Food For Life

Week 29: 02.25.08

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Pot Luck

A good friend just brought her second baby—all 9 pounds, 6 ounces of him—into the world, right on schedule. She and her husband had a lovely daughter, now age 2, before we even considered procreation, so as the idea of childbirth and parenthood began to really hit home recently, they've been inspiring to us.

Before we go meet their new addition I figure I'll cook something (did I mention they're moving in two weeks? Apparently life doesn't revolve entirely around a second pregnancy!). After a C-section, while breastfeeding, what's good? Maybe something you can eat with one hand? Something that fits the myriad guidelines for breastfeeding moms that Dana blogged about? Something healthy, yet comforting, something that keeps, something a toddler might like, something portable?

I'm going to be in a similar place in a few short months. When I try to envision my sore post-delivery self cocooning with a delicate new life and the tiny domestic world around him, I see shuffling to the fridge for simple foods. So I'm thinking I'll bring over roast chicken, potatoes, a cucumber salad, things you could eat together as dinner, or just sort of pick at for a few days.

But I have this idealized image of the glowing new mother too. I picture her propped up in bed, her hair flowing around her and the rosy, cooing baby, eating breakfast from a tray (meanwhile, her 2-year-old will probably be strewing tissues over the house while her husband attempts to pack all of their belongings for the movers--but around the bed there's a halo of calm). I think I'll bake a breakfast treat too. Aaron and I will arrive like Tupperware-toting magi.

Unknowable Newness

I wonder, once I've had our baby, if I'll look back on this post and be inspired by my vision of postpartum life, or amused by how off I was. So far the pregnancy has been a lot more in keeping with reality-as-I-know-it than I'd expected (duh). Yet that's what makes those moments when it is purely beautiful and hopeful so glorious--like mornings drinking tea in bed and admiring my belly as the sun streams in, or that night on the couch when Aaron sang along to old records and the baby seemed to be dancing to his daddy's voice.

I've been reading about labor lately: the way a natural birth may progress, how it can be hard without being traumatic, and how worth it it feels, even at its most challenging. My friend read the same books and ended up scheduling a C-section the second time around, so I realize there's more to this than I can possibly know.

Somehow, I've got to simultaneously look forward to what I can imagine, and embrace the fact that the completely unforeseeable reality of childbirth awaits me. In the meantime, I cannot wait to meet this newly arrived little boy who made the transition from dream-vision to reality so recently that I feel sure he's still trailing wisps of the ideal behind him.

Recipe: Cucumber-Apple Salad

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