Teaching Reverence

For the second time in three years of teaching childbirth preparation classes, I had to take one of my children to class with me tonight.  If you’ve read my book, you may recall a devout promise contained within to NEVER put myself in such a position (specifically to not bring a breastfeeding baby to class with me again).  Thankfully, Landon, being 3 1/2-years-old is well beyond his breastfeeding year.

With Andrew away on business and a friend filling in as “babysitter” for the evening (for the first time ever) I didn’t feel it would be fair to leave my asthmatic son who is in the midst of yet another asthma exacerbation with her for several hours.  So, I packed a back pack full of books, toy cars, puzzles, snacks and Landon’s favorite blankie, and an albuterol inhaler, and off we went to teach six expectant couples about early labor signs, cervical dilation, and timing uterine contractions.

Landon did amazingly well.  I only had to remind him twice to stop driving his play motorcycle across the hard floor of the classroom, and his requests for visits to the potty were perfectly timed with natural breaks in the evening’s curriculum.

On the way home, Landon was all-abuzz at having gone to class with mommy.  With mommy “going to work” on a much less frequent basis compared to daddy, my children seem to hold my work as a childbirth educator in somewhat of a mysterious esteem.  I teach people about babies passing through mommies’ vaginas, after all.  What wouldn’t be mysteriously appealing about that?

With ten minutes left to our drive back home, Landon chit-chatted about the make-believe bunny riding in the car with us, the sunset-imbued gray, pink, peach and purple clouds, and the various cars and trucks on the road all around us.  I interjected to ask him if he’d noticed anything particular about the women in classroom tonight.

“Huh-uh,” he replied, perplexed at my question.

“Did you notice they all had big round tummies?” I questioned him further.

“No,” he innocently replied.

“All the ladies in the class tonight had babies in their tummies.  Isn’t that neat?”

“Oh, wow!  That’s pretty cool.  I think that’s really pretty.  Kind of like that truck is really pretty.”

“I think it’s pretty too.”

As Landon went on to ask me what the delivery truck in front of us was most likely delivering to which location, a thought occurred to me:

In some cultures, women–especially pregnant women–are treated with extreme reverence for the mere fact they posses the miraculous ability to bear life.  Native American (traditionally matriarchal) cultures are particularly well known for this.  As much as I would like to assume that this type of reverence is automatic, as a response to the magnetic, glowing energy fertile women posses (ok, I know some of my readers out there may not readily appreciate that last statement) perhaps maintaining an attitude of reverence for this life bearing gift is as much a learned behavior as it is an instinctual response.  If this is true, then I will be sure to remind my children, whenever the opportunity arises, to hold a door, offer a smile, or ponder the life within, of every pregnant woman we come across.

And I will also appreciate the beauty in a Darigold truck, as seen through the eyes of a recently damned well behaved, incredibly adorable, usually monstrously mischievous, 3 1/2-year-old boy named Landon.

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