After 16 or so hours of labor, Rita’s baby arrived last light. Around midnight, grandma Connie, who had spent the day with Rita (baby dad is in the Middle East with the U.S. military) sent me the photo above from the delivery room where little Christopher was finally born.
In the middle of the night when all my defenses are down, I don’t react the way I would on a sunny day when I’m sitting in my garden. Thus, although I am happy for Rita, I felt very sad at the news of the baby’s birth.
The first thing I thought when I saw the photo of the baby was…”What a huge responsibility a child is.” They are so vulnerable, and the world is such a dangerous and scary place.
Being of an analytical nature, I began to probe my own thoughts and feelings for why I reacted this way. And I’m still engaged in that effort this morning where the rain returned and the outside reflects my insides.
So what’s going on I ask myself. Mostly, I think its fear. It’s a good thing youngsters have children because when you get to my age, you wouldn’t. And if you had a child, you would think hard before having another. One or two kids is all anyone should have today.
The good thing is that Rita is 23 and I was a teenager when I had my first child. Length of a generation matters. By the time I was Rita’s age, I had three children. One evening, having fed my last baby his 11 PM feeding, I was sitting in my rocking chair and reading a book by Paul Erlichmann entitled, The Population Bomb.
I began to shake and shiver and looking into the future, I could see a world where billions of people were starving and fighting with each other with the hope of individual survival. I had the thought…”I can’t keep having children to give myself a reason for living.”
This was the early 1960s, and I was a devout Roman Catholic. I’d had priests and Catholic doctors tell me I didn’t need birth control, even though my Protestant mother suggested I should use it.
I’d never had a premonition like this and it frightened me severely. I called my priest, rousing him out of bed. He asked to speak to my husband. I got the EX out of bed, where he had retired earlier in a drunken stupor, but he was less coherent than me, so, I got back on the phone and the priest gave me the name of a person he wanted me to call. It turned out later to be a shrink who had me hospitalized with a post partum depression.
Well, there’s a lot more to this story, however, I’m not going to explore it here. Suffice it to say it involved birth control pills and reading The Second Sex by Simone de Bouvier and The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan and finding my way out of the patriarchy.