Sunday, March 17, 2013

On having a daughter.

This second pregnancy has been smoother, faster, and healthier.  I feel less chaotic and psychotic than my first, in which I did a lot of crying, a lot of yelling.  I wasn't nearly this balanced with Elijah, and suffered from pretty profound postpartum depression (if you've read my blog before, you may know this).  My psychosis and anxiety ran so deep that it was one of the only reasons I considered not going through with a future accidental pregnancy.  I had a deep fear of myself after what I went through with Elijah, and so the way this pregnancy has gone is a sigh of deep relief.  

When I found out, I immediately connected with the little rose bud inside of me.  I smiled mistily in disbelief and gratitude, and held on to the belly that lingered from this one's brother.  That day, I put myself on a path to ground myself in wellness (which I have done better with at times than others) and self appreciation.  I've been able to connect with this light body inside of my belly in a demystified way that can only come with the veil having been lifted through the birth of a previous child.  This second pregnancy is profoundly different.  I've been so grateful.

But now I am terrified.

Elijah predicted this.  Of course, I'm not surprised that my utterly intuitive three-year-old knew the nature of this baby- he's been nothing but gushing over his "baby sister", but I only indulged him.  I could care less, or so I thought.  After all, I didn't with him.  With him, I thought I wanted a girl, and when he was a boy instead and I realized the joy of mothering a sweet little man, the whole thing became arbitrary.  And theoretically speaking, the sex of a baby makes not a damn bit of difference.  I'm not interested in the cultural indoctrination of gender.  

But suffice it to say, at the risk of political correctness, the reveal of this baby's sex, one that happened due to my aforementioned ambivalence and the excitement of said three-year-old, has made a drastic shift in my perception.  Due to a combination of several factors, including an intensely unhealthy relationship with my own mother, my spiritual beliefs regarding the power of women, and deeply held political ideologies, the weight of having a daughter is heavy to my soul.  My ex mother-in-law always talked about how much "easier" boys were- how they always loved on and supported their mothers- but how daughters would tear your guts out without even blinking, how vicious they could be, and I would laugh knowingly, looking back on my relationship with my mother and how awful and vicious I was to her, the deep anger I held and acted out toward her and how aware I was of it without caring at all.  I was deeply wounded as a child because my mother didn't have a "mother" of her own, in any known sense of the word, and so no examples were given her of stability, of emotional availability or gentle nurturing.  

So these deep fears have come up, and I'm in the private process of bracing myself not against a wall, but against solutions, tools.  I am a gentle mother to Elijah, despite having put him in the unfortunate position of being "motherless" for part of the time, so most of the fear of myself as a mother has no place.  But the chain remains unbroken- my mother and I are taking our own chips at it but it really is much bigger than us sometimes.  It's a long lineage of resentment, jealousy, and just plain meanness.  I feel like I'm going to be too tough on her, that I'm going to be awkward and unavailable, or conversely dependent on her validation of my worth as a woman.  I'm afraid of being ripped apart and being simply not good enough.  I can't imagine a greater vulnerability.  

And now the pressure is really on.  All of the ways I've been meaning to embody The Mother, the great goddess or what have you, can no longer wait.  I've been able to put them off until now.  But raising daughters, I believe, is serious business.  It's a scary world for them, and there's so much healing to do.  (It should be noted, of course, that all forms of motherhood, and parenthood for that matter, is serious business, and I take raising my son no less to heart, but my feelings are clearly so different.  Elijah has taught me the depths of compassion that must be opened up for him as a future man in the world.  As much as I wish it weren't, this is much different.)  

I wish I didn't feel a distinction.  I wish I could just raise my children in their fully appreciated selves without regard to what I thought to be arbitrary news.  And really, still, at the end of the day, I could give two shits about having boys or girls (in the way people want one or the other).  But the emotions in me are undeniable, and for the sake of future vulnerability, honesty, and heartfelt discomfort, here they are.  

I have faith that all of my children will be fully realized versions of the beautiful beings they are sent here to be.  It's just scarier than hell to know how much of that rests on me.  

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