So, I mentioned a couple posts back that I’d explain why I kinda left Deke in a lurch a couple weeks ago and didn’t have my “weekly” post in for once. Well, the hubby and I were kinda excited about something and had a lot of calls and stuff to make. And now that I’ve told everyone else (starting with my son and daughter, working through the core relatives, out to the relatives I only see every few years for reunions, and then to my friends and then co-workers and then, finally, the mail carrier), I can tell you: The hubby and I are preggers. Well, okay, only I’m pregnant but I’m dragging hubby into whole new territory with this third (and final! I mean it! I want one more and only one more! Please God no surprises when I hit 40 or 50!) child, so I figure he might as well be tied to me in this and get pregger status too.
So, what is different with this kid, why should you care, and what does it have to do with this post?
Well, I’m kinda concerned about what this is gonna mean for my churchgoing experience once the baby pops out. We flit between three or four different churches, with one in a pre-eminent position for us most of the time, and I think all of them are going to pose challenges for me with child #3.
Oh, sure, the folks will oooooh and aaaaah over the growing belly and all that. But this child isn’t going to be like the rest, and no church I go to…heck, no church I’ve ever been to, seems to be equipped to deal with the neo-hippy way I plan to do boy-or-girl three.
You see I’ve been workin’ hard to be a healthier person. A less polluting person. A better mommy. Etcetera etcetera. I didn’t feed kids #1 and #2 a ton of junk and I didn’t slap their behinds red very often or nothing like that. But I do recognize that kid #1 got the short end of the stick because I was young and foolish and didn’t have a great marriage going, and he got a lot more junk food than he should’ve. Kid #2 was born into a happier household and I had begun to discover the wonders of organic and (more important) locally grown food and such and I was a bit more mellow on discipline, although butt-whoopings did occur at times.
But this time, I want to raise my child in a way that makes me feel really good about my choices and that will (I hope) allow him or her (still don’t want to know gender. must resist temptation to have ultrasound tech or midwife tell me…) to grow up in a very positive way. Breastfeeding all the way until at least 1.5 years old, maybe 2 years old. Cloth diapers. Toys that are mostly natural products. Gentle discipline. No TV or videos (I hope) during year one and maybe not until he/she is two. Maybe that sounds hippy dippy to you, but it’s important to me.
But I’m not sure my main church or backup churches are going to be so down with me on this. Particularly the breastfeeding. Now, despite laws protecting the right of mothers to breastfeed in public and give their babies what God (and nature) intended them to consume, a lot people still get freaked out when a mother puts child to breast, no matter how discreetly she does it and even if no one ever sees that damn nipple. Now I’m not into to rubbing the breastfeeding into other people’s faces (get your dirty minds off that track right now) and I did a mix of breast and bottle with kid #2…but people shouldn’t get so bent about what is a very natural thing. Somewhere along the line, corporate America convinced us babies were supposed to drink formula, and that’s wrong and cheats the baby of a lot of stuff it needs to grow healthy. It’s also expensive and wasteful and environmentally unsound.
Nowhere do I expect to get a bigger cold shoulder with breastfeeding than at church. And I can tell you already what’s gonna happen at most of ’em. I’m gonna have to go into some little room or into the basement to do it, and I’ve gonna miss a lot of the service, and I’m gonna wonder why the hell I bothered to come to church at all. Because God forbid I be in the back of the church with a blanket over my kid’s head letting him/her get a nice healthy dose of God’s brand of baby food. Why men and women in this country cannot ever think of the breast as something non-sexual at times is beyond me.
And that got me to thinking about what the future will bring when it’s time to put my kid in the nursery…or if I even want kid #3 in the nursery. Are they going to really listen when I tell them my rules for how the baby/toddler needs to be fed? When they should come and get me out of sthe service? Whether they should let him/her cry for an extended period or not? I know that I’m going to tell them what they are supposed to do for my kid, and I know they mostly won’t care. And I know this because I dipped my toe into some neo-hippy stuff with kid #2 and got a lot of thinly veiled shock and passive-aggressive resistance any time my rules differed from what everyone was force-fed as the “only way” when they grew up. And I’ve seen a handful of other breastfeeding and alternative parenting mothers get the same stank eye treatment. And if a baby is in the sanctuary and starts to make any noises, boy, do some people give you looks for not having gagged junior before entering the church and for not being able to get out of the pew 2.5 seconds after noises begin.
And it’s sad because I’d like my “church family” to be supportive of my desire to raise a healthy and happy God-fearing kid in the way that (most) of my biological family is. Instead, I’m going to be pushed out of the camp like a menstruating woman in Old Testament times and left lonely at church for much of my child’s early development most likely. And that’s going to make me wonder how much my church folks love me, really.
(I wonder if I’ll look as good as Salma Hayek in that photo when I’m that big this time around? Nah, I’ll look better…and if I don’t, dear hubby better say I do anyway.)