Friday, October 26, 2007

Me... a mother?

The last couple years, I've been part of a project called A Mother's Story, initiated by a local actress. She was asking other actresses to write the stories of their mums, living or deceased. It came at a really good time for me, as I was growing into the role of guardian for my mum. And as I wrote the story, I realized that there was a lot about her that I didn't know. We never really talked about her personal history. My mum was of the West Indian ilk who instructed and complained to her children. We didn't really have a "friendship". She was the parent, I was the child, the end.

So I concentrated on how our relationship is at present. Another actress suggested we "collage" our stories and that turned in to a staged reading with about 25 of us, reading parts of our collectives stories. Then this spring,we put on A Mother's Story at a stage downtown for Mother's Day. We served tea and cakes before the show to everyone. The show was sold out 3 weeks before we did it. Then another performance this fall at a Unity church as a fundraiser. It's always emotional, funny, touching and serves as a reminder for us all that motherhood is extremely powerful. My mum has been in the audience on two occasions. I can't look at her though or I lose it. She told me she's proud of me.

After the show, I usually get asked by an audience member if I have children. I always smile and say no, and change the subject. Strangely enough, I never get questioned as to why I don't. Maybe it's the look in my eye or something, I don't know.

Next spring, I may answer yes to that question. Sometimes, in the midst of all the concern about money, social worker visits, books to read and courses to take, I forget that I will be a mother one day. I've never really felt like a mother to be, my lovely dog not withstanding. The closest I've ever come to that was I was swollen up like a beach ball after egg retrieval.

What if a birth mother chooses us and we find out it's a boy? I kinda want a girl. We both do actually. What do I do? Say, "No thanks" like someone is offering me a stick of gum? What's the etiquette for this? I have no idea.

What if I can't produce enough breastmilk? Oh, don't even get me started on adoptive breastfeeding. I went to a site that had so much friggin' hardware to go along with it, I freaked out! And you don't want to know what my hubby thinks of it. I told him my boobies were going south whether he liked it or not. I think he's terrified because he's seen my mother naked (not intentionally of course, but sometimes dementia patients don't feel like wearing clothes, heh, heh).

What if I don't know how to make it stop crying during teething? I don't think they approve of brandy on the pacifier like my mum did. I don't think my mum can help me out anymore.

I don't know what's in the baby aisle in the drugstore. I've always avoided it. Unless I need Q-tips.

Jeepers, I've got a lot to learn. That means I'm going to have to go in a baby store and actually look around. I'm kinda freaking out about that, too.

I wonder what story my little kid will tell about me? Or the birth mother? Oh, man.


Anonymous said...

This is such a positive post. Thank you. I'm not feeling so strong these days, so it's good to read something from a person who is actually seeing a not so distant future that includes a baby.

A story to tell... this idea gives me chills. One day our children will tell our story. Once day, perhaps soon!

Pamela T. said...

Given all you've been through I think you're very courageous to participate in A Mother's Story. It sort of reminded at one level of a baby shower on steroids -- not just focused on talk of pregnancy but the whole cycle of motherhood. Tributes aside to my own mother, I'm not sure I could have opened myself up to hearing all about what I was missing from other women -- and getting the dreaded question about my personal experience with motherhood.

I have no doubt you'll roll with the questions you raise here about coping with a child. After all, you've shown such great maternal instincts with your own mother! Thanks for sharing...

Teendoc said...

About the adoptive breastfeeding. You need to understand from the outset that you are not going to produce enough breast milk for the baby's total needs. Just accept that reality. Only rarely do people produce full supply. For most people the goal is 4 ounces/day, enough to give good antibody protection.

As for hardware, besides a breastpump and a lact-aid, what else do you need?

Deathstar said...

This isn't the site that I saw, I don't remember where I came across it, but it was something like this.

Teendoc said...

Even when I look at the stuff on that page, it still comes down to a breastpump (and connector kit) and that is all you need from there. You can find the lact-aid on the lact-aid site, but mostly everything was already part of the breastpump and connector kit or is not at all necessary.