The inspiration for this blog post is the concept of shared life. Our time, Western culture, technology at every level, have increasingly isolated us, making us feel more and more independent but, quite frankly, more and more lonely. On a day to day base this actually works to our advantage by making us more productive and efficient. The world has changed, perhaps our makings have changed too but when it comes to pivotal (both "physiological" and "pathological"), key times in our lives, we remain at the core of our being not too far removed from our ancestors, perhaps closer to our prehistorical forefathers than to our robot-alien-fantasy posterity.
My sister is currently pregnant. My "baby" sister, that is. I mean: there are still at my parents' house dozens of pictures of her in frames as a wee infant - and now, she is about to become a mother. FYI, she is no teen-mom, aging a socially acceptable 26 and married. As soon as she found out she was pregnant she demonstrated an unexpected level of maturity like as if she had made an invisible instant shift into adulthood. It is bizarre to me that I menage to remember so vividly things from my childhood yet I struggle to pin down how I was at 26 (which ain't that long ago, y'all!). But my sister, despite being a grown woman at every level (working, married, pregnant, doing the dishes, hosting dinner parties, etc..) has always conserved some sort of child like characteristics to her character yet, with the announcement of pregnancy, it seems that all those were swept aside to make room for Motherhood. I
Anyhow. My sis, bless her heart, is naturally stressed, struggling to make sense with her mind and anatomy and physiology of what is happening inside of her and in the context of who and what's around her. I am reminded that part of this struggle is a direct result of isolation, the isolation our society has forced onto us. An old Nigerian adage recites "it takes a village to raise a child". True that. It also helps to have "a village", "a community" (whichever sense your cultural context imposes to the word), a family: the old, the younger, the professionals, the wackos, those you admire, those you despise, a well of information, a continuous dialogue of shared experiences (mistakes included!) even to grow a still unborn baby!
Within tribal communities in remote areas of the world in as much as within smaller urban areas it is still possible to find this kind of mentality. It does not matter then if at age 30 you still have never held a baby. Someone will show you - women raising women, by proxy, by example.
One last brief mention to the new up-rising "virtual" communities. There is a lot of comfort (and BS, mind you, to be found) and, like EVERYTHING IN LIFE, they require discernment, contextualization, critical approach.
Ironically I spent the best part of last night browsing the internet for maternity bras. Karma is a bitch.