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5/31/2004
Questioning
 

Coming in close, at the very end of the month, with my WordGoddess collab. Last minute? Me? Well, maybe a little bit. Anyway, this month I was "put to the question" by the lovely Jen, who was assigned to interview me. (For those who are curious, I was given the opportunity to interview Laura, and I did so right here.)

And away we go!

What prompted you to start online journaling? Do you regret it at all?

I think it may have been Zannie of zannie.com (who appears to no longer be writing at all) who got me started. I was working as a receptionist at the time, just teaching myself HTML as something to do in my spare time, and I was a member of a listserv for women thinking about trying to conceive. Zannie joined the list, I followed the link to her journal, and the rest was history.

Of course, she wasn't the only one who got me started. On her link list were Heather, Melyssa, Jolene, and many others who inspired me. As for whether I regret it, the answer is not at all. I've met so many people through this journal, and it's wonderful to have a resource which I can consult to find out just what I was doing, thinking, or learning at any given time. It's been invaluable.

What is your favourite part about being pregnant? What part could you absolutely do without?

My favorite part has to be feeling the baby's movements. Also, and please don't think I'm a crazy loon for saying so, I loved labor and birth last time around. I'm not talking about those crazy two weeks of prodromal labor, of course. Once the actual show started, and Sam was on his way, it was the most incredible experience of my life, and I'm actually looking forward to doing it again. If that makes me insane, then so be it. I think I'd have felt differently had the whole thing been a medically managed situation, as many of my friends have had; I really felt like I was the one in control of the scene - or perhaps it was the power inside of me, outside of my own conscious abilities - and that made all the difference.

You recently moved into a new home with your family. What has been the best part of the move for you, and what has been the worst?

The worse is being here, away from everybody I know and love outside of my own little immediate family. I know less than five people here now, and that's painful. I can't seem to get started on my own life here, and I can't figure out why that is.

The other awful thing has been the discovery of so much that's wrong with this house. Every time something new goes wrong - the basement leaks, despite what the disclosure says; the sump pump broke; the dishwasher doesn't actually clean dishes, etc. etc. etc. - it makes me want to just pack it all up and move back to Ohio.

The best part is that we're in a wonderfully stable situation, jobwise and moneywise, for Eric. He just got another raise a week or so ago, and it's been a great blessing to be able to get that. He's beginning to really get into his new job, and that's great for him. It also means I can relax a little more about this unexpected pregnancy and the fact that I won't be diving back into the work force anytime soon.

What do you like to do in those rare moments when you have a bit of time to yourself?

Surf the net. Take a long bath. Read a book (I'm enjoying some great Harry Turtledove at the moment). Go for a walk with Sam. Knit. Nap.

You had to deal with fertility problems when you were trying to conceive your first child. If you don't mind sharing, I'd like to know a little more about what you went through, how you dealt with it, and what brought you through it all.

Well, those people who've been with me through the whole ordeal can probably recall the year-long roller coaster of emotions I went through. Every month, it was the same: optimism and determination for a few weeks until I ovulated, then two weeks of wishing and praying and generally going nuts with making myself believe that I was pregnant, right up until the day I found out otherwise. I don't claim to be the expert of these matters; I used herbs and such, but we never used the allopathic medicines and procedures that some others have needed. In the end, it was really a shock for me to find out that the issues were with Eric's fertility instead of my own; I was sure that the problems were going to be in my perpetually contrary body. Luckily, we were finally able to conceive on our own once we experimented with our timing to take into account Eric's smaller sperm count.

The real heartbreak came much later, after Sam was born, when I learned just what had been happening to my marriage through the whole ordeal. The whole while I was hoping and praying and doing everything I could to try to improve our odds, Eric was pulling further and further back from it all; he didn't talk much at all about how he was feeling, but he was beginning to resent it, and me, more with every cycle. It took a long time to heal after Sam was born; in many ways, we've never been the same since then. The whole process really polarized us.

Thank God for Sam. He's been a huge factor in the whole recovery process. Eric may have been upset with me, but Sam was the key to pulling him through the turmoil and the fear.

What is your favourite book ever? Why?

