We participated in the Bellies to Babies Celebration this past Sunday at the Croatian Cultural Center – a one day event geared for the mom-to-be. I have to say it’s a wonderful place to be once you get over the shock of seeing so many bellies all in one location (and the fear that one of them may go into labour in your booth.)
Bellies, bellies, bellies. All shapes and all sizes. And belonging to all types of moms-in-training. There were those who you’re not quite sure about until they smile shyly at you and gently rubs their tummy…those that now have so much belly there is no way we could fit two of them in our booth space… those whose only sign of pregnancy is that perfect little cantaloupe peaking out of their Citizens of Humanity maternity jeans, and those rather like myself – whose ankles were so swollen in those latter months that my then CEO backed away in horror “LOOK at those puppies!” High, low, tiny, wide…no matter the shape or size, the bellies were just so fabulous.
We had 1 woman in the booth with a toddler in tow, and she got that sudden look on her face – the one where she knew that she had to make a mad dash for the bathroom, but her toddler was not going to be able to keep pace with her in the crowd. The look of consternation on her face as she contemplated leaving her big boy with a complete stranger who is flogging sandwich wraps. The call of the bladder won out, and we happily entertained junior as he explained his mommy had to “pee lots.” The great pee lady returned to much cheers and knowing smiles. (And she paid for the Wrap n Mat that she had inadvertently clutched in her hand for the great run.)
About half way through the day, after lots of discussion on a wide variety of things, like diapering options, feeding supplies, skin care, and wooden toys, I had that light bulb moment “Hey, these ladies think I may have information they need. They might even think I’m an expert” ME of all people. It was hard to not snicker after my epiphany. From the bouts of post partum depression after both girls, to the likely possibility that my kids will have a profanity-laced vocabulary, to their belief that Costco is where we go on Sundays to worship the god of all things plenty, I’m pretty sure I’m not the person to be providing sage pearls on parenting.
But then, sometimes I wonder who is? I have a lot of people in my life who I respect for their decision-making abilities, expertise, parenting skills or just plain great hair. My respect for them doesn’t diminish if I make a different choice from them or vice versa. Perhaps in the early days of colicky-kid #1, I felt somewhat desperate for answers and did countless web searches for the magic colic cure and the SPCA equivalent for babies, but gradually that changed. It took time to grow comfortable with my own parenting abilities (and for my love of the screamer to flourish.) I finally got to the stage where all the outside advice in the world, product recommendations, and sure-fire tricks to get your kids to eat/sleep the night /attend Harvard could eventually be put through my own filter and assessed for their actual merits and what worked for me and my family.
On Sunday, I felt a slight feeling of envy for that wonderful stage those women are at – where you dream of what might be, where just the idea of the baby is thrilling, and visions of the future somehow seem so complete. That envy was quickly supplanted by the excitement that is so easy to share when talking about all things baby. It is impossible to not feel like hugging beaming pregnant chicks as they enter the secret club of mommy-hood.
Bellies to Babies is a wonderful event, well attended by happy ladies and soon-to-be dads, with good speakers, great vendors and a wonderful organizational team. Lara and her team at Bellies to Babies do a wonderful job for the vendors, no matter how small. I even had a personal call on the Thursday before to ensure everything was okay. As someone who has worked numerous tradeshows over the course of my career, I can tell you this is a rare experience indeed.
A great day for Every Little Bit, the moms-to-be in attendance, and for me personally.