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beginnings. [May. 24th, 2015|08:06 pm]
[Current Mood |thoughtfulthoughtful]
[Current Music |walking on the moon//the police]

i thought i'd be better at writing here or elsewhere during the last nine months. i remember coming to LJ often to record my thoughts, especially during times of confusion or transition. it was an outlet on which i could rely, a way of connecting with friends and just getting out my feelings. i guess FB is the place to do that now, but you can't write entries like this on FB, can you? and if you confess too much, you're berated for "getting too personal" or not being "professional" enough.

i guess i haven't been writing here because i've been writing The Beast, aka the dissertation, and that is quite enough writing for one person to take on, thankyouverymuch. still, i've missed the intimacy of LJ - which is markedly more intimate now that hardly any of my friends write here or keep up with each other's lives through this forum. and that's fine. even if this is just for myself, pretending i have an audience keeps things a little bit neater, maybe, and makes me think things through a little bit better. that's the goal, at least.

i could write longhand in an actual material journal, but like almost everyone i know, i'm way faster at typing. writing longhand makes my muscles cramp up. a sad state of affairs.

anyway, so i thought i'd be writing here over the last nine months, as the time has marked one of the absolute biggest transitions in my life.

i'm about to become a mother.

everyone says i already am. and for sure, all my decisions the last nine months have been centered around Z. and what she needs. what's weird about that is that i thought it would feel like such a sacrifice. but it doesn't. and that's not because i'm some kind of noble maternal creature, either. i just feel like my body is really fucking smart, and has told me point blank what i should and should not eat, drink, do, etc. some things i've had to look up, of course, but for the most part, my body has just sort of known and, like a really slick salesman, has made the rest of me - mind, heart, little tastebuds - willingly agree to the prescribed regimen. so it hasn't felt like much of an adjustment, to be honest. no, i've finally just checked in with my body and found that it is way more spectacular than i'd ever given it credit for. way to go, bod. you are awesome.

so yeah - i've been pregnant for nine months. over nine months, actually, because may 18 was my due date, and now it is may 24. whew! but that has been, well, really wonderful. there were some scary moments at the beginning, and some intense pain about halfway through. but Z. kicked ass and made space for herself. and walked a lot and slept more than i ever have, and felt strong in my body and soul. but it felt so natural that it's hard to think of myself as a mother as i am right now. for me, i think, the turning point is going to be seeing her face for the first time, telling her her name, and holding her against me.

that, i think, is when i will really feel like a mother.

as of now, i just feel pregnant. and pregnant is good! i've never felt more beautiful or competent in my life. i thought it would be much different. oh, expectations. or at least, anticipations. i could be as wrong about when the feeling of "motherness" will set in as i was about what pregnancy would feel like, couldn't i?

anyway, these nine months have been full of transitions - getting bigger, feeling Z. kick and roll inside me (what a glory to be someone's first home! i could never have imagined how honored i would feel), and thinking a lot about how i want to raise her, what sort of guide i'd like to be.

i don't have any answers for that, except that i want her to feel secure, grounded, and empowered. how i'll help her to feel those things remains to be seen. i've heard that people just make it up as they go along, and, despite the deluge of parenting advice i've read/heard/been subjected to, i'm inclined to believe that is the case. a doctor told me that if you get it "right" 33% of the time, you're doing great. that's an actual number. that doctors go by. and it sounds like that might be a realistic goal.

so in the midst of all these thoughts about Z. and what i want to give her and who i want to be for her, i've also realized that there are parts of myself with which i really need to reckon. i'll probably get into these more in the coming days and weeks. or maybe i won't. i'm a fickle blogger, obviously. but there are things about me with which i need to come to terms, things i'd better well work on sooner rather than later, patterns i'd be happy to break before she can trace them out.

this is not to say that i expect, or even want, to be perfect. but i could stand to be a fair bit better than i am. it's going to take some conscious work, and some rewriting of my script.

in the midst of all THOSE thoughts, or actually right smack dab in the middle of them, is another change: i'm finishing my PhD. my committee has a draft of the full dissertation, which clocks in at 270 pages, and is not yet finished, nor have i bothered to compile the works cited bit. i'm not proud of this document, but i AM proud of the work that went into it. i started from literally zero when i began this program nearly eight years ago. i've built an international network, put myself out there again and again to learn and grow and understand, spent money i didn't have to explore and to learn, and risked a lot emotionally and physically in the course of it. this is not to pat myself on the back. well, okay, maybe it is. i spend so much time disparaging my work and how different i wish this dissertation were, and how much better i expected myself to be. but then anders reminds me of aforementioned work and progress, and it doesn't seem too shabby. most importantly, i connected with some downright fucking beautiful people. those ties do not fray. i'm so grateful for the chance to do what i did.

and this is all well and good, and i am glad that i have moments (few and far between, but still they are there) when i feel like a bit of a badass. (this is definitely one of the qualities i'd like to value more in myself, not least of all for Z's benefit.) the thing is, i don't know what's next. and that scares me.

in the course of being pregnant, i've had a lot of conversations with my mom about these anxieties - about how i don't want to lose myself by being a stay-at-home mom, etc. and at some point she said, "sometimes i think you think i gave up by staying home." i didn't want to hurt her; that wasn't what i was thinking of or what i meant at all. then this weekend i realized that our situations are quite different: when i was born, she'd been a nurse for several years. she loved her job, felt competent, and had a professional identity. she had rewarding work that she could go back to. i'm still in grad school, have no idea what is next in my academic career, or, honestly, if i even want and academic career anymore. very different experiences. i told her this today, and she said, "you have a point. i never thought of that."

anders reminds me that in denmark, being a phd candidate is the start of a research career. it's a legit position, and is treated as such. it's not studentship, but rather is a professional post. so, he says, you've been working on your career in an entry-level position for the past eight years. that's a good place to be.

i like this sort of thinking.

i am also a bit of a control-freak, and so am finding this kind of thinking hard to embrace when i feel that i am staring into the void. don't they say that things come in threes? well, my void is the vastness opening before me in terms of motherhood, career, and home. because not only am i becoming a mother and finishing a phd with little idea of what comes next, but i am also moving to denmark come september. threes.

and yet, i have to say, i'm glad it's happening all at once, in a way. protracted change can be a bit harder than just jumping in from a great height, stark naked and screaming.

more on this next time, perhaps. a little note to myself on where i want to go with this train of thought: process and progress. and trust. and myths about accomplishment and success. and putting one paw in front of the other (even, perhaps, if you don't know the trail at all).

[User Picture]From: countlibras
2015-05-28 12:18 am (UTC)
anders sounds like a smart man. :)

I really don't know how to express how happy I am for you. Well, not about the dissertation... I can only imagine that it's stressful. I think Z is lucky to have you and anders as parents. xoxo
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: bitchy_vegan
2015-06-09 03:49 pm (UTC)
Wow, I haven't logged into LJ in ages, and I get to read this. Of course, you've had the baby now and I hope all remains well. I'm thinking of you and your awesome famil!!!
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