Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The great conspiracy of Silence..

The unwritten rule of parenthood is that you never let on to non-parents what its really like. This was described by a sleep-deprived friend as The Great Parental Conspiracy of Silence. It goes like this......

Your friend announces that she is pregnant, you are of course, delighted. You meet for coffee (yours is a double espresso because your child has been up all night) to talk about it. She wants to know everything or so she says.

Heres what you tell her..

* It doesn't matter if she gets fat, the weight will drop off afterwards, especially if she breastfeeds

* The birth itself isn't that bad, and anyway your body is biologically programmed to forget the pain.

* Breastfeeding can be a little tricky to start with, but in the end she'll get the hang of it.

* You get used to not having as much sleep as you used to.

* The experience of looking after a newborn can really bring two people together.

Heres what you actually mean...

* Her stomach will never be the same again, not even if she goes to the gym everyday (which she won't be able to because she won't have the time)

* The birth is quite terrifying, gas and air doesn't work like they say it does, having stitches is horrible, midwives don't always get it right, there will be more blood and bodily fluids than on a episode of CSI, and having half the world staring and your most intimate parts while you make noises like a demented pig is not, in any sense of the word empowering.

* Breastfeeding can be very hard indeed, you feel like a useless failure if you can't do it, breastfed babies do get colic, you will leak in public, your nipples will feel like they have been sandpapered and your breasts, like your stomach will never really recover.

* You will go insane with sleep deprivation, you really will. Even the hardiest of military men were reduced to wrecks after 3 days of no sleep in Japanese prisoner of war camps, and you were not trained for this. There will be days when the very act of putting clothes on your shattered body will feel like a major achievement.

* Once the initial euphoria has subsided, you and your partner will effectively become shift workers: when he's awake you will be dropping of to sleep, and vice versa. You will become resentful of his ability to leave the house in the morning, bound by the comparatively stressless world of work. In the back of your mind will be the sneaking suspicion that he is staying longer in the office because he would almost be anywhere than at home sterilising bottles and dealing with a frazzled you and a wailing baby. Sex will be implausible, not so much because of the physical changes wrought by giving birth, but because you will both be so exhausted, and no one feels like having much sex when they're tired and smelling slightly of sick.

That is one side of the story: the disruption and chaos and then somewhere around week three, quite possibly as you are dozing of at 4am, with this little milky person asleep beside you, It suddenly hits you with the force of an oncoming train: you love this little person more than life itself, It is in the true sense of the word unconditional.  It can on the other hand be frightening for the mother, whose happiness now depends on this highly unstable bundle, whose very sanity can feel as if it hinges on one tiny human continuing to breathe. but also for her partner Adjusting from being the centre of a person's universe to being a distance satellite is never easy, especially if the ego involved is male. All this is why you can't really tell your pregnant friend the truth. She doesn't yet understand the peculiar feeling of being hopelessly trapped and elated at the same time - nor will she until she has given birth. You have to let her experience it for herself, in her own way. Far better and easier to say that My child is a angel/genius/source of endless joy, I am deliriously happy being a mother, my partner and I have as much - If possibility not more sex than before and no, of course we do not miss the lie-ins/foreign holidays/actual freedom.

I found this in a book I bought today called Backwards in high heels.  I do think people tend to sugar coat information when your pregnant for the first time obviously not to scare the life out of you.

L x

1 comment:

  1. I'm here from Blow Your Own Blog true is this post...especially the sleep deprivation bit. My son is nearly 3 and still doesn't sleep through! x