacking the boxes that i've packed. he takes out all the packing materials from the packing material box. so there are now little bits of styrofoam peanuts all over the kitchen, under the washer and dryer, littering the linoleum. i should sweep. it is not immediately necessary, however, so it can wait. i am very tired. alex is asleep now, so i can go to bed. he's been going to sleep very easily lately. it's been nice. every few months he changes his patterns. before this, he had been fighting sleep for a very long time and we were having to find all sorts of activities to get him to sleep. this is much better. it is nice to not have to struggle with him.


we did it again. alex was much crankier the second time around. but the art came out beautiful. we watched crap tv, ate organic frozen dinners and made art. what a life.


alex and i painted together for the first time last night. i've always had this quaint image in my mind of painting with a child, them working on some small corner while i paint on the rest of the canvas. our experience was not quite like that. i spread two drop cloths on top of one another on the floor in the living room, got out my paint box, got some water and my rags and changed my clothes. alex mostly runs around naked, so i didn't have to worry about him getting paint on his clothes. i got a canvas and started spreading paint on it. alex came wandering in from the office where he was watching his father play video games to see what i was doing. then of course he began helping. his work was pretty good, but then i needed to figure out how to get the painting away from him in order to keep him from working ad infinitum and messing it all up. jon recommended that it needed more blue. i should never listen to jon. i saw what he was getting at, but once i gave alex some blue, he began to muck the whole thing up. so then i had to wipe most of the blue off and start over with pink and red and yellow to go back over it. eventually we both had paint in weird places on our bodies (neck, head, him all over his butt), so jon took alex kicking and screaming to the bathtub while i tracked paint onto the carpet (bottom of my foot) and then cleaned everything up.

alex examining his work


my husband has all the digital photos that we have on this slide show that pops up as our screensaver. it just randomly goes through all the digital pics we have - which, there are hundreds since we got the digicam when alex was about two months old. sometimes we just sit and watch the slideshow go by. sometimes amidst all the photos of alex grabbing at the camera or him sleeping or him covered in food, a photo from when he had one of his surgeries will pop up. there's a particular series from his first surgery that i took of him and the room at night with this dim orange light highlighting the midieval-looking metal crib he's in, the humidifier blowing on him, the machines all blinking, hooked up to him under the blankets that he's covered in from head to toe. in his mouth is a nipple with the tip cut off and it's taped to his face so that his mouth stayed open so he could breathe since the swelling and the tylenol with coedine really depressed his ability to breathe and babies don't naturally open their mouths... every time i've seen that lately i've started thinking about how i should have been holding him. i attachment parented from the beginning, but i've recently realized that i wasn't able to bond with him the way i wish i had in those early months. i've started to feel guilty about this idea that i could have been a better mother to him when he needed it most. i'm trying not to put a whole lot of weight into this idea, but it's there. i hate so much the fact that i missed out on nursing alex. i hate so much that i am everyone's prime example of breastfeeing dedication just because i pumped for thirteen months. i hate that alex's teeth are all fucked up. i hate that his scar has not formed as well as it should have. i hate that i have to consider when his next surgery will be when deciding when to have another child. sometimes i hate other mommies that i meet or that i know just because from here it looks so perfect and unfair. i think about all the things i could have done differently, that i could have done or not done to prevent this from happening to him in the first place. which is why it so important for me to carefully plan the next child. which is why i am spending all this time thinking about it, making plans, obsessing over something i'm not even going to be doing for a few more months. i just need it all to go right this time because it's too hard and unfair and i don't want to spend all my time hating. i need to feel my life for all the good in it, to see it. i do and i can, but it'd be very very hard for me to fail at making a whole person and it'd be very very hard for me to fail at nursing again. i know that i'm not a bad person. i know that i haven't done anything to deserve this, and i don't even believe the world works that way anyway, but it doesn't stop the ringing in my head, that little nagging feeling of guilt, of suspicion. i'm just scared and nervous and it's hard. but then, what if everything goes right. well hell, i don't even know...