Nov. 4th, 2010

alierecast: (Default)
1. On touching. My pregnancy does not give you a free license to touch me. I'm not even showing much, yet; if you have the idea that you're putting your hand over where the baby is, you are probably wrong. If you touch me in such a way that your hand is over where the baby is, I will feel justified in hurting you or yelling for help. The only person who has a 100% free pass on this is [personal profile] monad .

2. On my hobbies, and the future thereof. I do not need to "get all this knitting and music out of my system now, before the baby." There are hobbies that are not very compatible with newborns; frequenting concerts and bars come to mind. My hobbies tend to be at-home affairs, relatively quiet (or at least potentially soothing), and pretty much as kid-friendly as they come. A large portion of my social life is online. Just because having a baby short-circuited the things you like to do does not mean that the experience is universal.

3. On the relative ease of life, before and after children. I get that children require time, attention, and care. I have a squad of younger siblings, and several of them are of such an age difference that I helped raise them. I know about never-ending diapers and that weird rash the doctor never really identifies and the sleepless nights and still having to see to them even when you're not feeling well yourself. I understand that every trip out of the house has a new set of logistics. I understand that I will be tired - that we will be tired. I have had it up to here with people trying to scare me about kids. I am not clueless, and I hate being treated as if I am.

4. On the merits of a life with or without children. I don't care if you love children and want a dozen, or you don't want any children yourself, for whatever reason. However. If you tell me that life starts when you have children, I will stop listening. If you tell me that people who have children are all selfish narcissists, I will stop listening. If you tell me that child-free people are somehow incomplete, I will stop listening. Life is valid and wonderful with children or without them, and claiming some kind of superiority, moral or otherwise, because you do or do not have children, will simply make me think you're not worth my time.

5. On your beliefs about birth. It's great that you're connected enough with the women in your life to know about their birth experiences. However, their birth experiences do not dictate my own. I have my own ideas about how I want to give birth, and your advice to get an epidural in the parking lot is not only unsolicited, it makes me think you haven't been listening to what I've been saying at all. 

6. On learning about pregnancy. I appreciate that you have many books that you think I should read before the birth. I have, however, had a sufficiently unusual pregnancy thus far that books on the topic have been mostly useless. My approach is instead to learn from resources that are highly topical and apply to my own situation, rather than some concepts of average woman, average pregnancy, and average baby. Beyond these highly topical resources, which I read when I feel a need, I'm not certain I'll do a lot of reading. Women did not always have a library of books to consult before giving birth. Paying attention to my body has yielded more insights than any book. 

7. On learning about parenting. In my opinion, there are as almost as many theories on how to raise a child as there are parents. I'm happy to hear your book recommendations, and I particularly love to hear about your experiences implementing various ideas. But as soon as you give me that look for not wanting to read up on the latest child-rearing fad, I'm done.

8. On the things you think I need. I don't need a jogging stroller, a closet full of baby clothes and toys, two dozen contraptions to make the baby sleep, or a changing table. All of my siblings had one or two toys that were their absolute favorites. They wore hand-me-down baby clothes happily. We rocked them when they needed soothing, and held them close. We changed them on a towel on the floor - the same way I was changed. If you want to spend a lot on baby toys because it satisfies you, or baby clothes because you enjoy it, that's great. But not having every gadget and designer baby duds will not make me a bad parent.

9. On gender-specific baby clothes and colors. Give them to a new parent who doesn't make the face I'm making right now. We know the baby's sex, but have been reluctant to share the news because newborn blue and frilly pink make us a little gaggy.

With love, as always,
[personal profile] alierecast 

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alierecast

January 2012

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