Posted on March 28, 2012
I have wondered if I’ll ever have the ability to be nurturing. My mother’s idea of nurturing was to sing “mama had a baby and her head popped off,” at me on a daily basis like a lullaby. She was a lioness who ruled with a wooden spoon and scared living shit out of anyone who crossed her or any of us in her brood. I’m not going to sit here and tell you she was a horrid example of mothering … she wasn’t horrid. She was different. She was powerful. Put it this way, you don’t get a woman like me without some abnormal ideas of how to raise a baby girl. Thanks mom. To tell the truth, she was terrified of having a girl, period. When I popped out, sans penis, she must have said a silent prayer and hoped I could manage raising myself. Well, I didn’t raise myself and now I am my mother’s mini-me and if this baby in my tummy is a girl she will undoubtedly one day wonder, “Can I be nurturing?”
My husband and I had our twenty week ultrasound this past Friday. Lioness flew out from my hometown and Bestie tagged along because I was secretly (and not so secretly) hoping I’d finally get to see her cry. We all expected, I think, to experience something powerful and emotional … and raw, if you will. However, oddly it wasn’t particularly emotional. For starters, I’m sorry but those ultrasounds are damn uncomfortable. I swear some of those technicians take their direction from Satan because the way they drive those devices that scan your bellies into your abdomen … come on. Get turned on by pain do you? Oh you don’t say! Besides that, having your pants rolled down so far that your crotch shows is always a good look on a pregnant lady. Do we tend to that area whilst being pregnant? I don’t, and any woman that does is no friend of mine, let me tell you. I often joke with my husband that I’m always one of two possible things: hairy or lumpy. He laughes but never denies it. During my ultrasound I proved this week I was hairy.
Anyway, moving on. We all stared at the screen watching the little thing squirm and move around just enough that the tech couldn’t grab any decent screen shots for my records. Twenty weeks old and already stubborn like mama. Lioness was the only person in the room to ooh and aw over it, Bestie and Husband acted similarly which was expected as I’ve discovered over time that they are like siblings and very similar in disturbing ways. As for myself, even as I tried to see it as a miracle (that is, a miracle that everyone says that it is) I couldn’t help but think, “My god, it is creepy looking. My kid is a skeleton. I’m having a nightmare. Please turn on the cute before emerging from my area. Dear God.” The pictures my tech printed out were even worse. I almost couldn’t bear to look at them. I shoved them at my mother and said, “Here take them, they seriously freak me out.” She laughed, she thought I was kidding.
Here was a moment that in the movies, changed lives, softened the hardest of stones and gripped the heart strings of every woman – for me, just didn’t do it. Where was that warm feeling I was supposed to experience? Where was the need to meet that little Mexican jumping bean and the palpable shift from functioning solo to nurturing mother? I wanted to worry about it, but apparently I’m too callous to worry. I saw my future but I couldn’t muster an appropriate emotional response? Perhaps nurturing isn’t the only problem here. It is possible I am a robot. (Though, this would please my space-obsessed, cute-computer-gaming-nerd hubby as he would assume I could now be controlled by him. Horny microchip engage! Nagging microchip disengage! Need sleep? Power down wifebot!)
Maybe being nurturing was overrated, I thought while I was driving back home on the highway one afternoon, after the ultrasound debacle. Obviously people survived mothers who wore the ‘tough love’ mantra like a suit of armour. Perhaps tough love was a way of nurturing a child in its own right. Thinking this, I felt a little better about the creepy Mexican jumping bean inside of me. As fate would have it, the radio station that littered the background noise with mellow beats, finally played something I needed to hear. A favourite song of mine came through the speakers and I immediately unconsciously grabbed my belly and turned up the volume to a level that I’m sure penetrated me both physically and metaphorically. I said, “Here you go, baby. A song just for you sweetheart.” As the music pulsed through me and I tapped my belly lovingly, before I knew it I was weeping. Part of me let go and I smiled, I sang along. Turns out, sometimes it’s not the image that does it for you. It is the reality of what that image means to your life.