Monthly Archives: January 2012

The recurring cycle of maternity denigration.

“Don’t worry, when that baby comes, nobody’s going to know your name!”

“When that baby comes, everybody’s going to forget who you are. The only name you’ll remember is ‘Mom’!”

“Enjoy it while you can, when that baby comes, you’re never going to be able to do that again!”

I will never enjoy the phrase “when that baby comes” because of the above comments, and all the rest I left out. Usually said in a tone intended either as some perverse comfort, or in perverse amusement. What makes moms, or other women in general, think any of those comments are okay? Is it just because someone said the same things to them once upon a time? Because they’ve heard it time after time, and it’s become one of those “things you just say”? I don’t understand. Can anyone tell me if this is a solely Southern phenomenon, or do other regions have this as well?

Think about what you’re saying – even if the woman you’re talking to wasn’t hormonal and anxious about being a first time mother (because who would bother saying that to someone who already has kids), you’re basically telling this mother-to-be that her entire life as she knows it is about to collapse in her face because of the child she’s carrying. Instead of giving her another reason to celebrate the birth of her child, and being excited about his/her impending arrival, you’ve just added another reason for anxiety – she’s about to stop existing, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, because the baby will eclipse all things. She will lose her personality, her individuality… everything. Can you think of a better reason for perinatal or postpartum depression? Those are the kinds of things I was afraid before I got married, things that could have kept me from getting married, or having children, or anything remotely related to what people consider a “normal and well-adjusted life.” It took a tough round of self-therapy and trust in my husband to overcome those feelings, and I’m intensely glad that I did. Other women may not have that luxury of therapy, a constantly-available support structure, and an environment of trust and love that allows for those fears to go away.

“Don’t worry, when that baby comes, you’ll just have been another baby-machine!”

“When that baby comes, you’ll totally cease to exist in the eyes of others! Your only memorable contribution to society is that baby!”

My literal “translations” (above) are a touch harsh. I know I’m over-reacting, just a bit. It’s just one of those things that drive me up the wall, a phrase that I have heard from all those overly-huggy old women at my in-laws’ church (along with “We are so proud of y’all!” which is just a comment that confuses me in general), while they try to rub on my stomach to “feel the baby,” and stamp their little feet over the baby. Jesus, y’all, settle down. Nix that – go ahead and be excited, because when the baby comes you’ll all be talking about how I won’t let that baby go into the nursery and how it must be the post-pregnancy hormones that keep me from letting anybody hold that baby instead of the desire to keep most of your snotty-ass kids away from my child and his currently non-existent immune system. And probably what a heathen I am for nursing him during the sermon, instead of taking that baby out into the lobby to privately do that. And Lord knows what else I’ll do wrong. (Except I don’t care.)

Small church lady tangent aside, if you find yourself suddenly in a place where that phrase comes tumbling through your brain (I’m sure I will not be immune to it, despite my loathing.), stop for a second and take a moment to replace it with something a little more supportive. Something a little more comforting, a little more cheery.  Even a simple “Congratulations!” or “That’s so exciting!” is better than “when that baby comes,” no matter how much you mean well by it.

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I watch too much BBC lately.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the baby comes out with an odd accent. Welsh or Irish or sommat. My morning routine now involves at least two hours of The Graham Norton Show, and maybe an hour of Doctor Who (11th Doctor). Seems healthier than watching some of the crap on standard American television – Hoda and Kathie Lee? Good Morning, America? No bloody thank you.

When I was younger, I watched a lot of Absolutely Fabulous, Monty Python and Faulty Towers. I had a tendency to get ‘stuck’ in an accent. Did/Does that happen to anyone else? I once got stuck in a Scottish accent in my high school Spanish class and nearly got sent out of class! It wasn’t my fault. I just couldn’t remember how to get back to an American tone. I’m preferential to Eastern Euro accents – I’ve never been partial to anything from the Eastern Bloc, say, or Mediterranean.

I was always afraid I’d meet someone from Britain or Wales and thoroughly embarrass myself talking to them. Fortunately, it never happened, but I still worry it could one of these days. Blessedly, I think I’m over it. For the most part.

What’s your favorite accent?

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Maternity blouses. Please explain.

Maybe I just don’t look in the right places. Maybe it’s just that I only started getting maternity blouses now that the end of the 2011 retail season hit, and all the maternity sections seem to be magically diminished to a couple of racks of paisley blouses and some odd-looking denim capris with elastic that doesn’t even go high enough on your belly to count as maternity jeans. By the way, I have one pair of mid-belly maternity jeans, and I am convinced that my ass is shrinking while my belly is (very slowly) growing. My ass is falling, y’all. Ridiculous. Anyway.

Why is it that all maternity tops must be horizontally-striped and/or show off the grand majority of one’s boobs? Come on – as if pregnant women really have a desire to appear larger than in real life thanks to a poorly-designed blouse. Unlike me, who has actually lost 10 pounds since her 8-week confirmation appointment, there are women out there who actually are showing by their second trimester, and have no desire to look larger. Even more, no woman wants to look bigger than she really is – so why the horizontal stripes, pregnancy tops?

Why must the necklines – v-neck, scoop or otherwise – be somehow so low as to show off half my bra when I first put on the top, and show off the rest of my boobs when I finally adjust you to the point that the empire waist is sitting somewhere on my underwire? My breasts are growing quite nicely, but no one has to know that just by glancing at my neckline instead of my shirt in general. Is a decent non-boob-showing shirt too much to ask? Without horizontal stripes that make my boobs look two cups sizes larger than in reality?

Am I just way too new to this maternity shopping thing? Or is this a constant design flaw?

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League Opener.

There are a lot of things in this world that worry and frustrate me, like cop-hating hypocrites and self-righteous parenting advisers who don’t have children and people who rant against agriculture when they think food only comes from the grocery. There are a lot of things in this world that scare me, though to various degrees, like being a new mom with absolutely no clue what direction to go, and worrying that I’ll never be able to find a stable job. I find I’m very strong-minded with regard to my dogs, my husband (and his profession), agriculture and today’s excuse for general parenting techniques (i.e. shoving kids off to school too early and expecting the teachers and police to raise them), and a bunch of other stuff. But I don’t think it helps anyone, least of all me, to keep everything quiet. How does change start if somebody doesn’t say something? And how do I keep my head from exploding if I don’t say something somewhere? I’m much better at putting words on paper (or screen) than I am speaking them aloud. This is my therapy – I’m inviting you along for the ride.

Disclaimer: This may not be your particular cup o’ tea. I can get rather woofy over some subjects, and often a little profane. It’s fairly natural. I’m not perfect. What I think is right may not conform to your ideas of great and natural. That’s fine. I’m not putting my ideas out here because I’m looking for validation. It’s more like therapy. If you agree, that’s wonderful – if you don’t, that’s great, too. I’ll be happy to debate with you, as long as you don’t make an ass of yourself. I’ll try to do the same.

All that said, and I’m done sounding like a heinous bitch, here goes nothing.