The woman’s “I’m sorry” comes out of her mouth before she knows it’s even happening. It buffers what she’s about to say, giving permission to excuse her. It undermines and depreciates her very identity. It’s culturally indoctrinated, and when it’s not there women are often accused of being aggressive, forceful or the dreaded “B” word.
Earlier this week, I decided to intentionally talk to the little one. This is something I hadn’t done before. Routinely, she gets check-ins from me about a kick or move or dance. I pat my belly and tell her I love her or celebrate and giggle that she’s really getting her groove on. My intentional conversation started with (STARTED WITH) an apology about how I don’t talk to her more. That other moms probably talk to their babies in utero a lot more and how she deserves to be talked to more.
Um, what?! It actually took me a day or so to realize what I had done. First off, I’m making assumptions about how other women do their pregnancy thing. Second, I’m assuming that everyone else does it better than me, as if there is a perfect way to do it. Third, and most importantly, I have NOTHING to apologize about to this sweet baby girl. So what if I haven’t talked to her in bursts of philosophical, motherly truths of life while she’s growing in there. So what if my talking has only focused on being responsive to what she’s doing. There will be plenty of opportunities to offer real apologies to her as she teaches me how to be a mom, or I drop her on her head, or whatever.
I don’t want my daughter to ever develop a habit of apologizing because she is. And making sure she doesn’t… well, that starts with me.