Sunday, October 02, 2005

Selective Memories

Mom called today to see how I am feeling, and to make sure that I am still pregnant and didn't actually give birth and somehow just forget to let her know.

I would like to take this moment to point out that, while my mother is a very lovely person, she refuses to visit us in California because, well "we're the ones who left". Yes, 'we' did leave. Both dh and I are the ONLY ones from our families who left the state (the state of Pa, but I like to call it the state of agony) to lead lives 3,000 miles away from our relatives. And now, forever more, we must pay for that sin. Even though it was 18 years ago for me (21 for dh) and I thought that was what one did when one grew up. So, mom only visits when people die. And only then if she is heavily sedated and guided onto a plane by a trusted relative whose knee she can clutch for the six hour trip. Nobody comes to visit us from out of state when we have babies, not ever. I even said to her a few months ago, "Well, I'd ask you to come out and help when THIS baby is born, but I know you won't, so I won't bother to guilt you." My unguiltable mother answered quickly. Prefaced with the ever-predictable, "Well, you're the one who left." This was followed by, "Besides, you'll be coming back east [for the holidays, damn us, we already got the tickets to feed into the maternal expectations that we owe it to them] just five weeks after he's born, so we'll get to meet him then!"
Speechless. (that would be me)
Umm, yeah mom - because that's what it's all about. Making sure you'll get to meet him. Never mind that carrying or giving birth to a child after having one die in my arms is a uniquely anxiety-provoking experience through which I would love to garner a little - just a little - bit of extra support. Nope. Business as usual with mom. See you when you get here.

So, back to today. I assured her that I am still pregnant, promised her I would let her know when I go into labor, provided the time I do actually go into labor is suitable for her time zone, and updated her on the week of fun and 'close ones' that my uterus and I had.
Then I got just a little bit whiny and said,"Ooooohhhhh, I am getting SO nervous about that pain of childbirth again! The contractions. The unyielding fight between my abdomen and lower back than can end only in my cervix DILATING TO TEN. I am freaking out about all that reality all over again. And the STRETCHING. MY GOD THE STRETCHING AND THE BURNING AND THE PUSHING!" (yes, I was raising my voice at this point, getting myself a bit too excited with the vivid memories of the last two)
And mom said, "Well dear, maybe this time you'll have a delivery like mine and it won't hurt." At which point she regaled me - again - with the tale of how, when I was born she 'didn't feel a thing' until it was time to push. And how lovely it was to push, and what a beautiful and painless experience it was.
With disgust I retold the entire conversation to dh just now. And he said, "Yes, and maybe 39 years from now, you too can have a memory like your mom's and smugly tell everyone how childbirth didn't hurt YOU a bit!"
I love that guy.

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