The Illuminati Cultural Movement and Controversy

11 May

 

xoxo

It’s all over the Internet…has completely taken over Youtube…Shit, every time I type in the name of a Rihanna video, countless videos show up supposedly ‘exposing’ her affiliation to a secret organization known as the Illuminati.

But what the hell is the Illuminati?! There are so many theories on what type of organization this group really is and whether or not it actually exists. I mean is it a spiritual movement? Or is it something more political or cultural? If you were to google “Illuminati” what type of answers pop up in your search engine…probably a combination of all three.

All I can recommend to people who honestly and earnestly want to know more about this “Illuminati” thing is that they would be best off doing the research for themselves and coming up with their own opinions – I have mine.

In my mind the Illuminati is a very real sect/organization/affiliation – whether they actually go by or answer to that name, I’m not sure – but that is the name that ‘outsiders’ of said group call them by. This secret organization had its beginnings in Europe under a different name, Bavarian-something (I’m not a history buff, or a know-it-all, this is just my interpretation of pop culture’s recent mania over the Illuminati) and was a progressive group that pursued the knowledge of science, humanism, and perhaps dabbled in the occcult. Many influential politicians and world leaders were members of this group, though it was said to be illegal to be a member as well as persecuted by the Catholic Church and possibly other Christian denominations.

Whether Illuminati members actually took part in sinister occult rituals or not, we shall never know. However, there did tend to grow an association with pagan, occult beliefs and this secret sect. The reason why I believe the world is so frightened to death by the Illuminati is because they are an international organization with extremely influential members (politicians, religious leaders, social activists, actors, entertainers, and other celebrities). It’s similar to the lore around the Roman Catholic sect of Opus Dei, which is a controversially conservative group of Catholics whose main goal is to, for lack of a better word, infiltrate our society so as to influence Catholic teachings in general society.

And that’s what many Christians and non-Christians alike have a problem with. In my own mind, I can’t deny the recent and very prevalent strong use of symbolism throughout the entertainment industry; and many people believe that the Illuminati is subtly trying to control mass media using occult symbolism to saturate our youths minds. This is done with sun symbolism, ancient Egyptian occult symbolism, black and white symbolising ‘duality’, goat skulls (Baphomet), triangles, unicorns, etc, etc.

In all fairness, there has to be some truth there. Why suddenly are all actors and actresses covering one eye? I mean, for what purpose? Why does everyone one black and white checkerboard floors in their music videos? What’s this fetish with robots? You have to see it for what it is…there is a lot of the same symbolism occurring in various media, not just today, but also throughout history.

The Illuminati are also closely tied in with the Masons, which was basically the basis and foundation for this country. It is a well-known fact that many of the Presidents were members of the freemasons and regularly attended the Masonic Temple (which, to the dismay of many is closed to outsiders and never has any windows). These masonic symbols also have frequently appeared in various media lately (i.e. “the all-seeing eye”, pyramids, keys, columns, etc.).

I have a feeling that the Illuminati do indeed exist; and I personally know someone who has been approached by members of the freemasons and told that the Illuminati are tied in with masonry and that Jay-Z is somehow involved…

Now, as interesting as it is to loose yourself in conspiracy theories and watching videos analyzing the symbolism (I personally love it!). I don’t believe that the Illuminati pose a real hazard. Similar to other powerful organizations and groups like the Roman Catholic church, Opus Dei, World Bank, shit…I don’t know…they pose a threat to various other groups because of their sheer power in numbers and influential members.

