by Laura Weisskopf Bleill
Last week, I posted about the not-so-innocent things that people say to very pregnant women. And boy, did you guys respond.
This week, I’m here to talk about the oh-so-innocent question I’ve heard many times:
“Are you ready?”
Well, I don’t think it’s ever possible to be completely ready to bring another human into the world. You just kind of do it.
But I don’t really know what ready means anyway. See, we Jews are a superstitious lot.
I’ve written about our superstitious side before. But we have a lot of issues when it comes to babies. We traditionally don’t announce a pregnancy until after the first trimester. When finding out that someone is pregnant, instead of saying congratulations (Mazel Tov!), some Jews will say “B’Sha’ah Tovah,” a Hebrew phrase indicating that she should deliver her baby “in a favorable hour.”
We don’t do a lot to get ready, lest we tempt the evil eye.
I’ve never had a baby shower.
I’ve never had a nursery fit for a magazine.
I’ve never bought clothes before one of my babies has arrived.
And the first time we were pregnant, at the time the baby was born, the only stuff we had in our possession was the car seat.
Now don’t misunderstand. There is no 11th commandment that you missed in your Old Testament class. There is nothing written in Jewish law about any of this.
It’s all customs. And many modern Jewish families are bucking those old-world traditions.
I just never have.
Really, it’s the G-d forbid law. G-d forbid something happens to the baby, or the mother, or anything else. It’s the don’t-count-your-chickens idea. I grew up with the G-d forbid law firmly ensconced in my brain. It’s a bit unshakable.
It’s a little different with subsequent pregnancies after the first one. A lot of the baby stuff is already in your possession. In our case, we have a room full of items for this child, but I never walk in there. My mother, bless her heart, has been washing, organizing and prepping all the stuff we will need once little baby comes home – healthy, safe and sound.
Mentally and emotionally, the preparations are different. With the first one, I held on to the fears that many first-time mothers have – how will I do this? And with the second one, I worried constantly about how I was going to love both kids. How I was going to show them both the attention they need. How I was going to be what each one of them needed me to be.
I know that No. 3 will bring lots of blessings. But before her birth, she has given me one of the greatest gifts I could ever imagine — the knowledge that I have confidence in myself as a mother.
The questions about loving them all the same (or differently, depending how you look at it) — they don’t dog me, any longer. The worries about what and how and when — I’ve been around this block a few times, and when I don’t know the answer to something that comes up, I’m confident I have developed the resource network to find it.
So am I ready? I may not have a nursery that’s prime-time for Pinterest. I may not have every piece of clothing ready to be worn in four sizes. Heck, I haven’t even put together our email/text list for when the blessed event occurs.
But in the one way that counts – at least to me – I can say definitely, yes.
Laura Weisskopf Bleill is the co-founder and editor of chambanamoms.com. You can reach her at laura@chambanamoms(dot)com.