Posted by: thatjen | June 22, 2006

Finally (#1)

Late to the party, but making an appearance nonetheless… it’s my turn for the 5 questions/interview meme. Below are my 5 questions from Liza (along with my answers). If you want to play, I’ll give you your own questions.

Leave me a comment saying “interview me.” The first five commenters will be the participants.
I will respond by asking you five questions.
You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

1) What drew you to librarianship? Do you still feel that way?
In my previous life as a meeting planner, I was at a truly boring and awful staff meeting when I had an epiphany (honestly, it was a flash of blinding intuition). I realized I wanted to be a school librarian and inspire kids to love books and reading. Sharing wonderful books with students is defintely one of my favorite parts of the job, though I don’t have as much time to keep up with new books as I should — and I’ll have even less when I am a working mom. Bri does an amazing job of staying on top of children’s lit. I aspire to be as knowledgeable as she is. Being a school librarian is also a great way to indulge my technogeek side.

2) What has been the most unexpected thing about motherhood for you?
The emotional rollercoaster, although it feels dumb to admit it. I guess in *theory* I knew what a mindfuck motherhood could be but there’s nothing like living it. I’m constantly traversing a vast emotional terrain from sheer joy to crushing self-doubt. A lot of self-doubt, actually. Parenting in today’s society, especially with the glut of information available to us, provides an endless opportunity to question our actions and decisions, and I do, all the time. I can agonize over ANYTHING, and quite frankly often feel that any decision might be the “wrong” choice, making me a terrible mother. And breastfeeding is a particularly crazy-making subset of this phenomenon, even though I have a huge baby who’s clearly thriving: Do I have too much milk? Not enough? Am I eating something that’s making her upset? Will I be able to keep nursing after I go back to work? Did she nurse long enough today? Too long? Thankfully, these moments are mixed in with instances of utter happiness, particularly when I get a glorious gummy grin or a sleepy head nestled into my shoulder, but the gamut of feelings is intense!

3) Natalie is 25. What do you hope her life is like?
I hope that she is happy and believes in herself and that she has a life that she finds rewarding. I want her to be a compassionate and generous person who cares about the world she lives in and how she affects it. I also hope that she has a close and comfortable relationship with me, but I worry that I don’t know how to help that happen. My mom and I care deeply about each other but oh, do we fight. So I don’t have a good role model for the kind of mother-daughter relationship I’d like (Moxie describes the end result but not the path it took to get there). It’s something I need to do more learning and thinking about, but for the moment I just concentrate on loving her.

4) What are you most proud of Cait for doing? (I told you guys that Trista asked the best questions.)
Cait has worked long and hard to overcome an eating disorder and major self-esteem challenges from her childhood, only to be hit hard with Lyme Disease. It’s cruelly ironic that now that she is taking better care of her body it is failing her in a way it never did when she abused it. Despite this, she perseveres and lives a really full, wonderful life where others might have given up and retreated to the couch. And even when exhausted from working while parenting a newborn, she’s an inspiration to me as a mom to Natalie – I learn every day from her how to be a better mother.

5) What are you most proud of yourself for doing?
It may be a cliche, but every time I try to think of an answer to this question, I keep coming back to the fact that I gave birth naturally, at home. This DOES NOT mean that I think other ways of bringing a baby into your family — c-sections or pain medication or adoption or hospital births — are anything to be less proud of*; they’re just not what I did. Choosing a home birth was not easy for me. I spent a couple of months of my therapy sessions working through my fears and apprehensions. And even after I had reassured myself that home birth did not present any greater risks for us than hospital birth, and that our backup plans were the best possible, I worried that I didn’t have the emotional or physical stamina to make it through the birth. In the end, my labor was hard and there were many points during it that I wanted to give up but I kept going because I knew what we’d chosen was important to us.

I’ve started, and abandoned, many other physical and mental challenges in my life (most notably martial arts, where I stopped training about three-quarters of the way to a black belt), so making it all the way through something so incredibly difficult on all planes — physical, mental, emotional — is all the more important because it helps me overcome the label “quitter” that I have carried around for so many years.

I hope that as the months and years go by, my pride in being a good mother to Natalie far outstrips the pride I have in her birth, because in the end it is far more important to me that I raise her well and that she knows she is loved and treasured.

*Hell, I think anyone who gets a baby any way should be proud – I think of everything all of my blogfriends have gone through to become parents and EVERYONE has a tough journey one way or another and we should all be proud of ourselves. And those who are still struggling to create a family should be proud of themselves for hanging in there. Every path is different, but each one is challenging and we should all acknowledge our unique achievements.

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Responses

  1. I loved this post. You SHOULD be proud of yourself for the hard home birth. And all the parenting self-doubt is something I go through too. It’s why I don’t even read many parenting books- too much info overwhelms me and causes anxiety at times, trying to decide the “right” thing to do. I went through all the BF-ing doubts, too- the exact same ones you’re talking about. Don’t know why, but I seemed to stop worrying about 4 months into it. Anyway, it’s so great to read this entry and get to know you better. Thanks.

  2. Interview me!?!? Great post.

  3. Wonderful answers.

    I’ll play again. Interview me!

  4. wow. great answers!
    I’m up for a round. Interview me pretty please.

  5. Me,me, oh, Pick Me!
    Interview ME!

  6. I could SERIOUSLY use some distraction today. I’d love some questions.

  7. Great answers. Nice writing.

    Jo Anna

  8. I love these answers. Very fun to delve into your psyche.

  9. Interview me!

  10. Jen, those answers were SO worth waiting for! Thanks for letting me interview you, and for your always emotionally honest, beautifully articulated blogging.

    Keep up the good work! And thanks to Cait & Natalie too, for everything they’ve called you to be that you didn’t know you could be until they called it forth from you.


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