But the important thing to remember is this: occult or no occult ties, symbolism similar to art can be perceived and interpreted a variety of ways. I don’t think that a thirteen year old watching one of Jay-Z’s videos will see a goat skull and automatically associated that with the devil and promptly set up a satanic altar. In various cultures, symbols can mean different things. For instance, in Asian cultures (especially Indian cultures), no one would dream of wearing white to a wedding because white is reserved for funeral services/cremations. White is hardly the sign of purity but usally the sign of death or ghostly spirits. Even speaking from a strictly Christian/Catholic perspective (of which there are many members who oppose the Illuminati fiercely) – many Christian and Catholic symbols are actually pagan-based. It has been historically proven that traditional coptic crosses evolved from the Egyptian ankh, which is a sign of male-female duality. Similarly, the robes and vestments many Catholic clery wear are also similar to the robes and vestments worn by pagan priests of the pre-Christian era. Another example is how Haitian and New Orleans voodoo practitioners highly revere the cross, in the Christian sense but mainly in an “occult”-based religious emphasis on “the crossroads”. A symbol – although powerful in its own right, is still subject to a culture or individual’s personal interpretation; it’s relative.

Symbols – sinister or otherwise cannot hurt you.

Furthermore, whether the Illuminati/the entertainment industry’s aim is to actually brainwash the public or not is besides the point. No one likes to be told what to feel, how to think , or what to do. Call me naive, but I have a little more faith in the human race than that. We may start wars, kill eachother like savages, but we are hardly a brainless bunch waiting to be enslaved by an elite group. Especially, Americans. We may go crazy for Lady Gaga’s bloody performances, paint stars over one eye because we think it’s “cool”, and put our middle name as “Fierce” after Sasha Fierce on our Facebook pages…but really? Brainwashed to buy certain products, brainwashed to worship Satan? Hardly. We may be pop-culture fanatics in this country, but let’s not forget what this country is built on what this country has been about since day one. Think about our war of Independence from Great Britain, the Puritans coming to escape religious persecution, the Civil Rights movement, and countless of other big moments in our country’s history. We are not a people known for holding our tongue or standing down to the “elite”.

So forgive me for still having faith in the human race or in Americans in general. On top of that – even if an elite group were somehow able to totally infiltrate our culture, brainwash us, and take over – how long would it be until that elite group destroyed itself? Greedy and power-hungry individuals may be on top for a little while, but they soon find that their power is fleeting. Everyone within that group would be vying for the top spot, backstabbing eachother, and eventually the organization would crumble (i.e. fall of the Roman Empire).

So do I believe in the existence of a secret organization known as the Illuminati? Yes. Do I believe they are affiliated with freemasonry? Yes. (In fact they may be affiliated in various religious organizations including Christian ones as well.) Do I believe that they have influence in our society in areas of politics, science, philanthropy, the arts, and the media? More than likely, yes. Do I believe that they have atheistic or even occult ties? Yes…but who’s that really hurting?

Here’s a side note on that topic…I could personally care less if Satanists are creating top-charting music hits and expanding their own wealth – meanwhile we have church scandals where pastors and priests are raping and molesting innocent children. And what is it that Christians seem to be more concerned about? That’s the real evil righ there.

Not to say that Illuminatis are even Satanists…from my perspective they probably dabble in some form of occult practices that sample from various cultures and world religions (think, Wicca, New-Age). And are all their messages really all that offensive? I recently saw a commentary on Lady Gaga’s new video “Born this Way” which spoke of a new generation that cares not for racial differences, appearances, or sexual orientation. Sounds like a very Christian message to me…

My point it this: if reading/discussing/learning about the Illuminati interests you, than by all means look into it. I personally find it extremely fascinating but maybe from a more anthropological viewpoint; as in why people believe what they believe, symbolism in culture, etc. But please don’t become one of those people creates hour long youtube videos tearing apart this or that artist. Whether the Illuminati exist or not is not really relevant today…there are so many other issues worth noting.

War and hunger in poverty-stricken countries, rape and domestic abuse, the objectification of women in society (do the Illuminati play a role???), etc. etc. So many other important topics to cover and try to figure out than whether the world is going to be taken over by money-hungry “Satanists”.

