Maternal Instinct

This morning, after I finished working my call shift, I had my first appointment with my new obstetrician.  I was a little nervous, even though I picked her from all the obstetricians I know in this city because she is one of my favourites.  I also knew exactly what to expect from the appointment, seeing as how this is my third pregnancy and this is my area of specialty.  Regardless, I was nervous.  I have been working fairly closely with this woman over the past few months with her supervising me in my delivery and cesarean-section skills.  I enjoy her casual attitude, her skill, and her friendly demeanour.  This appointment, though, was about to introduce a new dimension.

The appointment itself went well and there was nothing too unexpected.  However, I was caught off guard by how strongly I found comfort in feeling like this woman was “taking care” of me in some way.  It took me most of the day to place this familiar feeling – but I realized that it was the same feeling I had when I first met my new family doctor just over a year ago, and most pronounced when I engaged in the patient-obstetrician relationship that started with my old friend and mentor, Kay, many years ago.

Part of coming to this realization occurred after I woke up from my daytime sleep and reflected on the dream I had in my pregnant and post-call state.  I had a vivid dream about the obstetrician that I saw this morning.  Like most dreams, I only remember bits and pieces, but the parts I do remember were sufficient enough to point towards an underlying theme.

For some reason, this doctor was staying with me, in my house, for a certain amount of time.  Perhaps it was because her house was being renovated or something like that – she was displaced for some reason.  During this stay at my house, she was very attentive to me and how I was feeling; she took time to talk to me about “stuff.”  I don’t remember any of the details of what was said, I just remember feeling like it was important that she listened to me.  She was very affectionate towards me in a maternal way, making me feel like I was, again, being cared for, looked after, and important to her.  At one point in the dream, I remember my own mother appearing and then feeling confused about why she was there and what her purpose was at that moment in the encounter.

That’s pretty much all I remember.  Initially I woke up from this dream feeling a strange sense of belonging and satisfaction.  However, that feeling quickly gave way to feelings of sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness.  All those feelings arose as I realized that everything I felt in the dream was not real and were only projections of feelings that I want or need but am not able to acquire – at least not in the places I am looking.  It was at this point that I remembered having similar feelings of wanting to be cared for by other female (and physician) people in my life.

This is not a new feeling or phenomenon for me (let me find a post from the early days of The Old Blog to prove it).  It was a while back in my counselling when I discovered that these feelings originate from the lack of maternal care and influence from my own mother.  I have been seeking to have this role fulfilled from other women for almost my entire life – at least since I was 12 or 13.  I am surprised, however, to discover that after knowing for so long where these emotions come from, and having spent many years working on them and realizing that I need to look inside myself to find a solution to these difficult emotions, that I would still so easily fall into the old, familiar, yet unsatisfying pattern of seeking comfort in places (and people) where it can’t be found.

In addition to feeling sad, hopeless, and confused about the re-emergence of these emotions, I am feeling angry at myself for falling back into this harmful pattern of searching for maternal love and acceptance where it can never be found.  Obviously this is something that I need to spend more time working to resolve.  Perhaps the resurgence of this Maternal issue is something that I am meant to deal with throughout this pregnancy.  Perhaps it is also part of the reason why I am feeling so uncertain and uneasy about my decision to have another baby.  Maybe all of these emotions are tied together somehow: the desire to seek out maternal care, the prominence of these emotions in pregnancy, and my somewhat confusing desire to expand in my role as a mother.

Old Habits

When I was younger, I was obsessed with Sandra Bullock.  I wrote a post about this obsession on my Old Blog back in 2014 (see below) when I was moving and needed to clean out my DVD collection for our garage sale.  I know there were many reasons why I had this significant obsession with a rather young, beautiful movie star:  I was young, sad, insecure, and lonely.  Throughout my teens I “got to know” Sandra Quite well.  I watched so many of her movies so many times that I became familiar with personal mannerisms that appeared in many movies; small things, like the way she would grunt in frustration, the way she rolls her eyes, the way she coughs, runs… you get the idea.  As I’ve gotten older, I haven’t followed her as closely as I used to.  Although, for old times sake I will usually see her new movies when they come out.

This past weekend I was visiting my family for the Canadian Thanksgiving Holiday and my mom and I were flipping through Netflix to find a movie to watch.  I found that I was excited to watch an old Sandra Bullock classic – Practical Magic.  Once the movie was over, I discovered that I was more than excited to have watched it:  I felt a sense of comfort and familiarity.  So much so that the next night after the kids were tucked in bed, I found another of her movies on Netflix – The Proposal.  On our drive home I was thinking about the significance of my little “Sandra Bullock Binge” and I realized that there was something about me back when I was young that has come back to me and is somehow soothed by this old habit.  This something, I don’t exactly know what, is that feeling of sadness, uncertainly, loneliness, and who knows what else… But it is back and wanting to find comfort in something old and familiar.

I don’t know what to make of al this, except I know that life is feeling more challenging than normal right now.  I wonder if it also has something to do with this time of year, as we are getting close to the same time as last year when I started feeling overwhelmed and hopeless.  I have found it difficult to be motivated to keep my mood up, stay on top of exercise, be interested in my kids, enjoy my job, and be excited about my pregnancy.  Life really feels like it is closing in on me right now, and perhaps finding some old habits to help comfort me isn’t a bad idea.

Originally Published on The Old Blog, May 2014:

When I was 12 years old, I spent a week of my christmas vacation at my dad’s house.  All I did for a whole week was watch movies.  There was one movie in particular that I fell in love with and watched over, and over, and over again.  You’ll never guess which one…

I’ll give you a hint: It’s about a bus… a bus with a bomb.

Yes.  That’s right.  A 12 year old girl became obsessed with “Speed.”

Maybe it was because of Keanu Reeves, you say?  Nope.  It was because of Sandra Bullock.  In that week, I became obsessed with Sandra Bullock.  In some way, she became this woman I looked up to and strived to be like – for a while I wanted to move to Hollywood and become a famous actress… Clearly, I never did that.

For quite  along time after that, I watched every movie that Sandra Bullock ever made.  I bought any magazine that she was ever in.  I wanted to have hair cuts like her, and I wanted to look like her… you name it.  Sometimes I even imagined that we were friends, that we’d have conversations, and that she cared about what I was doing in my life (yes, I was clearly a lonely and neglected child).

This full-on obsession lasted probably until I was nearing the end of high school.  And while it tamed down, however, I continued to pay attention to what was going on in her life and what movies she was coming out with.  Even to this day, I still try to see all her movies… I did see Gravity!

Today while I was going through our crawl space and sorting stuff to either pack or sell in our garage sale, I found all my DVDs.  I put most of the movies into the “sell” pile, but I pulled out all of my Sandra Bullock movies.  I clearly haven’t taken time to watch any of these movies in a very, very long time, seeing how there were stored away in the recesses of my house.  I asked myself why I felt the need to keep them.  And the truth is, I couldn’t bring myself to throw away the last bit of proof I have that that part of my life happened.

For many years, I made Sandra Bullock an important part of my life.  It may sound silly, or childish, or obsessive, but regardless – it got me through some really tough times.  Today I am obviously not as “into” her as I was then, but it doesn’t change the past.  After staring at this pile of movies for an unnatural length of time, I finally made the decision that it was time to part with the movies.  Whether I continue to possess them or not, or if I never watch them again, it won’t change the past – it will always be with me.

And with that, I took a picture of my little collection and placed all my Sandra Bullock DVDs into the “garage sale” pile.