Pregnancy & Motherhood – a prescription for perfection?

 

So I’m reading through yesterdays blog, and am alarmed at something I’ve written.

Speaking on Jennifer Love Hewitt’s new dating book, and referring to this statement:  From the list of  What A Man Should Know: How to pick a diamond, and To always have a coat for you.

I responded with:  WOW. You’ve never had a baby with a guy have you? Have a baby and you’ll see how ridiculously RUBBISH that statement is.

While I maintain that Jen and I don’t share the same ideals vis-à-vis regarding dating situations and what a man REALLY ought to know,  I was thinking how incredibly pretentious it might sound to those who have never had a baby. Having a baby with your partner does not automatically mean your list of “what a man should know” is more noble, and I certainly made it sound that way.

I wrote it only with the intention of giving my perspective which is – since having a third person enter the relationship (the baby), it has made getting along so much harder. It has made compromising more difficult, it has reduced my amount of sleep and made both of us less tolerant in stressful situations. And so – my list of ‘desirable traits’ sure has changed, which no doubt explains why so many couples split after children.  But I am also FULLY aware that there are a lot of WAY more important attributes a man should have besides providing you with a warm protective covering – with or WITHOUT a child.

The truth is though, there are women out there who feel they are more qualified to dish out advice on life and love because they have children, and are therefore SUPERIOR HUMAN BEINGS; physically, mentally, spiritually, just about every way possible.

I remember conversations I had with these women when I was without child. Here’s an example..

ME: I would NEVER NOT have sex just because I’m a bit tired.
THEM: You can say that now because you don’t have a baby or children… you just wait. You’ll see.

I DID see and they WERE right. But it was the tone.

I have overheard hundreds of harrowing stories regarding motherhood and how it affects your sleep, sex, eating, love life, etc…  and when one mother is telling another mother I think it’s ok. But when you’re telling someone who hasn’t had a child, it can come across completely holier-than-thou.

It starts during pregnancy, when every fibre of your being is changing so quickly it’s just all so overwhelming. You find yourself telling the waiter in a restaurant: Can I have my Wagyu rump cooked medium to well? Then they tell you all the reasons this is silly, and you reply ever so self righteously:  Yes, but I’m actually pregnant!!!  I need my meat cooked!!!

Or how about at the airport checking in: I’m pregnant! Are there any seats left at the emergency exit?

Or in a line to use the ladies loos, you look down the line and do a big loud sigh so everyone can hear you… then a little jiggle on the spot which implies you are about to have a bit of drizzle hit the knickers… knowing FULL WELL some nice lady who’s had a child herself will let you go ahead of her… “Oh you’re pregnant – you go before me.” “Really, that’s ok?” you ask thinking it was about time someone noticed!

Then I remembered something I once saw on YouTube which made me laugh but also made me feel completely ludicrous because I realised I was a tad guilty!

Here it is.

So I would like to apologise now to anyone whose opinion I’ve belittled because they are sans-baby. The thing is – PREGNANCY and BABIES do change you. And you can tell yourself that you’re not going to let this baby change anything (or much) but it absolutely changes your world. I’m in the boxing ring with myself constantly over this.

SMACK – take that you selfish, single girl who wants to stay out til 2am dancing.
PUNCH – well how about that you boring stay-at-home “my baby is so much more important” wiggles watcher. 
WHACK – how ‘bout this then you shallow, “Oh my bag doesn’t match my outfit” career focussed flibberty-gibbit.
LEFT HOOK – you ain’t seen nothin’ yet you mess-maker-every-where-you-go, “I’m so over that part of my life” pumpkin-patch purchaser.

It’s true. I miss my old life all the time. I even cried for a while after my baby was born becuase I missed it so much. But as I’m sure you’ve heard A MILLION mothers and mothers-to-be say… I wouldn’t have it any other way!  And maybe that’s why we can be smug. Because our lives have changed and we have given up on so many FUN, INTERESTING and RELEVANT  aspects of life – yet we are still deeply satisfied and gratified. Is it that satisfaction that makes us pompous and smug?

I’m thinking yes. And I know I’m right when I say that. You know, I must be!

I have a baby!

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2 comments

  1. Laura · March 27, 2010

    I can understand how that video was made since there are copious amounts of smug pregnant women. They really are in abundance. But I take slight offense being one of those who works on not being smug, or who tries hard to contain my “life lessons” and not sound like currently childless women “have so much to learn”. I only give advice when someone asks my opinion & always preface it with, “It’s different for everyone – this is just what worked for me” or whatever may apply to the situation.
    And, why is it bad to say, “I don’t care if it’s a boy or girl, as long as it’s healthy!” – honestly, they ARE related. I would take a healthy boy over a sick girl or the other way around any day. Anyone who is hung up on having one gender over the other doesn’t realise IT’S OUT OF YOUR CONTROL – what’s the point wishing and hoping for something when you have no control over the result?
    But, in all honesty – it’s hard to come across differently to someone who doesn’t have kids. No matter how often you babysit or hangout with your nieces & nephews, NOTHING compares to being responsible for your own child 24/7 for the REST of their lives … I’m positive the worry doesn’t go away when they turn 18. No one understands the stresses & sacrifices of parenthood until they experience them first hand. There’s no way around it, too bad if it sounds smug. Once you have them, YOU CAN’T GIVE THEM BACK!

  2. cyclonecindy · March 27, 2010

    Completely agree with you Lou. I have not been as conscious or as sensitive as you with advice giving, and have probably made a few eyes roll as a result… but anyway… xo

    Thanks for pointing out the fact that the stress and sacrifices you make can’t be explained, but must be experienced to be understood. So when speaking from experience – to one who is not, of course it might come across smug because at the end of the day – you do know better.

    It does work the other way too – All the latest ‘studies’ on child rearing sometimes give others (often those without children) the right to comment or judge our techniques. Like me letting Amalie watch DVD’s when she’s eating. You would not believe how often I find myself defending that one. Oh well…

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