In my personal opinion, this world with its many  real problems and issues has much more to worry about than this group of Illuminati thinkers. But on the other hand, our society (which many believe is so infiltrated by the evil Illuminati) really isn’t that bad. We are making slow and steady progress to the society that even crazy-ass Lady Gaga speaks about in her song: “Born this way”. Self acceptance, racial pride, diversity, rights/acceptance for people with different sexual orientations, women’s presence in the workplace, etc. If there are people who have problems with these kind of changes in society or the music/art that promotes things that are actually positive (a sizable population of Illuminati haters), than perhaps they should form their own secret society or build their own utopia – hey, there’s always Mormonism…

I find it funny that people always believe that it’s the end of the world. I don’t know why they want to scare themselves so bad. Even a thousand years ago people believed society was evil and the world was coming to an end. In recent times – look at how people responded to the year 2000, Y2K conspiracy theories and end of the world assumptions with Nostra Domus (whatever his name is) and oh, lord, here comes 2012…

I guess for some people it’s just easier to point to certain year as the end of times. Similarly, it’s easy for many to look at an entire group and blame that one group for the evil in the world (Beyonce’s booty-shaking performance, Rihanna’s boustiers, Gaga’s acceptance of homosexuals). It’s the blame game. It’s an obsession.

Hope I didn’t offend anyone. Just stating my own beliefs on the subject.

xoxo

Movie Review: Black Swan (WTF?!)

9 May

xoxo

Well, for Mother’s Day, my fiance got me “Black Swan”, the movie I’d been dying to see for ages. The movie is about a ballerina, Nina, who dances for a NY dance company at the Lincoln Center. She earns for herself the starring role of the Swan Queen in renowned production, “Swan Lake”. However, this isn’t a simple narrative story, this psychological thriller is a metaphor that tells a deeper meaning.

What that meaning was…well…I’m not entirely sure…But apparently I wasn’t the only one confused by the movie as evidenced when I googled, “The meaning behind the movie Black Swan”. There were a variety of answers, and honestly, maybe that’s what good art is…something that can be interpreted and perceieved a variety of ways.

At first, I wasn’t sure that I liked Black Swan – I mean, there’s just this element throughout the entire movie that just makes you feel…um, very uncomfortable. I don’t know if it was Nina and her mother’s neurotic perfectionism and the overwhelming pressure to succeed, if it was the scenes of Nina’s first experiences masturbating, and/or how Nina a young adult in her mid-twenties acted like a 12 year old girl with no backbone. You really have to see the movie for yourself to know about the oppressing feeling of discomfort. I mean, whoever the director was did an amazing job capturing the feelings and emotions and forcing them onto the audience.

My boyfriend hated it. He said it was creepy and paranoid. Yes, I would have to agree…I left the movie feeling creeped out and paranoid as well. When we got back to our apartment from his mom’s (where we watched the movie) I felt extremely creeped out and paranoid just closing the blinds and drawing the shades, as if the horrendous black swan were on the other side of the glass staring at me. All I can say is that it was an intensly artistic and meaningful movie. I can’t say that I loved it because who wants to be uncomfortable? But when faced with “perfection”, which seems to be one of the central themes of the plot, how can you not admire it? I don’t know if this is much of a movie review…But as I fold the laundry I intend to pop the movie back in and take a second look at this poetic expression to discover the message that I find behind it. And like any good art, you’ll see your own reflection in it and interpret what it means for you. If that makes you uncomfortable…maybe that’s a good thing.

xoxo

Race: Seriously what’s the point?

6 May

Racially ambiguous model from America's Next Top Model

xoxo

Race…I feel like it colors (no pun intended) every day of my life. Ever since I was a child I focused a lot on race, mostly because coming from a multicultural family, I was always questioned first and foremost, “What are you? Where are you from?”.

I’ve gotten all sorts of guesses ranging near and wide, true and far from true; usually depending on whether I wore my hair straight or curly or what time of year it was and whether I had a tan or not. Some of the fun ones: Algerian, Egyptian, Argentinian, Brazilian, Puerto Rican, Colombian, Spanish, Greek, Native American, Syrian, Arabic, Moroccan, and even bi-racial (black and white).

