We watched Arrival this morning. My friend mentioned it like a year ago. She let her daughters watch it because she is really interested in speech and speech acquisition. I watched it because it was 6:30 in the morning, I was up and it was available. Also I'm really into books, movies, and TV shows about space right now. Maybe it's because I'm a science nerd, maybe it is because I find things on this planet so darn depressing right now but it just seems like the perfect time to be looking at the stars. The movie is maybe a little slow but I really enjoyed it. Spoiler to follow so if you haven't seen it don't read on but after the movie J and I spent some time talking about if the woman made the right choice. I thought it was interesting that we feel along the same lines as the couple in the movie. The male seemed to think that his wife had made the wrong choice, that knowing what was going to happen with their daughter that she should have not had her daughter. J seemed to lean in the direction of the dad. Knowing that you were going to have a child that was going to die it seems selfish to birth that child. I thought about this a lot this morning though. The mother had already experienced her life with her daughter. She understood all the joy her daughter was going to bring to her and even knowing that it was going to cause her heartache she still wanted that joy. I could relate to that.
I remember when I was pregnant with our Little Rascal. When you've had a premature baby before the doctors feel the need to go over when you want them to try and do life saving measures if your next child is premature. As a rule of thumb at 25 weeks they will try and save the baby but anything before 25 weeks it is up to the parents to ask. My OB said to me, knowing the challenges faced by many children born before 25 weeks if it were me I'd like to think that I'd say "no, just let them go peacefully." My husband using his pediatric training said the same thing. My science mind agreed with them but I'm telling you now I don't know if my mother mind could have said the same thing had our little guy come at 24 weeks or 23 weeks or even 22 weeks. I hadn't had the opportunity to see what our life would be like together but even before his birth I already was filled with love for him. I wanted the opportunity to get to know him and to be his mother. It would be a challenge to say, no I don't want to take that risk, I don't want to have that chance. It made me wonder if this is just a fundamental difference between me and my husband or if it could be found even further out within the broader populations of our sexes.
When I had my miscarriage almost three years ago, even though I'd only been pregnant for only 11 weeks I really mourned the loss of that child. Even now on days that I stop to think about it I shed a little tear for what was lost there. For my husband that just didn't happen. I remember him turning to me after our trip to Kenya and saying, "Well wasn't I happy to have that trip even if I didn't get the baby." I don't think he was trying to be callous. I truly believe he was just trying to cheer me up but he somehow managed to misunderstand the love I had for that unborn child. He loves our children but his bond with them really solidifies at their birth. I don't think there is a right or wrong way to love nor to morn. It was just interesting to me to note how a simple movie about talking to aliens could turn my eye within. Is that a bond that is easier for mothers? Does it have to do with the biology of carrying a child, except I know mothers who lose out on children they hope to adopt and are equally devastated. Is it simply mothers regardless of the way a child it brought into their lives are more able to imagine a future with a child or is it just certain individuals, regardless of gender? Anyway it is a great movie and very thought provoking on many fronts.