Since announcing my pregnancy a few weeks ago, my head has been spinning. Obviously, life will change once I have a little one to take care for and there's a lot to do to get the house ready before then. But all that is manageable, and I'm looking forward to it. Rather, what I wasn't prepared for was other people's reactions to the news, and how confusing all the conflicting advice everyone wants to share with me and Geraint would be. People I don't know that well want to share their birth stories (or their partners, or sisters or friends)with me in the most inappropriate of settings (e.g during meetings), and are telling me things 'I need to know' and advising me on all manner of things relating to pregnancy, birth and parenting. Hence the head spinning.
I know everyone is being kind, and I don't want to sound mean. I listen politely and try and make a light hearted joke to end the conversation. I know there's no malice intended, and that people seem to find it therapeutic to talk about it. But when you're the one about to experience it, it's the last thing you want to hear. Obviously, closer to the time I'll need to be prepared. But that's why I'll be attending ante natal classes and reading the chapter in the pregnancy book I've been avoiding up to now. I don't need months of hearing hundreds of stories, which range from 'It's the most beautiful experience of my life' to 'It's like being murdered but you survive'. But I'm resigned to the fact that as my bump expands, it will only worsen. Going into hiding for a few months isn't an option, so I guess I'll have to grin and bear it whilst people advise me on what type of birth is better, stitches, breastfeeding, how unwise it will be for me to return to work after six months rather than taking a full year off and how to get the baby weight off in the quickest amount of time. And don't get me started about all the advice about prams and cots. There seems to be a competition amongst yummy mummies about how much they spend on such items, almost implying that the more you spend, the better parent you'll be. Aargh!
Don't get me wrong. I'm glad we live in a more open society and that people are more willing to share their feelings and so on these days. And all the kind words and support is lovely. But, I guess what I'm trying to say is that there's no need to share quite so much. What's become clear to me is that every pregnancy and every birth is different, and that you can't predict what it will be like for you. The same goes for parenting. Every child is different, and no matter how many books you might read, there's no golden rule to ensure that your child is perfectly behaved from the outset, and sleeps for ten hours every night. This is not to say that I don't want to discuss these things with close friends and family. I certainly do have a million and one questions, but I'd prefer to raise them one to one, or in the privacy of my own home rather than publicly.
Perhaps I am partly to blame. After all, I did share the news via facebook and here I am writing a blog about it. But, sharing the news isn't the same as sharing every minute detail with everyone which I'm sure regular readers of this blog will appreciate. My interests haven't changed, and I'm still keen to write about politics, history and popular culture rather than review the latest must have baby gadgets or share parenting tips. That's not to say I'm not excited about becoming a Mum. I am, and I can't wait. All I'm hoping for is that the next few months go well, and that in May, I have a healthy and happy child. But I promise not to bore you with the details between now and then, and in particular, afterwards!
Differing interpretations of compassion.
2 days ago