Get Clucky!

Friday, February 18, 2005

thoughts on starbabies. for real, starbabies.

So today while walking my dog past the neighborhood organic foods store, I saw a flyer for a thing (a group? A school?) called “Starbaby Childbirth and Parenting Education.” I’m not usually interested in organizations that include words like “starbaby.” Starbaby? Really—any interest I might have had in astrology and universal oneness faded after age thirteen, and vanished completely after, you know, I started reading Freud. But because I am deathly afraid of caesarean sections and have a general interest in knowing more about non-hospital birth options, I picked up the flyer. I brought it home and checked out the website. And I thought to myself: if I get pregnant, and want a non-hospital birth, is “starbaby” lingo what I’m reduced to?

Nothing against the “starbaby” group, of course, I’m sure it’s grand, and since it’s local and accredited and stuff I’ll probably end up taking classes there myself. I suppose I shouldn’t judge them too quickly just because of the hippy trippy name “starbaby” (rendered, I might add, in a bad and hippy trippy font) and because their “starbaby” jingo carries into the names of their classes, such as “a star is born.” I can get used to that, I suppose, once I have a little “star” of my own.

Why must I get used to it? Because thus far, “Starbaby” is the best local pregnancy thing I have found—and by “best” I mean the only one that doesn’t focus almost entirely on insanely materialistic and suburban issues of maternity clothes and…I don’t know, storks. It seems the language of pregancy is really polarized between the extremely heteronormative (picture mother-to-be in sensible sweater-set reading Good Housekeeping) and the extremely new age (picture mother-to-be wearing a batik jumper reading How to Release the Goddess-Mother Within).

Between those two poles, I probably prefer the birth-experience of the godess-mother/starbaby group. I appreciate those folks for thinking that pregancy can be a cool, enpowering experience. But I have to say that I don’t really identify with them. And finding “Starbaby” stuff around the neighborhood really provokes my fear that for me pregnancy will be a profoundly lonely experience.

I know very few people who speak my language, as it were—people who are political, who are counter-cultural (whatever that means), who are earthy but also ironic—fewer still who would use that language to speak about pregnancy.

In some ways I suppose this points to a shortcoming in that language, one that bothers me and makes me feel a little lonely even when I’m not thinking about pregnancy. It’s like what everyone said about the intellectual/progressive left this election year: we haven’t yet found a way to be the contemporary intellectual left and also talk about values. Pregnancy is one “value”—one place of almost sublime experience—that we don’t yet have a very good way to talk about.

On the other hand, it seems to me that the discussion around pregnancy has a lot to gain from the lexicon of the intellectual left, the indi-rockers among us—a sense of the ironic, if nothing else.

So I guess this is to say that I’m willing to take a “starbaby” class and feel a little reverent and a part of something cosmic and magical and real. That sounds good to me. But I hope when I do, there’s someone to roll their eyes with me in the back of the class.


Post a Comment

<< Home