I’ve uploaded the first two articles in a series about the natural birth of my daughter (now 19 months ago).  I always wanted to get to the bottom of my (seemingly contradictory) desire for a natural birth. Writing this series has been a great opportunity to explore my hopes and fears about the beginning of my own motherhood and some of the issues that most if not all pregnant women struggle with. I hope you find these articles enlightening. I’m working on two more and will post about their publication here on the blog.

Here are the introductions to the first two articles:

There are many reasons for wanting a natural birth, and there are many reasons for not wanting it. Whatever the choice, a mother needs to ask herself: why do or don’t I want a natural birth? What is it about me, that makes me choose either way? This kind of self-knowledge is important if only because it makes us responsible for “our births” and because it can teach us respect for the decisions of others and thus overcome our divisions within and amongst ourselves.

When you’re pregnant, you’re extra sensitive to psychological pain. It is a good – and difficult – time to take care of the past (and present), to get ready for the future.


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Yesterday in bed, while gazing upon her sleeping face – so close by, her breath stirring the little hairs on my cheek – I wondered:

“Whose nose will she have?”
Her nose still has the infant’s buttonlike quality, but it is slowly taking on a character of its own. Just like the rest of her face. Last week I glimpsed the change. Was it that her hair lay longer and straighter after her bath (it’s curling only in the back now)? Or because she had that sleek palor after an illness (a bad cold, don’t worry), which made her seem… older? Or the look in her eye, with a deeper understanding behind it, and more difficult questions?

So will she have my big, pointy European nose? Or her Baba’s broader, flatter Asian nose? A bit of both? (Hopefully not all of both!)

Will she be kind? And good?

The anwer is simple:

She will have her own nose.

(Written in Fall 2006)

I like to eat what the season brings to the market. I like to get food straight from the farmer. If the June rains washed away his winter plantings of brocolli and the deer ate his tomatoes, I’ll eat kale instead. Amie and I visit the Farmers’ Market every week. I like talking to the farmers and their apprentices, trying to imagine what their lives are like. I let them know my appreciation for their produce and their work.

I like the weather. I point out for Amie raindrops in a puddle, the warm sunlight on her skin, and the clouds in the sky – she always looks at them quizzically, a bit awed: what is she thinking? When the wind startles her, stealing her breath away, I cry: “de wind, Amie, het is de wind!” like it is a friend or a relative from afar, paying us a surprise visit. I can’t wait to show her the snow, how it dances. I have pointed out snow in picture books, and offered her the sign (fluttering fingers as your hands slowly zigzag down). I will be watching her reaction closely, the first time she sees snow.

I like shops that close on Saturdays and/or Sundays. They take time out for their families, for spirituality, what the heck: for themselves, their lives. No doubt they lose money, and I find it admirable that they value their personal lives more than the greenback. I think all shops in the States should close one day in the week, like most do in Europe. Then everyone gets a break: owners, employees, and consumers alike. It would be a day of rest and family, and we wouldn’t take products and producers for granted.

Is this the next generation of parents?

My toddler is asleep in her chair on the back seat, I’m sitting in the driver’s seat, and the car itself is sitting in the parking lot of the local shopping center/cinemaplex. My husband has just walked into the art store. We were lucky: we parked right in front of the door, 100 meters away.

A car pulls up and parks on my right. Out come a young couple: 25-ish, maybe older. The man, opening his door, slams it against the side of our car, then notices me. I give him a look: “was that necessary?” He stares at me with undisguised aggression, then looks behind me, and notices my daughter.

He gets out, slams his door as hard as he can, and then, as he walks slowly to the door of the store, keeps pressing the lock-button on his key. His car goes BEEP-BEEP-BEEP twenty times. By the time he has reached the door, he turns around and checks us out. My daughter is awake and crying – her usual 2-hour nap has been cut down to 20 minutes. He smiles, turns, walks in.

Would you agree that that was mean, and immature? Not funny, not aw-let-it-go-kind-of-irrelevant, but actually scary? Is this the next generation of parents?

I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be so pessimistic. But some days I can’t help it.