Hunger, Fatigue and the Looming Concerns of ParentingBy Nikki Igbo
Published: May 27, 2015
At 6 months and 1 week along, the idea that I am going to be a mother looms ever larger in my mind with each passing hour. On Mother’s Day I felt as if I’d been welcomed into some special club with each “Happy Mother’s Day” wish. My husband and I have started to refer to each other as “Mommy” and “Daddy” which somehow feels as necessary as it does comical.
The more I contemplate my role as a parent, the more I agonize over the state of the world. How will I explain class or race or wealth or sexuality or religion to my son? What can I do to make sure that he will not feel some sense of entitlement, that he will have compassion and understanding for his fellow human beings? How will I instill a sense of pride in him while cultivating the importance of humility? I think of all these parenting issues, and then I get hungry for apples or tater tots or chicken pad thai or plantains.
I’m beginning to almost welcome the physical roller coaster of pregnancy because of how much it keeps me from worrying about the psychology of raising a child. I cannot change the world around me but I sure as heck can cook myself a big pot of rice and stew. I cannot solve the issue of poverty or income equality but I can find the bathroom I need an average of 12 times a day. I cannot cure the world’s diseases but I can definitely surrender to a much-needed mid-afternoon nap. I take my prenatal vitamins. I practice yoga positions to relieve the pain in my tailbone. I take the time to appreciate my lack of stretch marks and hemorrhoids.
As I sat through my first child birthing class, I also began to appreciate my unique set of circumstances. Out of the other 15 expectant mothers seated around the classroom, I was the one with the latest due date. A few of the ladies were due in as little as three weeks. Hence, as we watched a film which outlined the early, active and transition phases of the first stage of labor, I began to laugh at myself. Any of those women with June due dates could have walked out the door, lost their mucous plugs and began contractions. Our instructor’s children had come six weeks early! I had plenty of time to obsess over giving Junior the talk on the importance of education. While I sat there marveling at the miracle of birth, those other women were visibly disturbed by the part of the film where the baby’s head emerged from between her mother’s splayed knees.
Surprisingly, the pain of childbirth doesn’t scare me nearly as much as the thought of raising a horrible kid. I once passed a kidney stone. Now, that was pain. And by chance, if the pain happens to be similar to passing a jagged mineral through my ureter, at least I’ll get a baby out of it and pretty good pain meds to boot. Conversely, a horrible kid will grow into a horrible adult. Most of the issues of this world in which we live usually can be traced back to an overabundance of horrible adults. I’ve got a responsibility to my family, community and the world not to unleash a monster onto Earth.
Please let me be a good parent. A loving parent. A stern parent. A wise parent. A responsible, even-keeled, good-humored parent. The baby is kicking again. I think I need some pie and ice cream.
Don’t miss out on Nikki’s pregnancy journey. Check out the previous articles here: Part 1: From 2 Miscarriages to Positivity, Part 2: Pregnancy Worries, Fears and Prenatal Results, Part 3: A Few Notes About My Unborn Son’s Personality, Part 4: Recognizing The Exquisite Gift of New Life.
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