Madwoman Out of the Attic

a feminist trudging forward in a patriarchal world

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Spiritual Experience

Last Wednesday, I led a lesson on Mormon women and healing. In planning for it, for the first time in years, I really thought about my first experience with a healing blessing.

I was 16 years old. I had come down with some kidney infection that apparently was somewhat serious. My mom was really worried. Sometimes I could hear her cry at night, and I knew it was because of me.

I didn't give serious thought to asking for a priesthood healing blessing. I had never lived with a priesthood holder in the house (my bro certainly didn't count), and really, I didn't feel like it was all that important to get one.

One night, our home teacher came over with the bishop. I had quickly looked out the window when they knocked, so I knew it was them. I wasn't in a social mood, so I just stayed in the family room, figuring they'd be gone in 45 minutes tops. After two hours, I was getting annoyed. I had to go to the bathroom, and to do so I would have to pass the living room, where they were with my mom. Also, I was curious. What on earth were they doing with my mom for 2 hours?

I casually walked out. I think I remember my mom, sounding upset, saying to them, "But she hasn't asked for it." The men saw me and told me that they were here to give me a priesthood blessing. I was really shocked. Perhaps I shouldn't have been, but I was. I just shook my head and said I didn't need one. They pushed a bit, and I kept saying I didn't want one, I didn't need one. After a minute or two of this, I burst into tears and ran into my mother's arms. She hugged me and said, "I know baby, I'm sorry." I think she was crying too.

The men pretty quickly apologized, saying they had overstepped their bounds, and hightailed it out of there.

A few weeks later, since the idea had been planted, I think I must have asked for it. The hometeacher and my mom's boyfriend gave it to me. I did get better soon after that.

What's significant about this story now for me now is not that I was blessed and then got better. (Though perhaps that blessing really did have some sort of positive effect - if so, I'm grateful for it.)

What's significant and meaningful for me is that my quiet, non-confrontational mom for two hours fended off and protected me from two of the most powerful men in the ward because she so respected my space, my autonomy, my comfort level. What's significant to me is that she understood so well that unless I asked for it, I would be upset to have something so entirely foreign thrust upon me. What's significant to me is that she modeled for me and for those well-meaning men what it truly means to respect another's personal, spiritual space.

That is my spiritual experience.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Life is Good Again

I'm so happy. We just got central air conditioning installed today. I've been miserable for the last month, escaping my intolerably hot house for hours at a time, driving aimlessly just so I could blast the AC in my car. As a nine months pregnant woman, I am about 20 degrees hotter than I ever have been before, and I feel I've been wasting time every day desperately searching for places with AC - time I should have spent organizing, prepping lessons, and getting ready for baby. I was so desperate to get this AC installed I told Mike that if I went into labor yesterday or today, his first priority would be to make sure that the AC people got everything installed. To hell with being there with me at the hospital.

I feel bad that I've given in to the craze for AC. (Sorry environment and energy conservation people.) If I weren't pregnant, I really think I could have endured it like I've endured every other summer here without it. But I just couldn't face the prospect of being trapped in my insufferably warm house through all of August with the baby.

Thank goodness my (hot) hell is over. Now I just need to get this baby out of me...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

This baby better come soon

As of four days ago, I was dilated to 2.5 cm. By now it's probably 3cm. My stomach is HUGE. I can't imagine this can go on much longer. Please, baby, come soon. At this point, I don't even care that my house is a total disorganized mess. Just get out of my body.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pending Birth

I just met with my new OB today. (long story, but suffice it to say that my previous hospital asked me to bring my own fan when I give birth since the air conditioner doesn't work well.)

She says I'm one centimeter dilated, the baby is in birthing position, and that it might come early. Yikes! I'm not ready for this!!! The baby room's a mess, full of paint and plastic - Mike's a few days away from finishing the mural. The baby furniture won't be ready to be delivered for another 2 to 4 weeks. I have not even thought about pediatricians or immunizations. My hospital bag is far from being packed and ready. And I have no idea of even how to take care of a newborn or breastfeed.

O crap. What have I done.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Possibilities for the Future

I'm in a career quandary. I just have no idea what I'm doing professionally, and having this baby is complicating everything.

On the one hand, my part-time high school Latin teacher job makes a lot of sense right now. I will have time with my new baby (due in 4 weeks) and I'll also be able to keep one foot in the door of the teaching profession. But on the other hand, I don't always enjoy teaching like I wish I did. Constant grading. Discipline problems. Racking my brains for ways to make a dead language interesting.

I suppose I just don't feel like Latin teaching is my calling in life. I'm also in this masters in library science program, and I'm not sure librarianship is my calling in life either. But I do think I might really enjoy promoting literacy, helping kids find information for reports, doing storytime, etc.

Problem is, being a librarian is a full time job. Around here, there just aren't part time librarians. And I don't think I want to work full time at this point in my life, when I'll be having and raising babies. But what happens to me professionally then? I get my MLS degree in a couple of years and then just sit on it until my kids get into school. I'll be obsolete then. No one will hire me. I will have gotten that degree for nothing.

It's all really complicated. I feel that I'm professionally at my strongest right now. Energetic, somewhat confident in my abilities, desirous of being productive and a part of the community. Ironic that this is also the point in life where I need to have babies, if I want a family (and I do), and that means - for me - taking steps off the fast track and watching my experience and degrees become more and more meaningless as the years pass.

Perhaps I went about this all wrong. Maybe it is smart to have babies young and then get into your profession in your 30's. Or maybe it's better to have them later in your 30's after your career path is already established. That way you may have the negotiating ability to work part time for a while or job share or whatever.

I will say, however that at least I have a lot of choices, and I feel free to make them without too many social or church ramifications. I feel bad for LDS men since they just don't have the same flexibility when it comes to their careers. If they work part time, or want to take time off to help raise children, I'm afraid our LDS culture would consider them slackers or "unworthy" in some ways.