Thursday, March 16, 2006

longer lives

I just heard a radio news clip this morning about lengthening life expectancy. The report said that the first person to live to be 1000 years old will soon be born. One thousand years?! The report said that through stem cell research and other of those types of genetic altering stuff it would soon be possible.

I don't know if that's something to look forward to or not. I think of my grandmother. She will be 84 in a couple of months. She's been in a nursing home for about two and a half years now. She has Alzheimer's and is not that forgetful, but she can get mean. Mean in the way that she almost got kicked out of the nursing home for hitting other patients there. She had a falling spell last fall so she went in for a full physical, bone density test, a bunch of things. Physically she is in great condition. Her bones are that of a woman in her 50's. She has a long life ahead of her.

I say all that because she has a lot of life ahead of her, but what kind of life is that? She is not the same woman I knew and loved as a child. By her physical condition, she could easily live a lot longer in that nursing home. And in her mental condition, what would that mean if she were to live till she was 1000? What would it mean if I were to live till I was 1000?

I don't think that would mean I would be in a nursing home at 75. But how long can we live each season of our lives. I guess it wouldn't be so bad to not start having a family until your 40's if you knew you had a few more hundred years, but how would that work for a woman whose eggs are forming while she is still in utero? The reason we see more birth defects with older mamas is that their eggs are just plain old. So if we raise our family by the time we are 60 or 70, we could still see generations of grandchildren and their grandchildren. That part is very appealing to me.

But what would our quality of life be after 300 or 400 years? Would we still have the same get up and go? Would we even want to get up and go? What do we with ourselves for the next 100 years? I look at my grandmother. She is growing weary of the life she now has. A decade in that state will be the longest one of her life. What if it were 3 or 4 decades that she was spending there?

Is that really worth it? Maybe it would be good to have a productive 70 or 80 years, a few final ones to reflect and then be able to go to our eternal rest. That sounds a little morbid, but I'm not sure I would want to lengthen my life to an extreme knowing that each season (other than childhood) would be lengthened as well.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

being a doula

Yesterday I was doing a phone interview for a potential job in May. The expectant mama made a comment about how I can do this doula work with my kids at home and how I must just really like kids or something. That's a little bit true, but not really.

I chose to be a postpartum doula because of the mamas. I've been in that postpartum phase of life 6 times now. It's beautiful and terrible all at the same time. There are moments when I've just gazed at this baby and felt so complete. There are moments when I've felt so overwhelmed and incapable. I've felt exhausted. I've been deeply depressed and guilt ridden because of it. A lot of the time I felt like this was a lonely spot. I wanted someone to come in and take over for me for a few hours. I think that is one of the hardest things as a new mama: it's all up to me now. While I love that and I find it so easy some days, other days I want to be cared for on a really profound level.

That's why I love my job. It's so hard for us to ask for our deepest desires as mamas. When someone wants to help we either say we are OK or accept a frozen casserole or use the offer of childcare for something necessary like an OB appointment. But when you have hired someone to come into your home and do basically whatever, you can ask her to make you lunch simply because you are hungry but want to hold your baby for a while longer. You can ask her to vacuum because it's needing to be done and you don't want to do it today. You can sit and watch TV and just chat (ie not be alone) while you are both feeding a baby. (OK, that really only works with multiples!) You have someone to ask your silliest is the poop supposed to look like that? You have someone to make you tea and change the 10th diaper of the day while you sit and feel melancholy. You have someone to celebrate your first (nearly solo) outing with.

Motherhood is a crazy journey. It's's's's consuming. I really love it. And I love having a job where I get to walk with mamas for a part of their journey.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


So I've been MIA for a while. I'm not totally sure why, either.

I was running to dentist appointments and stuff and then...I don't know. The last few days I have really not been myself at all. On Friday night at 7 I realized I had absolutely no idea what we would have for dinner...and I didn't care...I wasn't hungry anyway.

That's weird for me because I'm one of those mamas who think nothing says "I love you" like food. I bake them bread, make them cookies (always from 'scratch') and basically thrive on feeding my family dinner.

I'm feeling a little more like myself right now. We'll see if it lasts or if I go back into my funk.