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Commentary: Baby Girl Colors Mother's World

By Sandra Ceraulo

Buffalo, NY – Since I had my baby girl, Sylvia, pink and green have become the most beautiful colors in the world to me. Pink, of course is the color of baby girls and green represents the way I want to raise my baby, that is, close to nature. The joy I got from my pregnancy later in life not only made me feel like the richest person on earth, it changed my moods and favorite colors, too. And this pink and green frenzy comes from someone who spent twenty years after college wearing black and white almost exclusively.

Everything started in February 2005. I sensed I was expecting right away. For the next nine months, I could read only about ways to have a healthy pregnancy and about child care in the first months of a baby's life. I was very happy to be expecting, and my attention was extremely focused on having a healthy baby.

I bought my maternity clothes in the brightest colors I could find. I even dug into my closet and started using a rainbow colored purse I put there ten years ago. I was pregnant with my first baby, a little girl, and my thrill and excitement were beyond anything I could put in words. Who cared if I had "risk factors?" I would do everything I could to beat any and all odds against me.

While I was enthusiastic about being pregnant, the medical people around me had concerns and statistics that almost made me cry. Though the health professionals from the medical technicians to the perinatal or "high-risk" obstetrical specialists were friendly and helpful, the routines of their jobs prevented them from sharing the uniqueness of my experience. My doctor's chart said I had "AMA" or "advanced maternal age," the standard term for a woman who is pregnant and over age 35. In other words, having "advanced maternal age" is a euphemism for being an "older mother." Actually, I'd be 41 years old when I delivered. Still, I thought, what's in a phrase?

Despite the messages on my medical chart, I couldn't help being thrilled with the little life within me, especially when I could start feeling her kick. I reasoned that with "advanced maternal age," at least I had life experience on my side.

We used a traditional hospital birth but added natural relaxation methods. In the later months of the pregnancy, I played spa music for the baby, and I wrote poems to her. I sensed that the baby knew what I was writing; she definitely knew her name since she would kick whenever my husband or I said "Sylvia" or the word "baby!"

One week before my due date, my water broke, and Sylvia was born by emergency C-section. Even with the surgery, I was lucky because Sylvia weighed 7lbs 2 oz at birth and was deemed healthy. Because I couldn't have a natural childbirth, and because of all the reading I did during pregnancy as well as because of my own personal beliefs, I decided I will raise Sylvia so that she is close to nature. I want her to have a "green" life; a child's garden is in the works and we are already stocked up on organic baby food and cereal.

For me, bright pink and green are Sylvia's colors and I think of her whenever I see them. Besides my favorite colors, there's a phrase we share too. It's the one we heard so often when we were still one person. In her first days of life, I kept telling her "They told your mother she had 'advanced maternal age.'" I couldn't keep the phrase from coming out of my mouth. I uttered it so many times, my husband joked that Sylvia's first words were going to be "advanced maternal age."

At six months now, Sylvia is almost always dressed in pink and many times she has organic sweet potatoes or peas all over her face and bib. I marvel at her bright brown eyes, her rosy mouth and lips, and her innate curiosity. And secretly, when I try to teach her to talk, I can't help but say, "Can you say 'advanced maternal age?'"

Listener-Commentator Sandra Ceraulo is an instructor and online teaching consultant who splits her time between Buffalo and Scottsdale, Arizona.

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