I’ve always been a rebel, as my husband reminded me the other night. I don’t like being told what to do, and I definitely don’t like being told how to feel. More than that, I hate being told what my experience will or should be like.
This is something I’ve noticed in the pregnant and mom communities.
“Oh, just you wait. You’ll never get a day off when you have a kid.”
“You want to try and fit a baby into your life rather than the other way around? Good luck with that!”
“You’ll give up on (insert parenting technique here – cloth diapering, breastfeeding, etc.) when you realize how tough it is to have a child.”
Basically, I’ve found from established mothers that my life is going to change in every way except the ways that I’m actually anticipating, and I’m going to be miserable throughout the entire process. BUT IT’S WORTH IT, of course. Because, baby. Obviously.
I don’t know if women who say these things mean well, or are trying to justify their own experience. The thing is, I hate the status quo. “That’s just the way it’s done!” is NEVER a good reason for me. I don’t believe in just accepting how something is supposed to go for no reason other than it’s what we expect (or are told to expect).
One of my favorite baby books so far is Bringing Up Bébé*, by Pamela Druckerman. If you aren’t familiar with this book, I would definitely recommend it, especially for people who struggle with the status quo of raising children. The parenting techniques that the French utilize are often so different than what we are used to here in America, and it means for a different expectation for children. According to the French – why yes, you can have your baby sleep through the night at twelve weeks. Toddlers don’t have to scream through entire meals at restaurants. And children can be taught at a young age, perhaps even from birth, what the rules are.
Ask an American mother, and not only are these things considered impossible – they are outrageous! Ridiculous! Absolutely unnecessary and potentially harmful for the development of your children!
I try not to resent the women that project their own experience onto everyone else, but I’m finding it increasingly difficult to own MY experience without having the statements of others cloud my vision.
These last few weeks of my pregnancy are hard. Like, really hard. I’ve somehow regressed back to the morning sickness of my first trimester, times a bajillion. I can’t walk up the stairs without needing to sit down (or take a nap). My back is constantly hurting, so much so that I can’t even really be on my computer for very long at one time.
I hate admitting these things to myself, and I definitely hate admitting that pregnancy is rough these days, because that’s what I’ve been told to expect. That, or I see the women that work up until the day they give birth, and I can’t help but question – what is wrong with me? These women admit that pregnancy is hard, but can still function like normal human beings.
Perhaps I just need to stay off social media. I don’t often find myself soliciting advice, but it really is offered in ways that I don’t think people realize. By injecting YOU into a statement which really only involves the commenter, I’m being told how to feel or what to expect. I LOVE hearing about other women’s experiences – it’s when those experiences are projected onto me, or pregnant women/mothers as a whole, that I have trouble with. And it’s really starting to affect the way that I view my own pregnancy.
Hopefully I will be able to separate these things eventually. It’s something I struggle with on a daily basis, especially since I’m so active on social media. But I also hope that people will understand how it affects others when they see their own experience as universal – as the “status quo.” And you know how much I hate the status quo.