giovedì, aprile 12, 2012


Annoyance the first: I've been asking for lots of advice, unashamedly, unabashedly, for getting through pregnancy. Nothing to worry about, readers, but it looks as though this pregnancy will not be the 100% uncomplicated push-it-out-in-a-manger romp through the hay all us Catholic girls hope and pray for. Because - it will turn out to the surprise of no-one who has waded through my frequent, inconsequential, but heartfelt rants - my blood pressure is bordering unhealthy levels and my third trimester will be a big fat pre-eclampsia watch. All that's not as bad as it sounds, but it's not so hot either. And in any case, I've never done it before, it's frightening, it's the first trimester so I feel like I've got fucking cancer, etc.

What I haven't been asking for advice for is how to live my fucking life when it comes out. Now, luck always plays its part, of course, but I've worked really hard to get to a point where I'll be able to breastfeed and cuddle whenever, besides some key hours on Thursday and Friday, and where the F-word only works part of the week. And he's worked hard to get to the point where he can probably take the full year of unpaid parental leave. I can't, or rather, I won't. I outearn him by 300% so it would be a ridiculous choice for our family if I did that.

And frankly, I don't want to. That might change, but at the moment I can't foresee a situation where I take a year off from a job I love, that I do from home and whose hours still let me cuddle, breastfeed, co-sleep, etc, so the F-word - a professional early childhood educator, BTfuckingW - can commute an hour a day to the next town over and support us on a fraction of the income my job provides, while my fucking brain turns to baby mush and I stop being able to afford wild-caught salmon.

Being in this state of mind, readers, being advised on attachment parenting being a woman's natural choice, and how I should take as much time off as I possibly can, is not what I want to hear. It is bullshit advice. It is highly subjective advice generalized to include my very specific situation. It is infuriating advice, frankly, when we've gone through what we've gone through to organize our present situation for ourselves. And it comes from a guy who I used to fuck and his stay-at-home wife who both reckon they're some sort of feminist and who don't have enough money, so it is also, to a degree, comical, I-dodged-a-bullet type of advice.

You know, people warned me that eventually the advice would start annoying me, but I wasn't expecting it until I started showing and strangers started telling me to stop running, or something.

Maternal slap-in-the-face of joy the first: to rule out anything wierder than a family history of hypertension causing my high blood pressure, we had our first ultrasound yesterday. It was lovely, the little thing. Heart beating, little limbs twitching, great big head. For the moment we're calling it Ren. For obvious reasons. Nine week old embryos do bear a certain resemblance to him. Suddenly what's happening to me stopped feeling like cancer and started feeling like growing a person who I'm gonna love more than I've ever loved anything.

8 commenti:

Sam ha detto...

Good luck surviving the advice. I have mostly received the "splash damage" from advice aimed at L, and yet I am almost ready to dismember the next person to give me unsolicited advice.

e.f. bartlam ha detto...

My sister had this issue...she's got two boys now.

She did have to have c-sections. Now she jokes that she'd rather have a baby than wash the dishes.

Who wouldn't...a week in a swanky Women's Hospital (room was like a hotel suite) doped out of her mind.

Dealing with "advice" is one of the hardships of should be listed as one of the official side effects.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

There would be worse things than a Caesarian. Frankly, that whole push-a-person-out-of-the-vagina thing is freaking me out a bit. My sister-in-law, who's a midwife, compared it to moving a huge sofa down a narrow set of stairs, and just thinking about that makes me eeerughy.

Thanks for the good wishes for dealing with all the advice, guys . . . I'm guessing once the morning sickness really clears that's gonna be the worst part.

Chris ha detto...

First of all, I outearn hubby by quite a bit and I'm a little bit of a workoholic so hubby did stay home with our precious little for the first 6 months or so and it worked out great for everyone. I was planning on staying home for 3 months after giving birth but after a month I felt like I was going insane. After another 2 weeks I realized that for my sanity I absolutely had to go to work and soon. The advice about staying home is bullshit. It's not for everyone. Ultimately what matters is that all of you are as happy as can be. Being home and miserable does not translate into good mothering.

