MOTHER-TO-BE

I was 22 and 6½ months pregnant on that Mother’s Day in l958.

Sitting on our apartment rooftop in Berkeley, Calif., I was trying to soak in some of the sun that had peeked through the clouds. I was just nodding off when I heard Bill open the door to the roof.

“Vivian’s had a baby girl,” he announced. “She wants you to call her.”

Eager to talk to Vivian, I gathered my belongings and scampered to our unit in the building.

Although Vivian was three months ahead of me on the pregnancy track, we had become confidants on this journey into motherhood.

Together we sewed maternity clothes, compared obstetricians and talked about baby names. Most of all we shared our fears and concerns about the labor and delivery process that loomed before us.

We’d both read about something called natural childbirth, and Vivian decided she wanted to try to give birth without medication, whereas I was undecided. My track record with pain wasn’t too shiny.

Back in our apartment, I called Vivian. “How did it go?” I asked. Vivian sounded tired but happy. “It was much rougher than I thought. They finally gave me something for pain.”

Vivian’s pain was the deal breaker for me. On my next visit to my obstetrician, I told him I wanted to be totally knocked out cold for the delivery.

Meanwhile, I prayed like crazy for an easy delivery and confessed my fears to anyone who would listen. Then three months later, I delivered an 8-pound, 13-ounce baby girl.

Like many things in life, the labor and delivery were not nearly as bad as I’d anticipated.

I share this memory in gratitude for all who helped me during this transition to motherhood.

Readers, how were you helped during childbirth or during an important transition or challenge in your life?

I’d like to hear from you.

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