Health Post #6 : You Can’t Get Everything Out Of Books???


 I began my new career as a mother without knowing what, when, why or how to care for an infant.

When I first met my future husband, I weighed 98 lbs. I had just graduated with an Honours Degree in English Literature from the University of Regina and considered continuing my studies as a graduate student. I loved everything about academia, especially the relaxed but challenging experience of reading Chaucer and Old English in the original vernacular with only one other student in a professor’s office. We delighted this dedicated teacher because we were interested in passion.

I loved my life and didn’t for see any changes. I had grown up with one sister, ballet lessons and a library filled with great fiction. I enjoyed gardening, painting and drawing, eating a vegetarian diet, reading spiritual literature and growing in my faith ; I was content.Suddenly, my life as I knew it, changed dramatically.

I met Michael, who was just passing through Regina, Saskatchewan from Ottawa, Ontario to Prince George, British Columbia and from that very first, it felt like the prairie wind had swooped down and scattered all my work and plans. Michael described our first meeting in much kinder terms; he said that he saw fireworks when he first laid eyes on me.

I was not ready for this dramatic change in my life but it was clear to me that this was my call. So I baffled my fellow students, profs, advisors, friends and family by saying yes to the unexpected. I did not know anything about my newly chosen lifestyle or even where we would live. I did realize that I was completely ignorant and lacked even the most basic skills required to survive.

I became pregnant before our first wedding anniversary. Instantly, I began to panic because I knew, that once again, I was utterly unprepared. I had never even held a newborn! So I prepared in the only way I knew how and I read every book I could find on pregnancy, birth and baby care.

However all this studying did little to equip me to mother a fragile, completely dependent newborn. For example, as I held my baby in a small bathtub for his first bath, I was very nervous. Guess what? I had a book propped open with one elbow awkwardly holding it open to the right page, while my baby was in the baby bathtub on the table. The book was my security blanket.

My new husband, who was the second oldest of ten children and completely relaxed with babies, walked through the kitchen, shook his head in disbelief and said,

“Melanie, there are some things you just can’t get out of books.”

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