Also, I take issue with the whole sofa vs stairs comparison. Might I remind you that tens of billions of women for the past tens of thousands of years have been giving birth quite successfully and with no access to healthcare? That's why we've thrived to this point. Comparisons like that piss me off really really badly because they highlight our arrogance and stupidity. We don't even understand most of the process by which these babies are even born (all the chemical reactions necessary for labor to start, etc) yet we feel like women, who are fucking PhDs at the job by the grace of biological endowment, need help? Sorry .. this is just a real sour point for me given I'm a closeted hippie and all.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

You can remind me, and I don't really like to bring it up with someone who's about to pop, but billions of women and their kids didn't make it, too. Kids especially.

I mean we've done a good job propogating ourselves as a species, but women and babies used to die, and still die, a lot in places without decent healthcare. I'm not finding statistics about how most women didn't die and enough children survived over our genetic history particularly reassuring.

And another aspect of the question is that women have never really had babies alone - there's always been a role for some sort of dedicated midwife, or of older and more experienced women, to help her along. Children have never been concieved, pushed out, and raised in some little mummy-and-me private suite. I think we really underestimate how socially interdependent we've always been.

Chris ha detto...

Hell no, I wouldn't give birth alone, that's crazy. And healthcare has an important role to play where needed. If that kid is born to early or the lungs collapse after birth or something the NICUs are a god-send. But a woman in labor is not diseased .. most women do no need complicated surgery that has a high chance of leading to infections. Some do, but the percentage is very low and not the 30-40% you see in the states.

As far as fatalities are concerned I think you'll find in every peer-reviewed independently ran study that 1st world countries that favor at-home or with-midwife (aka out-of hospital and thus with low chances of any sort of interventions) to have a much lower mortality rate for both infants and mothers. There's a reason for that.

Dread Pirate Jessica ha detto...

Midwives like my sister in law who can help move a proverbial big sofa down a proverbial narrow set of stairs?

I think we may be having two separate conversations here. That may be down to you being in the US, whose birthing practices are notorious, and me being in a position of having a 1 in 4 chance of an early induction to avoid pre-eclampsia which in turn elevates the likelihood I'll need a c-section (which is a warning I've got from a midwife, BTW, not a doctor - a midwife whom, like most in Canada, Australia, and western Europe, is completely integrated into the general medical establishment).

Me trying to get my chin up about the possibility I'm going to need invasive and dangerous surgery might provide an opportunity for you to get on the soapbox about the situation in your own country. How a midwife's analogy about giving birth is like moving a big sofa down a narrow set of stairs seems like less of an opportunity for that, but never mind.
However, there's no need to assume my attitude is down to ignorance about the benefits of midwives, not having unnecessary C-sections and the problems with the medicalization of pregnancy.

Chris ha detto...

You're an intelligent woman and I would not assume ever that you're not informed. My reply was to your previous comment.

I was also reacting to someone giving a woman who hasn't been through labor that analogy (don't care what their credentials are) which is first of all wrong (your birth canal and pelvis are not as immobile as a wall and your baby is not as stiff as a sofa) and secondly makes the process sound like a near impossibility for your body to handle.

Giving birth is an empowering experience and I don't want you to miss out on that. Except for extenuating circumstances which i am sure you'll handle just fine (safety first!) you can go through this entire process and rock at it. Don't let anyone make you doubt it. That was my original message. Pregnancy and the post partum baby blues suck but don't ever forget you are built for this. I'm saying this not because you're not informed but because you haven't been through it yet and I hope you have all the self-confidence in the world because you should.

Since I'm now the troll who commented 3 times on a post and you suddenly think i'm judgmental or preachy or something (soapbox, again, was not for you) I'll just wish you a great and easy delivery and leave it at this. Good luck with everything!