A few weeks ago, I was talking to a friend at Friday night services in Okinawa. He and his wife have a one-year-old, and they’re very excited that Yoni and I will soon have a baby of our own. As so often happens after you tell people that you’re pregnant, conversations with this friend now seem to revolve solely around pregnancy and babies – but that’s ok. He usually has helpful advice to offer and funny anecdotes to share. No scary labor stories – yet. Anyway, the morning after we had that conversation (I think it was about strollers), he came over to me at shul and apologized. He said that he didn’t want me to think that we could only talk about babies, and he also didn’t want to overwhelm me with too much information. Having gone through this process recently himself, he is very aware that sometimes endless conversation can be the opposite of helpful. I told him that I didn’t think he needed to apologize; whatever he had been saying the night before was helpful enough, and certainly not annoying. (I also told him that, as a rabbi’s daughter, I’m surprisingly used to having the same conversation over and over again.)
I’ve been thinking about that interaction a lot over the past week. While we do have access to all kinds of baby gear in Okinawa (on- and off-base), the selection is very limited compared to what one might see in the States. And so I decided that, as long as I was going to be in the States during my pregnancy, I’d do some shopping. Or at least browsing so I could decide what to order online later on. But wow – sometimes the options are overwhelming. As much as it’s fun to have 25 (or more) monitors to choose from as opposed to the 3 different models they sell on base, having so many options certainly makes the decision-making process more complicated. And how different could they all be, really?
This afternoon I spent some time sitting at the kitchen table with my mom, looking at different umbrella stroller options. She is a perennial review reader, which is a great skill, but sometimes prevents her from making a decision when one needs to be made. There are always more reviews to be read, more options to research. She asked me today if I have that problem as well, and I told her that I like to read reviews, but I get overwhelmed and give up more quickly. Or I outsource the review reading to her! What does Yoni think, you ask? He usually has opinions, if you ask, but he doesn’t obsess. Plus, he’s currently deployed on the USS Bonhomme Richard (you might recognize that name from the nightly news), so he’s not exactly available for baby gear discussions. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a balance – for soliciting and/or receiving advice, and review-reading, and all things baby related. Something to strive for, anyway.