Tuesday, September 28, 2010

it's still a fetus

The other day, I referred to the thing growing in my belly as a fetus while talking with Mark.

“Do you still think of it as a fetus?” he asked. He sometimes refers to it by the name we’ve pretty much agreed on. I wish I could share it with you, because I love it, but since I change all names on this blog, I’ll say it’s Willow here.

I admitted that I don’t feel much of a bond to the being that is in there now.

“I would be devastated if I lost the pregnancy at this point,” I said. “But not because I’m bonded to what is in there now. It’s because I’m bonded to the idea of what will emerge in a couple of months.”

Sometime, when I hear other women express love or pride about their growing fetuses, I feel like I’d be a better mother if I were more like them. If I were less attuned to the pains of pregnancy and more appreciative of the miracle. I suppose bonding before and after birth would be ideal. But if it has to be one or the other, I think post-birth bonding is definitely preferable.

Yes, now I see it as a fetus, as a solid, massive object that is beginning to make my life difficult. Most of my pregnancy thoughts are now about discomfort, pain and fear of childbirth. I do recognize that the pounding coming from within is my future daughter, and I’m excited to meet her, but I think of “her” as what emerges three months from now, and not what is there now.

I’m reassured by the fact that I didn’t bond much with River in the womb, but we’ve had a very secure attachment since he emerged. I expect it will be the same the second time around.

I also told Mark about my reluctance to use the name Willow before the birth. If something would happen and we already referred to her by name, we couldn’t use that name again. As long as it remains the fetus, or as we occasionally joke, the parasite, the name is not so dependent on the outcome.

Then a part of me clings toward formal terminology as a means of representing my views on abortion. I would not want to abort this fetus. But there are cases in which women need to make that decision. I believe in their right to do so and don’t want to overly humanize something when I believe it is still the woman’s decision to control what is happening within her body.

Fetus/Willow/baby continues to grow and my thoughts alternate between dread and discomfort regarding the next few months and excited preparation for meeting my daughter - the word still has a magical ring - my daughter, near the end of the year.

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