Every now and then someone will say, “Italian” or “some kind of Spanish”, which I guess is somewhat close but who could really blame them from not getting it spot on…In reality my family is a large admixture of nationalities, ethnicities, and I guess, racial groups as well. But then again…aren’t all Americans mixed to a certain extent?

My mother can trace her heritage, like many “Anglo-Americans” to various countries: English, Scottish, Beligian, German, and a pretty significant amount of Native American, although you could never tell. My mom is your typical American beauty, straight blonde hair, colored eyes (blue-green), and freckles in the sun. My father on the other hand can trace his heritage to Cuba (via Italy and Spain) and the Philippines (a diverse culture in itself). On my Dad’s side my relatives, whether Asian, Italian, or Latino range from the very deep brown to pale, almost-iridescent, white. My father has a short, stocky build; light brown skin; thick, wavy black hair; and black eyes. He, himself, appears racially ambiguous but is often confused with being South/Central American.

I have cousins from various countries and ethnicities who don’t resemble me to the slightest and some speak different languages and live in different countries. In fact, there are many cousins who I’ve never even met before.

Growing up, I was always concerned with race…only because to me, the rest of the world seemed concerned with it too. For whatever reason, as a child, my family either lived in predominantly white or predominantly black neighborhoods so there wasn’t much blending in for me. Everyone wanted to know: “What are you?” In fact, it may sound strange…but if put in a classroom made up of blacks or whites, I would usually feel more at home with my black classmates; even though my mother is as Caucasian as Caucasian can be.

Maybe it was because as a young child, I felt like I was ugly because I looked nothing like my mother or the pictures of mainstream American white girls who looked just like my Mommy; blonde and fair. Instead, at school I was called “brown girl” or “Puerto Rican” or “Mexican”. Kids pulled at my curly hair and taunted me crudely saying my hair looked like “pubes” or maybe I was Jew. I remember being singled out in class during a lesson on Thanksgiving and the pilgrims and Indians because the students wanted to know if I was Native American.

Today, how do I define myself? I usually just say Italian or Spanish because those are the features that I carry most. My dark curly hair, olive skin, and brown almond-shaped eyes. But I never really say “white” even though my mom is white, that’s 50%, and my dad has a significant amount of European ancestry too…I wonder how people would respond if I just shrugged and said “white”?

I don’t feel like a “white” girl…even though I don’t know how a white girl should feel. I also don’t feel like a Latina – my Spanish sucks actually. I don’t look anywhere damn near Asian. So I’m caught somewhere in between. Not enough of one thing to be one, not enough of another thing to be another; and not posessing the features or coloring typically classified as “white”. It was confusing growing up as a child and to a certain extent, I’m still finding my identity now because my family didn’t really like to talk about it.

All I know is that I can cook eggrolls, chinese ginger soup, platanos maduros, arroz con pollo, lasagna, chicken parmigiana, shepherd’s pie, and make a mean meatloaf like nobody’s business. Maybe I’m the true American…the melting pot?

Now I’m expecting my first child, a beautiful baby girl who will look up to me and think I’m the most beautiful woman in the world, like I looked up to my blonde Mommy and thought she was perfection. She’ll see me fixing myself for work, like I used to see my Mom fixing herself… and she’ll want me to do her hair in the morning before school and she’ll go out into a world that will ask her, “What are you?” And when Sofia comes home to her mixed up Mommy, light brown Daddy, and Gramma with the funny Jamaican accent and asks… “What am I?” We’ll say, “Beautiful, Sofia, just beautiful”.

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With that being said I ask you guys out there? What are your opinions on race/ethnicity? Is it something that causes division or something that, as your heritage, provides an anchor…some history or support?

Forum open.

xoxo

Best technique for straightening hair…

6 May

xoxo

Okay, so if you have to straighten your hair like me, you’ll know what I’m referring to when I talk about the “straightened look”. The “straightened look” is basically when you look at someone’s hair and you can tell that it’s been straightened. There are two types:

1.) The straightened hair that looks so dry that you can see all the split ends and fly-aways. The hair shaft is brittle, has little to no shine and resembles something like flax, wool, or another not-so-soft fabric. This person probably spent hours straightening their hair as well.

2.) The straightened hair that’s greasy. This person’s hair stands absolutely straight and tends to separate into what I like to call chunks. Although this girl’s hair is usually a dark brown…there’s so much oil/de-frizz agent in her hair that it’s now black. Bangs stick to the forehead and there’s no way this girl’s hair will even flutter in hurricane winds.

So I always wondered…how do I get that in-between look? That fluid, flowy texture where my hair looks naturally straight or like the models in videos or one tv. Smooth, luxurious, and shiny but not as if I spent hours straightening the mess out of it or hours applying oil/conditioner.

I tried applying a moderate amount of conditioner, not too much and not too little; but the unfortunate consequence was that the oil never fully seeped into my hair shaft and I would constantly be reapplying anti-frizz creams throughout the day. And that was a complete annoyance, carrying around bottles and jars of icky goo that sometimes exploded or would leak into my purse. Ugh.

Not only that, but forget about humid/rainy days – my style would poof into some disaster that had me shaking my head and wishing I just left it curly, it’d be better off.

But then I found the perfect technique for me.

Now, each hair type is different. It has different needs and responds differently to different treatment and even different touches. So I’ll describe my own hair type, give the technique, and you can try it and will probably need to tweak it for your own use.

My own hair is long (down my back), extremely thick, processed with dye, frequently straightened/curled with hot tools, and wavy-slightly curly. When I wash it and leave it to air-dry after combing it out it poofs out like a big pyramid with some straight-ish sections and some S-pattern waves/curls. Oftentimes, what I put in my hair and how I touch it make the biggest difference.

When I want to straighten my hair I first gather my tools…

1.) Wide-toothed comb.

2.) Paddle brush.

3.) Boar’s-hair brush.

4.) Blow-dryer with pointed nozzle.

5.) Ceramic flat-iron.

6.) Thick/dense hair conditioner (preferably with heat protectant).

7.) Light hair conditioner/finishing spray.

8.) Light-hold hairspray.

9.) Hair wrap.

10.) Long, straight hair pins.

Now, I’m not gonna get all hung up on particular brands or products unless they are just THAT amazing. Because truth be told, even women with seemingly similar hair types often must treat their hair differently. I’m convinced that hair is like your fingerprints…it is uniquely yours and unlike anyone else’s. It just takes a little playing around with…and it took me years to understand, yes understand, my own hair. My mother’s side of the family is Caucasian and her hair is stick straight and blonde so we had many battles with my poofy curly hair through the years. So don’t be afraid to rework this technique to fit your own hair type.

Now, I found that for me timing is everything. It is imperative for me to start this process overnight because that’s how long it takes for the initial oil to seep into my hair shaft.You know how second-day hair always looks better than when you first wash it? It’s akin to that principle.

1.) First thing out of the shower, you’ll want to gently comb your freshly shampooed and conditioned hair with a wide-toothed comb. This will get out any nots and kinks without straining the hair follicle and will lead to less breakage.

2.) Once combed out, I would go through the hair again with the paddle brush because this will detangle the hair even more.

3.) That’s when I give my hair a few minutes to air-dry because I don’t have the patience to spend all day blow-drying my hair with a roller brush AND it cuts down on the amount of heat needed on the hair shaft.

4.) After about 30 min. of air-drying I go back to my damp poofy hair (I know you’ll want to put hair up in a ponytail or tie it in a bun but resist the urge and left it go a little crazy). You may need to detangle hair again using steps #1-2.

