Ruth on the Little Bird

Ruth brought up the pregnancy at the visit—she wanted to know whether I was okay to talk about it, which I am, and then we did, on and off. It also just sort of came up a few times, like when she asked whether I have a cold; I explained that it’s just the pregnancy, and Nora said “Yeah, remember when my friend’s sister was pregnant? It’s like she had allergies the whole time.” (I did manage to avoid using the phrase “pregnant lady rhinitis,” which is what I always call the symptom but also terribly undignified.) Ruth seemed worried that I would be comparing the boys in a way that wouldn’t be good for me—that, say, if the little bird ends up being a lousy sleeper (unlike Cricket), that I will blame myself. This isn’t something I’d worried about, myself; I was a good sleeper, and my sister Tammy was a screaming, colicky nightmare baby. I tend to believe that, assuming that you’re loving your baby and meeting his needs, most of the rest is just the kid being the person he is. I was cheerful and easy at home and totally unable to deal with strangers as an infant, and Tammy was sleepless and howling at home yet a charming, smiley baby around town. Of course I’m hoping that the little guy sleeps well and is a happy baby, but I don’t think I’ll blame myself if he isn’t. I was listening to a podcast about adopted kids and RAD and connectedness, and the expert was talking about how a pregnant lady’s stress can destroy the fetus’s ability to connect with people once the kid is born, and it just made me so mad. Pregnant ladies have plenty to feel guilty about (sushi, sleeping on their backs, diet coke) without having to feel guilty about the fact that their guilt could be poisoning the baby.

Where was I? Right, talking about pregnancy at the visit. Ruth did talk about the kids being siblings, which was in line with what she’s said in the past but was still reassuring to hear now that it’s really going to happen. She offered to loan us a piece of baby equipment, and I declined in a friendly way—overlap of that kind would freak me out pretty badly, I think. Ruth told me that they’re now planning to go back into the pool when Cricket turns three; he can’t really ever just chill out for half an hour unsupervised at this point, but her friend’s three-year-old can, so that seems like a good time to start waiting again. I was glad to hear it; I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but one thing that seemed a bit creepy about this pregnancy was the fact that they had been planning to go back in the pool when Cricket turned two, and now I’m due two weeks before his second birthday, and it all just seems a bit contrived in a horrible, sitcom-y way. Now I am not ignoring some kind of hint from the universe, and that makes me feel a bit better.

When I was pregnant with Cricket, I was pretty sure that I was supposed to give the baby to someone else. I mean, why would I have gotten pregnant if this baby wasn’t supposed to be a gift to someone? And he couldn’t be meant for me, or else things wouldn’t be so hard and confusing! And my parents wouldn’t be upset! And my boyfriend wouldn’t want me to have an abortion! It was, um, not my most logical time, and after the last weekend visit my then-boyfriend-now-husband lay in bed grieving, wishing we’d never placed our son; I don’t believe anymore that I’m supposed to be able to pick up hints from God about what I’m supposed to do. Now I have to work out what to do myself. But when the stars appear to align, it still has the power to make me unhappy.

6 thoughts on “Ruth on the Little Bird

  1. I am glad Ruth is able to ask about the Little Bird, and that you were able to talk about him with her. I too hope you get a happy baby that sleeps well – it seems like such a crapshoot, but if anyone deserves that it is you and the Mister.

  2. Julia and I have been talking a lot about “God meant for it to happen” thinking because people use that a lot in the special needs community, too. I just don’t think God is that mean.

    • My Catholicism has always had a streak of masochism running through it, and that did affect my thinking about adoption during the last pregnancy in some weird ways. Happily, I now agree with you; I don’t think I got pregnant because God wanted me to have an awful learning experience.

  3. I’m glad you were able to discuss the little bird with ruth.

    I totally agree about not making pregnant women feel even more guilty about anything. when K was pregnant and feeling especially depressed, she started to worry about the effect on the baby, which made her feel worse. babies are quite resilient little beings.

  4. I don’t know that I think horrible things are meant to be, more so that sometimes, they are. And then we have to figure out how to live with what hurts.

    It really sounds like a much better visit for you. I hope that’s the start to a trend…

  5. Just now catching up on my comments but it’s fabulous 1) that you and Ruth talked about the pregnancy, 2) that she recognized Cricket and the little bird as siblings, and 3) that you felt at ease nicely turning down the loaner. All these things are wonderful. The third is good for the reason you mentioned (the overlap feeling freaky). And, there will likely be times when you want to politely deflect Ruth’s parenting tips, and it’s always good to build comfort in that regard.

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