Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Learning about the labor

So this past Saturday, the Ash and I attended our first birthing class, an all day affair down at yon hospital where, if things go as planned, our kid will be born into this here world of ours. Should you ask me if I learned a lot that day, the best response I could give would be an enthusiastic "Hoo-boy!" Yeah dude, the stages of labor, what to bring to the hospital, what to do during, how the non-pregnant partner can actually help instead of just being an obstaculary mass of shrugging mumbling flesh...these are things I now have a grasp on. And the videos, oh my friends, the videos. We saw lots of videos of lots of women having lots of different labor experiences, and they showed every last bit of it. Talk about a turtle poking its head out.

It really gets you to thinking, you know? About the event itself, the labor and the ultimate birth, and what an accomplishment that all is. Yeah, I know, women have been giving birth for thousands of years, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it's an amazing event. When you actually see these women going through these edited for video labor experiences and how much effort and focus and work goes into it, and the prize at the end, well I can't speak for everybody, but as for me, I couldn't help but see it as anything but a massive achievement.

I'm big on achievement. It's this thing with me. If I'm not accomplishing, I start to feel kind of crappy, as in I start to sort of freak out. If I'm not creating, doing, making, or heading towards something, I really start to get down on myself. I have beat the living shit out of myself on more than one occasion just for letting myself relax and just be. And not just myself, but others too. I've been guilty of passing serious personality judgements against people that I deemed to be lazy or even worthless because they didn't seem to care about things the way I did. And the thing is, even though I knew then that people are all different and that that's a good thing, it took me a long time to see this as yet another difference between people: not everybody cares for the same things or in the same way that I do. And what's more, that's OKAY. The dude over there under the tree that looks like he's just sitting there smiling may be on to something that I can only hope to grasp at.

It's something I know now, but that I have to remind myself of (or BE reminded of) every now and again. And as we draw nearer and nearer to the birth of my first child, I think about it again. I have only an inkling right now of what my child will be like personality-wise. I base this inkling on his various reactions to sounds, voices, various stimuli, how active he other words, very little. But when that kid comes out, he will be, as a friend of mine who has children put it, "as human as he'll ever be." And while there are expectations sometimes that children will share certain personality traits with their parents, I'm figuring out that these expectations aren't necessarily well-founded. Parents are an influence, to be sure, but mere observation shows that a single family can produce wildly different personalities that can all live and interact under the same roof for a long time. Which is just fucking crazy, you know? And I'm realizing that I don't want to love my kid because of what he accomplishes or the trophies he brings home or the prizes he wins or whatever. That stuff's great, sure. But as his father, my job is to love that kid just because. Because he is, not because of what he does. And oddly enough, even given my attitudes of the past, when I think about my unborn child, I feel amazingly well-equipped to do that.

Now ain't that some shit.

No comments: