Our community is about to welcome another member in to its midst. One of our couples are expecting their first baby any day; at the moment they are a few days past her EDD. I think babies being “late” is a good introduction to being a parent and how a baby is going to turn your life upside down and how your schedule is about to be arranged, permanently. This baby will be welcomed in to the arms of his/her mom and dad and in to the arms of the whole community in the main community house.
The last baby that was born in that house was my niece. I have been wondering how this baby will be different. Honestly, I have never really liked other people’s kids. Well, it’s not that I don’t like them, it is just that I have never really been one of those types who enjoys everyone’s kids and who can always be found holding or playing with other people’s children. My niece is different. She is just a different kind of mine. My attachment to her is very different from the attachment I have with my son, but it is also very different from any other child I have been around; she is also mine.
This baby that is about to arrive is not mine at all, he/she is not my niece/nephew. I have no relation to this child but at the same time I feel invested in her/his life. I have been at all of the prenatal visits, I will be there when the baby is born, I will hold him/her. and I will watch as the baby grow with my child(ren), my nieces, and my nephews. This baby will be different because I will make a commitment to this child, I will choose to be attached and from the moment that child is born throughout its life I will need to be there.
I grew up with another family that was very close to us; the adults of this family were like the aunt and uncle that I never had. Then something happened, they moved away, they became angry with my parents, and they divorced. I have not seen one of them for years and the other for a very long time. They have made no effort, whatsoever, to keep in contact with me. They were a constant loving presence throughout my childhood and then, suddenly, they abandoned me. I do not think they will ever know what a hole they left in my life.
In light of that, as this new child prepares to make its entrance into the world, I am preparing to receive him/her and to make a commitment to let him/her be a community baby and to form a new area in my life for what that is. It is not the same as my child nor is it the same as my niece, those are sacred spots in my life. Family is family and there is a special place for that but there is also a special place for this new baby. I am busy going about making this new space so when the baby arrives, he/she will find that there is a warm loving spot to attach, not just to his/her parents but to his/her community that has taken this baby as “their” baby.
Jasmine is a co-housing community-living mama with a passion for fierce writing she blogs at www.herscreed.wordpress.com