We have tons of footage of my daughter in the days after she was born. Husbandrinka videotaped a lot. There are the standard videos, my holding her in the hospital bed, my parents meeting their first grandchild, all sorts of family ensembles, and then there's the one where I am talking to my friend Liz when visited at the hospital. "So was labor a horror?" she asks, sitting on the edge of my bed and holding a staple remover with a satiny bow on it, a gag gift after my C-section.
"Oh my GOD!" I shriek on the video. "I cannot tell you the pain," and then I recount it in graphic detail. Walking is painful, moving is painful and if I have a say in it, I'm never having a bowel movement again. We laugh and I wince because laughing hurts.
"Hey," my husband says off camera and both Liz and I look at him. We'd forgotten that he was there, recording. "She's going to see this tape one day, you know." He pans over to the mobile cubicle crib where my pappoosed daughter is sleeping.
I look at him and then I look at Liz. She's still laughing. "I had a very traumatic C-section," I continue. "But I really love my baby."
I got to address the question of how much of the story was mine and how much of it I had to sanitize for the sake of my daughter while I was still at the hospital on a steady diet of morphine. Would my daughter knowing that labor was unbelievably painful mean that I adored her any less? Should I, as a mother who labored 48 hours earlier, have thought of my infant's feelings because, indeed, the videotape is preserved for eternity or at least until someone tapes American Idol
Recently I've been blog hopping (which hopefully counts as exercise). Auds at Barking Mad
brought up the idea of blogging with abandon, as though no one were reading, others warned to watch what we post about our children because a pedophile might be reading and Scary Mommy
was told to watch her mouth on her own fucking blog.
When I read Auds' fantastic post I rejected the idea of blogging as though no one were reading because I thought that it would make for a deathly dull blog. And as I confessed in her comments, I'd like to be able to maintain eye contact with my children if they should come across my blog. I do censor myself. And in doing so, I touch my personal boundaries. I don't need anyone else setting them up for me.
I don't write for children. Not even my own children. The fact that I have children doesn't mean that I am no longer a human being, doesn't mean that my need to express myself on my blog is any less important than anyone else's. And lest there be confusion about it-it is very important. If I want to curse, it's my halo that's tarnished. If I want to talk about moments of motherhood that have infuriated me, why would anyone object? And beyond objection, how does that signal any less of an adoration of my children? Because surely we are sophisticated enough to know that love is complicated and we have rejected the notion that mothers are supposed to be in a constant state of rejoicing at their progeny at approximately the same time that doctors stopped prescribing dolls for all that ails us.
If parents are supposed to be blogging with the assumption that our children are reading our blogs over one of our shoulders, while pedophiles are peering over the other, with a nun standing in between them to monitor our language for good measure, why bother to blog?
Are we supposed to be so protective of our children's sensibilities that we are reluctant to share our own stories, in which they appear, because, well, they are our life's work?
As bloggers and as parents, we all have different boundaries. I do not post my children's photos on my blog or use their real names. I don't share stories that they have told me in private, but I do not for a second judge those who do. After all, I do share stories about my children and my husband and my parents. Because those stories belong to me as much as they do to them. I am honest about the frustrations and disappointments that I've experienced as a mother and it does not diminish the joys one bit.
Lindsey at Suburban Turmoil wrote about not blogging about her teenage stepdaughters
because their stories are not hers. And it gave me pause, truly, because many of her sentiments resonated with me. I, myself, have not blogged much about my teenage stepson, much for the same reason. Because his story isn't mine. But isn't it? Isn't the intersection of our lives partially mine? Aren't all of our stories each other's?
Of course there is no one answer fits all for this. We all have different boundaries and I firmly believe that one blogger's not posting photo of her children on her site is any more or less valid than another proudly displaying a family album.
My own mother fed me the "once you hold your baby in your arms, you forget about the pain" line which makes me think that she either had much better pain killers than I did or a less acute memory. I'm sure that she meant to spare me, as did the female mafia who chanted "you forget about the pain" but instead they made me feel like maybe my love was defective because Holy Moley, I still remember the pain. And it was ouchy.
And yes, my daughter has seen the video of my complaining about the C-section. And she has laughed at my Bam-Bam styled hair. She is not offended that my labor was painful, nor does she feel responsible for it.
Kids today. The stories that I could tell.