Or, The Social Aspects of an INTJ in Late Pregnancy
The (very awesome) friend who is going to be my “birth partner” at the hospital when I go to deliver and I decided that we ought to learn about the stages of labor and practical measures for coping with them. You know, like a responsible pair of birth partners. Rather than buying books we wouldn’t make time to read, we paid to take a class with a birth educator since money up front = something we’ll show up for. We opted for the weekend class because, seriously, who the hell has time to do a class a week for 12 weeks?! We walked into the meeting room laughing about how we were going to look like the cutest pregnant lesbian couple ever…only to get into the room and find the actual cutest pregnant lesbian couple already there! The room ended up being an interesting mix of people between the 7 couples attending – a lot of the women expressed that their goal was an unmedicated birth, but some of them seemed like they just wanted to have more information on birth either from ignorance of the process or fear of it – and ran the gamut from hippies to yuppies to suburbanites to trailer park libertarians. (I leave it to you to decide where I fit. 🙂 )
We enjoyed the class and got out of it what we hoped for – what the different processes of labor entail and some great suggestions for getting through it. One of the most interesting aspects of it to me was an exercise we did with different coping mechanisms to try and figure out what works for us, which amounted to a “how well do you know yourself?” quiz. I, as I expected, know myself quite well. The instructor had us hold ice for the length of contractions and do various things – walking, partner massage, humming, visualization, breathing, etc., to try and make our perception of the time seem shorter. The things that worked for me were exactly what I expected to work for me based on what worked for me back in high school when I was a long-distance runner (focusing on the discomfort until it becomes unrecognizable as discomfort, the same way a curve becomes a straight line if you zoom in close enough to it; music (the humming was insufferable until I made it a melody and then it worked pretty well); distraction via a stronger physical sensation than the discomfort…I don’t expect that one will actually work against a labor contraction, though!). The variance of reactions to each type of coping strategy was fascinating. No two people had the same set of likes/dislikes, and different people seemed to like and dislike (or at least be indifferent to) each exercise. I was the only woman in the room who liked the focusing one, but several of the men did. INTJ in action (because we “think like men”), or an introvert/extrovert thing? (Or just a coincidence?)
Also, Baby Shower
The same friend threw me a baby shower. It was fun, in part because I insisted it have booze and non-standard games (because typical baby shower games are L-A-M-E), but probably mostly because the group of various friends from various parts of my life actually clicked really well. I was honestly surprised at how many people I found to invite, who live nearby and I am genuinely fond of (not to mention extended-area friends and family!). My impending motherhood being the focus of the occasion did bring out this weird dynamic in my personality, though, which is that I hate being fussed over and made the center of attention unless I am actively engaged in exhibitionist behavior. Like…Stage Lily loves having everyone paying attention to her; real Lily finds it awkward and uncomfortable, even when the attention is an honest outpouring of good will and love. I was truly touched by the time and effort the gals put into gifts for me and my little one (seriously, I teared up afterward going back through the stuff to put it up), and I think I accepted all of it gracefully in the moment, but inside I was squirming. One of the lessons I had to learn as a younger woman was that ceremonies are often not about the person being honored but rather about everyone in attendance. Or, as the Captain likes to say, “It ain’t about you. It’s about them, and what they need.”
If I had not done a shower on my own, one would have been done for me, at least at work, so the better solution seemed to me to be having one on my own terms. And the best part of all of it? I got a ton of adorable stuff for my kid without having to shop for any of it!
Otherwise, things have been quieter than I expected, socially speaking. I definitely made the right choice to be vague about my due date, because while I get a lot of remarks, no one is hassling me about what if I go “overdue” or anything. Only two people at work have tried to touch my belly without permission, and only one stranger has. The work people were easier to deal with, because it was just a matter of saying “Nope, you don’t know me like that, ask before you touch!” while the stranger at the grocery store was this sweet little old lady who just kept praising Jesus for the gift of life. Very hard for me to be rude to someone like that so I just smiled and thanked her for the blessing and that was that. Now pray Jesus it doesn’t happen again….
That’s the news from Lake Lilybegone.