Ack! I have no way of answering this; I have different books that I love for so many different reasons. The book that has moved me the most and given me the greatest food for thought has been The Fountainhead, which I go back and reread every couple of years and which teaches me something different every time. I highly recommend it to every person who is or has ever been involved in the arts or other creative fields. For sheer entertainment, I have to choose the entire Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan; I couldn't pick a single book from the series, as it's just too well-integrated. As far as non-fiction goes, my mind is currently wrapped up in Birthing From Within to the point where it's hard to think of anything else. It's a childbirth book, of course, so it's only really relevant to me at certain times, but during those times, I live and breathe by it.

What is your absolute favourite part of motherhood so far?

I love learning more about the person who Sam is. He's been this person since birth, of course, and he's constantly adding to and developing his personality. Exploring that person, learning more about what makes him tick, and watching him as he faces each day and each new experience - it's thrilling. It's doubly thrilling to see him glow with joy in himself, and it's the ultimate thrill to know that this sparkling little person came from me.

You're obviously active in your church. To what faith do you assign yourself, and why?

Well, that's up in the air at the moment. When I was growing up, I went to a very charismatic non-denominational church, the kind where the worshippers speak in tongues, fall to the floor, and wave their arms in the air. In college, Eric and I swung hard in the other direction, and we spent many years attending Episcopal churches. That came to an abrupt halt when we suddenly found ourselves at sharp opposition with the doctrine that the priest was beginning to speak, and we knew we couldn't continue to attend. I'd rather not get into exactly what the issue was right now; suffice it to say that it was an integral part of what Eric and I believe, and the church seemed to believe otherwise.

After that, we searched around for a while again, and we found ourselves a new home in another non-denominational church, only one that was more conservative in the manner of worship; we had the same "rock band" style of music, but the worshippers confined their body movements to a much more tame clapping and swaying. That was very important to Eric, and it felt more natural to me. The message, of course, was the most important thing, and we found a good fit for ourselves there.

And then we moved. We're searching once more, and we have yet to find a place that screams "home" so far. I don't think I want to go back to the liturgical denominations, but I haven't been happy with anything else I've found, either. It's almost as hard to leave a good church family as it is to leave one of flesh and blood.

I consider myself a Christian, and I leave it at that. I'm not fond of the ways in which we tend to divide ourselves, making mountains out of molehills. My mother-in-law refers to only the Church of Christ as "the Christian church," and it makes me nuts. As to why I believe, I just do. I feel God's presence around me, I know that He cares for me, and I can't help but have faith that He's the reason I'm here and why I should be alive in the first place. It sounds simplistic, but so is breathing.

It's no secret that you love music. What is it about music you love so much?

It expresses the inexpressible. Compare a spoken eulogy to John Corigliano's Symphony No. 1, a memorial to some of his close friends who have died from AIDS. You can protest violence with words, or you can write something like The War Requiem of Benjamin Britten. When I was writing art songs in college, I found incredibly moving poems, and I used music to unlock them and show the soul hidden behind the words themselves; music didn't just accompany, it danced with the text, creating a work that was greater than its parts. I don't know how it works but I'm elated to be a part of the process. I think I wouldn't be who I am without that experience.

Sam's birth was rather unique in contrast to the conventional methods of delivery. Can you describe it to us and why you chose that method?

Sam was born at home, under water in a pool in our living room. (The full story is here.) As I mentioned before, I loved the ability to be in control of my own birth as much as possible. Of course, there were still things I couldn't control (the weeks of prelabor, for starters), but I was able to be in charge of how I would respond to those things, and it was invaluable in making Sam's birth a positive experience for both me and for Sam. Nobody forced me into decisions with which I wasn't comfortable; nobody made choices for me based on a hospital's risk management policy. That was really the key to why we chose to have Sam be born at home; we wanted the birth in our hands, not those of a malpractice lawyer. It worked out beautifully, and I'm eager to go at it again.

Can you describe yourself in three words? How would your husband define you? Your son?

In my words: optimistic, scattered, creative. Eric would probably say: flighty, unrealistic, unconfident. Sam: Food source, playmate, happy.

previous one year ago:
I'm now beginning to dread packing.
two years ago:
In a roundabout way, I've come to the question of why I write at all.
three years ago:
So much for intuition, and so much for all the thoughts we may have had about this being a "May Baby."
four years ago:
Now she was her mother, reading to her husband the stories he remembered from her childhood, as well as new ones that she'd discovered in the meantime.
next
In the ears:
The sump pump (will it ever stop raining?)

On the Bookshelf:
American Empire: The Center Cannot Hold

Gratuitous Sam

Sleep sitting

Playing tractors with Daddy

More tractor fun



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