Thursday, March 19, 2015

Home Stretch

Because I have not been in the habit of writing, it has taken me a while to rebuild my courage when it comes to choosing a topic. I have reverted to a few of my old habits--half-writing a piece and then abandoning it when the inspiration dies or the distractions of real life become too overwhelming. Another one is just being too busy with other nonsense to focus on the things that matter to me. But because I am facing a real life deadline, I am forging ahead.

This kid is due in a few short weeks. I have had a so many varying emotions, but have kept so many things to myself it seems almost counter-productive to write about them now. But my hope is that if I write first about the anxiety and the fear, then the humor will much easier.

Tonight we attended our third childbirth class and once again I am wondering what exactly was I thinking back in July when I started this journey (another time, another piece). It seems like in the midst of folks telling me that I ought to be happy and joyous, they were assuming that I would ignore the reality of the main event which despite all the talk to the contrary, looks quite the opposite.

So revelation number one: childbirth is going to be painful. No point dwelling on it, I just need to face it and live to tell the story, right?

Knowing that I only have a few weeks left, you would think that I would have cleared my schedule of Busy Black Woman activities to make space for the baby. Yeah...And for whatever reason, I have convinced myself that I will only need a brief hiatus of a few weeks before I can resume life as normal. Yeah...

Revelation number two: I am so not ready. I am not sure that I want to be ready. I am not sure that I want to slow down or change. Why can't the baby just adjust? Yeah...

I have very few friends with children. Like I can count the number on my hand and have fingers left. And I am surrounded by men who can't relate, including my doctor. My in-laws all live in New York and their kids are all grown. And you know that my mother cannot help at all, my aunts are doing their own thing, I am too private to reach out to others so here I am feeling like I am the only pregnant woman I know (which at the moment, I am).

Revelation number three: I am absolutely clueless. Lord help this kid.

Maybe these are not the most irrational fears and anxieties. But they are real. I worry because I have had an almost uneventful pregnancy, yet I am waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop. I want to enjoy the moment, but sometimes my mood swings make that impossible. I want to have a clean house, a fully decorated nursery and a spa weekend, but who am I kidding? I want to go into the Target knowing what size nursing bra I need without feeling the urge to cry because the selection sucks and not because I had no idea how a nursing bra was any different than a regular bra. I know that as soon as I join one of those Mommy networking groups, I will be back to my Busy Black Woman ways, so why fight city hall?

I want some sushi. I want to see my feet. I want to wear yoga pants everywhere. I want to sleep on my back without having my arms fall asleep. I want to know why I have to go to the doctor every week and wait thirty minutes for a five minute exam.

I want to meet my baby.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Beginning Again

It has been so long that I've written (finished) anything, let alone a blog post, that this will probably be just okay, but one of the good things about my absence these past two years is realizing that just being okay is sometimes the best way to BE. So here goes...

The Busy Black Woman returneth!

But where to begin? Where have I been, and quite honestly, after such a long absence, does anybody care? Well, since I do not have all of the answers (never said that I was the Omnipotent Black Woman), I want to break down my absence by sharing it in three major phases: the good, the bad and the ugly. Let's start with the ugly:

If you recall, my Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's related dementia in 2011, shortly after I launched this blog. It threw me for a loop, turned me inside out and has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life. She is still with us, but the progression of her disease has been rapid, painful and so exquisitely draining that the simplest explanation is that I hit a wall and just stopped writing. Kinda.

Actually, I have several unpublished drafts of pieces where the main topic was my frustration in becoming a full-time caregiver to my Mom. Those were not necessarily meant for posting here (for you also might recall that I have a personal blog called the Cafe where I tended to post those types of pieces), but after half-writing for weeks and feeling that I was only becoming more deeply depressed, I stopped writing altogether, with the intention of taking "some time off to spend more with my family". And well, yeah that really is what happened.

I call it the ugly because it meant that I sacrificed something that I truly loved and two years later, it feels like I've been in mourning. Not just lamenting my mother's decline, but also grieving the loss of a major part of my life. If it seems like I'm being overly dramatic, well I am because shutting down to focus on her has not exactly been a fair trade.

I will not spend too much time here on the ugly, because then there is the bad:

I was very proud of the Busy Black Woman persona that I had created, but it became unsustainable as the realities of my mother's illness became more obvious to everyone else but me. In my mind, I could do it all and continue to care for her since I did not have too many other distractions like a full-time job or children. However, other people began to notice well before I admitted the truth to myself-- that it was all too much and the results were many hard feelings on my part. In one rather hurtful situation that I alluded to here on this blog, questions were raised about my ability to do a particular job. And while the inquiry might have been valid, it was the manner by which it was brought to my attention that totally hurt and pissed me off (and yes, I am still hurt, but no need to reopen old wounds).

Bottom line, I could not claim the mantle of Busy Black Woman if I was not the Busy Black Woman I wanted to be. It might be the most obvious symptom of Type A personality disorder, but no one wants to be labeled a fraud--especially if the person affixing that label is the woman staring back from the mirror.

But then there is the good, which is the rather impulsive reason why I made a sudden return: I'm pregnant.

The Busy Black Woman will become a Busy Black Mother in about a month.

So in the midst of personal turmoil and chaos, the husband and I took a chance at investigating parenthood. Again. The long story of how we got there will have to wait for now, because that too had been a major source of disappointment and despair for me. Ironically, I was not all that enthusiastic about motherhood when I was a career woman, but when I fell off that hamster wheel, I figured it was the most natural alternative. But nothing happened and suddenly I was 38 years old with a Baby Niece close by. Then I was 40 with better health coverage.

And although I still have plenty of anxieties and concerns about becoming a parent in the midst of chaos and personal turmoil, I realized that I could be 45 with many of the same issues. And if I never pursued every available option, I might be a Bitter Black Woman at 45 wondering why I was still putting my life on hold while no one else did. So I took a leap of faith.

This pregnancy has been nothing like I expected and since I am saving some topics for future writing, I will only say that if by taking a leap of faith in getting pregnant, then that same faith has inspired me to try my hand at writing.