When I was pregnant with my first child, I was working as a cheese buyer for a major specialty foods retailer. You don't get a job like that without a well-documented fondness for cheese.
During my pregnancy, one of our vendors was clearing out what was left of a limited-release cheese from one of my favorite creameries, Cypress Grove Chevre. The cheese, generally too cost-prohibitive for me to bring home for dinner, was suddenly on sale at a ridiculously affordable price. And, since it was a special, commemorative, limited release for the creamery, once it was gone, it wasn't coming back.
Naturally, I wanted to stock up--or rather, chow down, as this particular cheese had a shelf life of about a week.
There was just one problem: beautiful, gooey, slightly funky, soft-ripened goat cheeses such as the one in question are solidly on the no-no list for the prego.
I could sample and sell this cheese all day long to the lucky customers at my counter, but enjoyment by proximity was as far as my love affair could go.
Now I am pregnant again.
There's a bottle of my favorite cheap "champagne" hanging out in my kitchen closet that beats me in a staring contest every time I put away a mixing bowl or retrieve a sippy cup.
I'd love to chill that bad boy down and enjoy a little bubbly while I get my fix of The Middle on Hulu.
I'd love to eat a massive rib-eye, seared on the outside and bleeding in the center. I'd like a raw-oyster appetizer and a Caesar salad on the side, made the real way, with raw egg yolks, if you please. And why not add a full carafe of coffee to go along with dessert?
But all that will wait till baby number two is breathing his air out here with the rest of us.
Am I a selfless mother?
But like it or not, pregnancy and motherhood entail making sacrifices.
I'm not any less of a food-lover or occasional adult-beverage enthusiast during these nine months, but I recognize the need to put certain preferences on hold for a while. I can manage.
Furthermore, I realized something during my first pregnancy:
These long gestational months of awkward body changes and forced sobriety are such a blessing.
Because I am selfish. Deeply, deeply selfish.
And no matter how many sacrifices I choose to make for my children, sacrifices will be made.
Sleep will be lost.
Stretchmarks will be gained.
Shirts will be ruined.
Showers and a general sense of personal hygiene will occasionally be forsaken.
My sanity will at many times be utterly up for grabs.
It's going to happen.
But God knows what He's doing.
He gives us nine whole months of semi-sacrificial living to get us used to making sacrifices. To begin, if ever-so-slightly, to chip away at our deeply rooted selfish natures so that by the time our slimy, screaming, bloody bundles of joy pop out we are in some way ready to tackle the poo and the spit-up and the nipple-biting and embrace the moody, beautiful enigmas that are our children.
This post and the previous one were inspired by another blogger's post, titled, "My Doctor Judged me for Wanting to Have Sex, for Not Being a 'Selfless Mother,'" which can be read here. Neither of these posts are meant to be an attack on that post, but rather further exploration of the concept of the Selfless Mother. I would love to hear your thoughts on these posts or motherhood in general if you would like to share!