Tuesday, October 21, 2008

mules and mamas

when i found out i was pregnant i was a bit surprised. my friends were flabbergasted (i love anglosaxon language for words like flabbergasted). most of them seemed surprised that i would 1) let myself get pregnant 2) be happy about it 3) not be considering abortion....
now i am a pro-choice girl. being pregnant solidified my pro-choice, reproductive justice dedication, but i wanted to be a mother so bad, the rest of that was like background noise.

i was a journalist/activist in the west bank. i hung out with the 'cool kids'. we would get together in the evening with beers and wine and green and tell jokes about stupid soldiers at checkpoints and the best beer in palestine and geo-politics and such. our lives were so cool and exciting and glamorous and dangerous (sic). or at least that is what i was told. so my increasingly cynical-laced joy at the wonders of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood, seemed a bit out of place in that crowd.

i was kinda thrown off kilter by their response. i had images of a woman with a baby on her back and a rifle in her hand striding across the desert. okay, i wasnt planning to carry a rifle. replace the rifle with a black power fist, or a video camera. i imagined sitting on hills doing look-out, while my kid played in the scraggy bushes, me sending messages down to the main group via cell phone.
i imagined sitting in rooms with women, their headscarves now resting on their shoulders like a shawl, their babies falling to sleep on blankets curled up to the walls, while we giggled and told stories and figured out strategy for the next day.

or we could hire a babysitter. something.

2 1/2 years later i will be returning to the west bank. a lot has happened since the last time i was there. and not much for the better. but a couple of my friends have babies of their own.
sometimes people ask if i am scared for her well-being living in such a dangerous place. no, not really. well, there were two shootings last weekend in our neighborhood here in chicago. the west bank was not really more dangerous.

if i ever get to live out my imaginings of west bank mother journalist/activist, it will probably not feel so exuberiant (sp?) or glamorous or clear. it will probably feel a bit inconvenient and murky and silly. a bit like a mule. the best i am hoping for is--fun. that is the aim everyday. i guess it will feel like any other flabbergasting motherhood day.

wherever you go there you are.

1 comment:

Victoria Law said...

Ohhh, time's gone so fast!

Will you be blogging from there? I'd love to read about what you see and what you hear and what you experience on a daily basis, esp. with the little one in tow. (And I'd love to read about what her impressions are of everything)

I have to admit that I don't know very much about the situation in the West Bank, but thank you for putting the fear of (unknown) violence in perspective by comparing it to the everyday violence that some of us have in our everyday lives.