Monday, October 17, 2005

Bad Advice for the Mother To Be

Originally uploaded by Elosquirrel.

At my shower we handed out some note cards and asked women to write down their advice about childrearing for me. As my mom said “write down any advice you have to help her with this baby!” She said it in a slightly panicked voice, but only because she’s nervous talking in front of a bunch of people. So it came across sounding like I have no fucking clue what to do with a baby.

Which isn’t far from the truth. But damnit, Mom, you’re supposed to make me look good!

Yesterday I FINALLY wrote out my thank you cards, which took me roughly 5 hours. While I was doing that I came across the advice cards and realized that the majority of the advice I got was REALLY bad. I may not know a lot about babies, but I know enough to know that the advice I got SUCKED. Some of it was good, but the older women gave me terrible advice. Here are some of the gems:

“Get an epidural.” (Actually, that’s really good advice. But that’s all they wrote. It’s kind of startling to a first time mom, don’t you think?)

“When in doubt, ask your mom for advice.” (In essence, this sounds like good advice, but everything about baby safety has changed in the last 30 years. My mom smoked while she was pregnant with me. She put us to sleep on our stomachs in cribs filled with quilts, bumper pads, and stuffed animals. She formula fed us. She held us on her lap in the car. All because these things were considered safe. And I’m sure she still thinks most of that stuff is safe.)

“Get your baby attached to a blanket.” (This was from my cousin, whose 3 year old will not go to pre-school without his “bubby.” I had a blanket that I carted around, but I don’t recall being super attached to it. So I think I’ll let Fuzz choose what he or she like the best and hopefully he or she can retain some independence and not spaz out when these things aren’t available.)

“Don’t read or follow those doctor books, listen to your mom instead.” (Again with the mom thing. And someone telling me NOT to read advice from professionals! Yikes!!! As much as I love my mom and appreciate the fact that my brother and I survived and even flourished under her care, I think that medical professionals have a lot to offer… but that’s just me.)

“Don’t breastfeed. Let Ryan get up at night to feed the baby.” (This was from Ryan’s aunt, and this by far was the most offensive piece of advice. I was appalled when I read this. I don’t care that breastfeeding means that I have to wake up several times a night to feed my kid. Ryan has to work. He has to operate heavy machinery every single day. Chances are, he’ll be sleeping on the couch for the first few weeks. I believe it’s my duty as a mom to continue to nourish my baby with the food that my body makes. How cool is that? And if this woman gives me ANY shit about breastfeeding, I’m going to kick her ass. Of course, this will probably be the one person who lights up a cigarette right next to wear my baby is sitting.)

The best advice I got? “Listen to your instincts and don’t let anyone make you feel uncomfortable about what you’re doing.”


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