Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Preparation

I have to admit, I can't really wrap my head around all the time, energy, and cash parents-to-be spend "preparing" for their babies' arrival. I'm talking about baby showers, baby registries, and nursery decorations. Sure, people might think it's kind of fun to adorn a former storage room with frills and lace or appliques of sports equpiment...but, will the baby care?

This is not going to turn into a soapbox rant about where babies want to sleep -- I'll save that for another day when I'm not so ready for bed myself...but while I'm on this soapbox, I think I will rant about baby showers. I don't like them. I feel like a freak at them. People who are normally easy to get along with suddenly morph into materialistic "thing getters" who seem to view the soon-to-arrive new life as either a doll to dress up or a noisemaker to quiet. Loud plastic gadgets designed to amuse babies are passed around. Guests who already have children start with the horror stories, "Oh, MY son wouldn't sleep anywhere but in the swing..." or "Make sure you bring a pacifier to the hospital -- you don't want your baby getting used to the ugly ones they give you for free there!"

The horror stories don't stop there. Every woman who has ever given birth considers it her duty to tell the expectant mother about every ounce of pain she felt during the bloodbath that was the birth of her child. Dare I speak up and share the peaceful, gentle, drug-free hospital birth I had with my daughter, or, GADS! Do I let on that I gave birth to my son AT HOME, or will that clue everyone in to the fact that I really am, in fact, a total freak?

Invariably, the conversation goes to breastfeeding, circumcision, and all the other things that seemingly everyone does one way, and I do another.

I think, if people spent even a fraction of the time and energy on preparing themselves for BIRTH as they spend on choosing and gathering all the STUFF, birth outcomes in this country would be far better. Fewer c-sections, fewer drugs, fewer instrument interventions, happier mammas, healthier babies.

Amongst the boxes of disposable diapers and flame-retardant pajamas, it becomes very clear to me that no one at the baby shower wants to hear my opinion or my experience. I've decided it would be best if I just don't go to baby showers anymore.

2 comments:

  1. Hey girl! All so true. Definitely food for thought. I do have to say that doing up the baby's room was for ME. It was sheer pleasure and joy, and for myself, and act of love for her as well: as in, I was creating a beautiful nest for her and welcoming her arrival. The new things were to celebrate HER newness and wonderfulness. Just my perspective, and i know that that's not it for everybody. Most people just want lots of crap for the sake of having it or for 'keeping up with the joneses' as it were. She had a big fancy dressy crib, but she didn't sleep in it much, lol. However, it was still lots of fun putting her stuff together and making her room beautiful. I'm so glad you've started this, Diana; i will look forward to reading it all the time!

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  2. Hello.
    Kinda like weddings, isn't it? All that prep and craziness for the WEDDING, but precious little thought about the MARRIAGE.

    I have to admit, though, that I really love baby showers. At least, right now I do. I cringe at the crass people who talk about the horrors, but at this point in my (childless) life, I guess I have the luxury of letting those kinds of comments roll off my back. And I think that the soon-to-be-parents need to hear about your peaceful hospital/home births.. and it doesn't have to be at the baby shower. Do what makes you feel right. (Like you needed ME to tell you THAT!!)

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