5.) Now section your hair into various sections. The thicker your hair the more sections you’ll need. I like to get my hair very straight and my own hair is very thick and dense so in total I have about 5 sections/layers. It’s usually easier to do this using two hair ties. First you section a small manageable layer at bottom of your head to work with and separate the rest of the head with a hair tie. As you progress you tie off the finished layers so they don’t blend with the layer you’re currently working on. This will be the process we use for both hair drying and straightening.

6.) After sectioning the hair, start from the bottom layer to the top finishing in the front with any bangs you may have. You will blow dry pointing the nozzle downward to seal the shaft. This is a technique I picked up from various Dominican salons. Unlike most mainstream American salons that use the blowdryer without the nozzle to give body & volume in a blow-out…us curly girls usually get better results using the pointed nozzle to direct heat down the hair shaft to seal it smooth and make it straight. We usually have enough volume already.

7.) Depending on how dry/fragile your hair is…you may want to use a conditioner/heat protectant before step 6 but I usually wait until now to apply conditioner. Now my hair is usually straight-ish/wavy and extremely poofy looking but all the curls are gone. I go back and re-section the hair into the same size layers. This time around I’m going to go over the blow-dryed hair with a ceramic iron…BUT only after applying a dense moisturizing conditioner (preferably with heat protectant) from ends up to roots. I do this with each layer right before straightening so it doesn’t evaporate off the hair follicle or completely absorb into the hair strands. After applying the conditioner I brush it throughout with a boar’s hair brush which will evenly distribute the oil. Then I follow up with my ceramic flat iron, which I usually heat to the highest setting.

8.) Once again, after completing a section…oiling it and straigtening it, tie the layer of hair back with the other finished sections so they don’t interfere with the hair that has yet to be oiled and straightened.

9.) Be very consistent in using your straightener. It’s easy to get plate marks in the hair from pressing too hard on the hair or leaving the iron in a certain position. Run the iron down in a smooth consistent manner to heat the hair evenly.

10.) After straightening all layers of hair, mine usually looks very straight but with a lot of volume and dryer ends (from mine being processed and using heat). So I reapply the dense conditioner to ends of the hair only and then brush through my hair with the boar’s hair brush. Boar’s hair brushes are dense black natural bristles on a wooden paddle and it’s scientifically proven that these distribute oils evenly throughout the hair. If I see any wavy or frizzy strands I may just touch those up real quick.

11.) Hair may still appear a little drier so I separate my hair into sections again. This time not as many as five, maybe just three or so and spray my hair with a light finishing spray. (Not to be confused with hairspray!) This is a light conditioning agent that will add shine without weighing the hair down (making it greasy). Then I brush through using the Boar’s hair brush. You can now lightly spray hair with a light-hold regular hairspray to keep the style. Brush through again.

12.) Now I wrap my hair around my head using my paddle brush to brush hair in that particular direction. Because I have bangs that naturally fall to the right side of my head I keep my bangs in this right-side position in the wrap so I won’t have to redo them in the morning. Hair can be secured with a few large bobby pins. Make sure these are the straight pins without the waves in them because you’ll want to avoid marks and creases in the hair.

13.) Cover hair with a silk scarf or my favorite, a poofy silk hair cap. Hey, it’s not sexy but it’ll protect the hair and keep it nice.

14.) In the morning remove cap/scarf and bobby pins. Straighten any stubborn peices, add the light oil conditioner only to ends or dry peices, brush through with the Boar’s hair brush and marvel at your straight, silky hair. Not greasy. Not dry. Just right. Style to your liking.

*Sometimes instead of wrapping my hair to keep it straight Iactually roll it in soft rods to get nice smooth waves in the morning. It may seem redundent when you have naturally curly hair, but the waves come out extremely smooth. Instead of frizzing up later in the day, they may just fall and straighten out a little bit.

