Friday, August 17, 2012

What Happened to Good Ol' Fashioned Intrusiveness?

I am 40 weeks and counting now, so I've almost reached the finish line of my first pregnancy.  Whew.  Soon life will finally go back to normal. 

I love making statements like that.  It gives people the opportunity to say things like, "Life will never be normal again!" and "Just you wait, you don't even know what you're getting into!" and "Hey, that's my chocolate cake, just 'cause you finished yours doesn't mean you can start eating off my plate, fatty!" 

Er, maybe that last one doesn't apply.

But, y'know?  For all the warnings I got about how much unsolicited advice I'd receive, and how many strangers would touch my belly without asking, and what inappropriately terrifying labour stories people would share with me during my pregnancy, I've really had very little of any of that.  And, frankly, I'm a little disappointed.  Here I was, all ready to be righteous and indignant and say things like, "Listen, Starbucks barista, don't you dare suggest that I should be getting a decaf instead!" and "How dare you invade my personal space by lightly patting my belly, little old lady on the streetcar!"

Only one stranger has touched my belly.  And he asked very politely first.  And a handful of people have asked me how far along I am.  More often than not I find that I am looking around, waiting for someone to ask me a question about my pregnancy.  I really want them to because I know all the answers! And it's so interesting to me right now!  And I hate to admit it, but I have been known to engage in reverse-intrusiveness by telling people they can touch my belly - sometimes, perhaps, people who didn't really want to touch my belly in the first place and then felt obliged to do so.  Ew, I'm that girl.

I guess everyone got the memo that it's not appropriate to ask a stranger about her pregnancy.  And, fair enough, a lot of women don't want to be asked.  I suppose that's all right.  But I do take comfort in something a friend told me recently: "The unwanted comments will be much more frequent when you have the baby, and everyone has a piece of parenting advice for you."  

So at least I have that.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Using the Power of Ignorance to Debunk Parenting Myths

I have now read every book ever written on pregnancy and parenting, which means that I know everything.  


And until the baby comes and I discover I actually know nothing, I'm really enjoying being smug and having lots of ideas and opinions of how things will go in our first few months with Baby Sullivan.  I don't know how much time I have before the Big Day, so before I go into labour and completely lose my sense of humour for three to twelve weeks I thought I'd debunk some common myths about parenting. 

Um, I don't think so.  I need my eight hours, okay? My husband and I have it all figured out. He will get up with the baby, change the baby, gently rock the baby, bring the baby to me, nestle the baby next to me in bed where I will breast feed in my sleep (I believe this is called the "dream feed"?), after which my husband will burp the baby and return said baby to his/her bassinet until the next feeding.  I haven't actually discussed this with Phil yet, but I'm sure he'll enjoy the chance to bond with our child.

Also, I'm so thankful to all the people who have told me to get my sleep now.  I have taken this advice to heart and, in the interest of being well-prepared, each night I have slept an hour longer than I actually needed to, and have been storing up this extra sleep in Mason jars so if I do need emergency sleep at any time, I'll have some on hand.  My one concern is that I don't know if sleep freezes well, but I'm sure I can search online for a Yahoo Answers thread about that.

Okay, I think I know what hard is, okay? Hard is getting the amount of spice in your Thai green curry just right; surviving a play rehearsal after overdoing the Cosmopolitans the night before; enduring a Facebook chat with that girl from grade school you wish you'd never friended, and from whom you forgot to hide your online status.  Breast feeding won't be hard. I know everyone I ever talk to and every article I ever read suggests that breast feeding takes time to get used to, and can be really frustrating and painful, but I'm pretty sure this is all just a big joke that moms and nurses and the internet like to play on expecting mothers, and it's not until you actually become a mom that they go, "We were just kidding! Ha! We totally tricked you. Oh man, the look on your face..." 

Um, not my marriage. With all the sleep I'll be getting, I'm going to be a model wife. I will shower, put on makeup and wear dresses every day, also finding the time to make my husband elaborate dinners and date squares.  This will make his extreme sleep deprivation worth it, and in his brief moments of consciousness he'll know he's the luckiest man in the world. 

Not when you start working out as soon as you get home from the hospital!  A lot of people will tell you that six weeks is a good period to wait before starting your postpartum exercise routine, but to me that just sounds like laziness.  As soon as I get home, I'm heading for the treadmill. Come to think of it, I wonder if the birthing centre has a gym?  They must. I'll have to look into that. It's going to feel great to lose those 12 lbs* I gained.

Yeah, right! It's so funny to me when people say this because it's like they're suggesting that going through the experience of childbirth, and suddenly being responsible for another person's life, and feeling joy and love like never before will somehow change who you are as a person and I just want to say, "Um, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to change!" I'm going to be so exactly the same as I was that when people run into me on the street they're going to remark upon it. "Look at you!" they'll say. "You seem completely unchanged, both physically and emotionally! Also, have you been getting lots of sleep because you sure seem like you've been getting lots of sleep!" and then we'll chat a little bit about the web series they're trying to get off the ground and I'll head home trying to remember if it's 2011 or 2012 because, really, who can tell the difference?

*May not be accurate.