22 January 2012

Full disclosure

So on this here old blog pretty much all I do is talk about babies, but in real life I'm just a normal person who happens to have six kids. Whereas I am able to interact with real people without unnatural or excessive reference to this secret obsession of mine, and I virtually never engage in procreative stumping, I find it curious that women tend to explain their families to me. I would never ask anyone why she has the number of kids she does; it is none of my business. But they tell me out of nowhere. Strangers tell me, vague acquaintances tell me, old ladies tell me, the person stuffing my mouth with gauze tells me. They all have a reason. Some wanted more, some decided by not deciding. Some sang when they learned they were pregnant [again] and some cried. So many of them have had miscarriages they need to share with someone.

These stories are so personal. I don't know why they tell me. Maybe it's something all women tell each other and it only seems odd to me because I have no need of telling my story when my car is obviously jam-packed with it, or since I am not (that I know of) Done. Maybe the carful of story marks me as a likely sympathizer. Not one woman's story is simple, and it is clear that the writing of each was difficult and uncertain work. Every story has plotlines that got out of control or went unresolved or had to be stricken. I treasure them regardless of their content. I am glad and humbled that they have been told to me. They are serendipitous gifts; even the sad ones, even the scary ones.

10 comments:

Monique said...

That’s funny because the same thing happens to me all the time and not just when it comes to baby issues. I’ve had people confess sins, divulge lifelong secrets, share intimate details about their marriage, finances; you name it. A lot of times these are women in the church, but not always. Like you, I’ve never understood why they tell me. I just consider it a humbling experience, make sure I listen carefully, never claim to have any great words of insight or wisdom, and most importantly; never, ever repeat anything that was shared.

Gauntlets said...

Is this a pastor's wife thing? Or just a chick thing? I hear a lot from people, too. Perfect strangers regale me in the middle of Sam's Club.

Perhaps it's a "not enough Confession" thing? Perhaps.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they see a woman who has more than the current average number of children as a woman who understands motherhood. Perhaps they feel that if they shared their stories with their own mothers or other potentially resentful hard edged feminists that they would be mocked and ridiculed for their feelings or suffering. The loss of motherhood is often and loudly celebrated as a liberation that any sane or decent woman should be entirely grateful for. There is a sort of complacent oppression of these women for their natural maternal feelings. So, yeah, they need an outlet, someone they can feel safe telling their story to. This is why being able to listen is such a gift to these ladies who are shamed by so many in our "Just Get Over It" culture that doesn't allow people to be who they are.

Reb. Mary said...

The stories are gift; the listening is gift. Quite often, this is the case.

But sometimes I feel as though the stories are offered almost as attack (or perhaps misplaced self-defense, where no attack was given), and this bemuses me, and puts me in the awkward situation of feeling like a helpless bobblehead, nodding foolishly and reflexively for lack of other appropriate response. Like when news of my pregnancy broke in a small group of women, who almost all immediately began declaring vehemently and pointedly why they were Done. Uh...were we talking about that? Strange, but it seems like that happens almost every time I disclose a pregnancy to a group of women, be it a mom's group or Bible study or whathaveyou.

Gauntlets said...

I am really, really nervous about what is going to happen the next time (DV) I have to announce that I am pregnant.

Rebekah said...

Yeah. The Done talk is a different talk, and the group setting is more inclined to it. So very tired of being the awkward pregnant lady in that talk . . . .

Anonymous said...

"Yeah. The Done talk is a different talk, and the group setting is more inclined to it. So very tired of being the awkward pregnant lady in that talk . . . ."



Ooh, that is awkward. I am older and could possibly get pregnant, I suppose. I don't think I would feel comfortable in a group of women my age or a little younger talking on and on about being Done and then looking at me like, "Well?" Awkward!!


When I was younger and had not been pregnant for a long time, people would ask if we were Done. That was awkward because we weren't Done, but I hadn't gotten pregnant either, and I didn't want to "share" any info on the uh, private matter.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I have a question. Is there a blog post here somewhere that explains how this blog got started?

Were you all just sitting around pregnant feeling like crap with toddlers whining and suddenly decided, "hey, we need to blog on this."?

Rebekah said...

Something like that. There is a first post, you know, bereishith.

mz said...

I think it is a testament to the isolation of women, particularly mothers, in our society. I think so many times we yearn to connect with another lady, who may understand or at the least validate or bear witness to things that are treated with mocking or disdain in larger groups. I have dear friends IRL who live close enough to visit, but our visits are fewer than we would like because the minutiae of life and the vortex of need sucks us down. So in our separate suburban houses we sit, not even able to have a coherent phone conversation, thanks to a chorus of "Mooooom!" in the background, wanting to connect deeply with each other but never quite finding the opportunity. You are a.golden opportunity, Rebekah :D