Once again the most important part of this technique is to do it overnight so the moisturizers can sink in.

Hope this was of some help to other girls with curly hair. I’ll be sure to post some of my favorite products later, but I figured that you guys would have your own that you can work with. It’s really just doing it overnight that takes the hair to another level. This look should last you at least a week.

xoxo

Sofia Sweet Pea

5 May

Picture of the day! Can’t wait for my baby girl to arrive! Getting ready!

Worst part of pregnancy: pregnancy books…

5 May

 

xoxo

Well, my last post pretty much chronicled all my fears about being a young mother and how I pretty much felt lik e a failure and worthless due to my avoidance of preachy pregnancy self-help books.

But I decided to do some research and found 3 pregnancy books that seem worth getting into:

#1.) Let’s Panic About  Babies! (Alice Bradley, Eden M. Kennedy)

#2.) 100 Things I Hate About Pregnancy! (Kate Konopicky)

#3.) It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, A Breakdown, & A Much Needed Margarita (Heather B. Armstrong)

Something a little different than your typical What To Expect When You’re Expecting…

I might be 9 monthes pregnant but I’m going to go out and buy all three, especially #1 & #3 because they also focus on parenthood as well. Be sure to visit www.lets-panic.com which is the website that started the book Let’s Panic About Babies! and offers a humorous, sarcastic, and irreverent outlook on childrearing. Thank God…I’m so tired of all the shitty books out there.

xoxo

What to expect is the unexpected…

5 May

xoxo

I am the quintessential procrastinator. I’ve always been like that…maybe I just work and think better under pressure. I’m always the one who waits until the last minute to write an entire research paper versus working on it little by little. And I’m always the one who comes in the house and throws everything on the floor, letting the mess accumulate until right before an event or until the point that I am forced to stay up all night cleaning. It wouldn’t be so bad to be a procrastinator if it worked for me.

In a way it does…I keep a nice apartment, get nice grades, and am fairly productive at my job (pregnancy aside). But it’s the stress that doesn’t work for me. Because I’m a procrastinator who is also a perfectionist.

In the way of pregnancy, I feel a little bit guilty. As though for these past nine months I haven’t been doing my “job” as a prospective mother. Millions of other first time moms are so excited to be Mommies that they literally research every aspect of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood in general. They buy various books on the topic, attend workshops and parenting classes along with the prerequisited Lamaze, they actually “interview” doctors and midwives, and they seem to have everything planned out accordingly.

Me on the other hand, I’m so behind the curve. But then again, I’m not that demographic of the American mother. I’m not 30-something, married, established, and settled comfortably in the suburbs. Yes, I guess to a certain extent this is my “Mommy Blog” but it’s nothing compared to my 30 or 40-something counterparts who seem so knowledgable on the topic of parenting. They are either full-time stay-at-home mother experts who could compete with the best on HGTV or the cooking channel; or they are Supermom, career women juggling it all.

It leaves me wondering what type of mother I am, what type of mother I will be…and if I am, in fact, a good mom.

All these mothers-to-be were strictly adhering to their doctor’s nutritional guidelines or only eating organic, while here I was eating the dreaded chili dog and all sorts of processed foods: McDonalds, tv dinners, frozen pizza, you name it…

Yes, I did buy a pregnancy book…but I was so turned off by its cynical description of childbirth that I put it down immediately. That and the fact that it was written by a man, who by his biological nature, had never once experienced nor ever would experience childbirth or pregnancy. I barely skimmed a few chapters before I put it down and never picked it up again. Besides it read like a study guide or user’s manual. I guess I just don’t want to look at pregnancy as preparing for the Bar.

I also, read a few articles in parenting magazines, but that had little to do with the pregnancy I was currently experiencing or the labor I am now anticipating.

After relocating in the middle of my pregnancy and getting state medical insurance I’ve had to switch my OB twice already and my current doctor was the only female solo practitioner within a decent distance of my house. So, so much for choosing an OB based on references or an ‘interview’. And many times, my fiance and I have felt like she rushed the appointment – in all fairness I have to wait until my fiance can pick me up after work and we are usually running a few minutes behind schedule for the last appointment. So in that way, I’ve felt like I had to settle.

I looked up various birth plans online and came up with one to which my OB retorted, “Oh don’t give me that…none of that hippie nonsense – Everyone gets an epidural nowadays.” I didn’t have any over ambitious plans for an unassisted homebirth or going natural in any way – I just wanted to make sure that I’d be as comfortable and happy as possible during my labor.

And now less than 2 weeks away, with the possibility of her coming any day now has me thinking…is there any way to really prepare yourself? I mean, even if you take the Lamaze classes, the parenting workshops, and read tons of books. Can it really prepare you for the actual experience of childbirth or parenting? And now me, the self-proclaimed perfectionist, is questioning if there really is a right and wrong way to go about this whole mom and baby thing.

In an effort to “catch up”, recently I’ve been soaking in everything available online. Information on what true contractions/labor pains feel like, the medicines available in most hospitals, what it’s like to receive an epidural, episiotomies, childbirth, breastfeeding, anything…One thing I can tell you is this – maybe I need to read up a little more on breathing techniques and Lamaze, but for the most part, I think that for all the time and money other first time moms have spent, they’re just as unprepared as me.

On so many mother’s websites and forums women described labor a myriad of ways. Some said it wasn’t bad at all, some said it was the worst experience of their life and everything in between. Even their descriptions of labor pains differed greatly. For instance, I was surprised to hear about something called back labor, which basically means that most of the pain and pressure you feel during labor is felt in your back versus your stomach. It is supposed to feel like intense menstrual cramps or waves of diarrhea cramps. In short, you don’t know how your body is going to respond until you get into that hospital.

Birth plan to wind, most women’s pregnancies and delivery go down completely different than they expect. It’s different than their mother’s, different with each baby, and different for each woman. Labor itself, from what I’ve read is completely unpredictable. Many women have gone to the hospital expecting to get an epidural only to go into labor too quickly to receive any medication. Many other women have gone to the hospital intending to go au natural but due to certain circumstances opted for the epidural last minute or needed a C-section.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is this…I want to prepare myself as much as possible but in the end I know that I’m preparing myself for the unpreparable. I know that labor and delivery is unexpected and contrary to the many pregnancy books on the market, that seek to control the process (no matter what the childbirth philosophy) – you just can’t control nature.

This is the attitude that I’m going to have to take and stick with. Even me, the control freak and self-proclaimed perfectionist…I’m realizing that I need to let go. The house doesn’t have to be completely organized from top to bottom. It’s not imperative that the top of the fridge be sanitized. And I don’t have to be the perfect mom.

I guess all of the low self-esteem and guilt I was feeling as a first time mother had a lot to do with all the many websites, books, and message boards dedicated to motherhood and this perfect ideal mom that society upholds.

I hate society, men and women included, for writing self-help pregnancy books that make mothers-to-be think that to be a good mom means appealing to some super-human expectations. I hate books that don’t touch on the real symptoms of pregnancy. I hate books that make preparing for delivery sound like studying for the SATs. I hate myself for buying into the hype and believing that I have to be something I’m not or that I’ll never be good enough to be a good mom.

I’m as prepared as I’ll ever be. I’m as good and as worthy as I’ll ever be. I was designed by nature to do this. I’ve had experience caring for my six younger brothers. I’ve soaked in as much information as possible and my only advice to other young moms like me who may not have the time, energy, or money to become “professional moms” – it’s okay, you’re a great mom just the way you are.

That being said…my next post will include links that answer frequently asked questions by pregnant mothers. They offer, for the most part, non-biased and non judgmental information that is purely factual and absolutely essential to a young mother. It’s best get a good idea, without overwhelming oneself.

xoxo