It’s a funny thing, this whole preparing to be a parent. There are aspects of the whole process that make me very glad I no longer live in the U.S., home of the Mommy Wars.
When I found out we were going to be doing IVF, I started reading blogs by other infertiles. When I found out we were going to do IUI, I started reading blogs by parents of multiples (you laugh, but it’s true). And when we found ourselves in the ridiculously lucky position of pregnancy, I started reading up on those things I might need to know about. Breastfeeding. New motherhood. Working from home. Etc.
If I thought the divide between childless-by-choice and infertility bloggers was wide, it’s nothing to the downright animosity that often marks the debates between the mommies. Working mom vs. SAHM vs. WAHM. Breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding. Planned c-sections vs. natural birth. Attachment parenting vs. cry it out.
I’m struggling to find a niche. I’ve always felt that I had a little cubby hole in the blogosphere. I was one of the religious female bloggers struggling with male factor infertility. I had a role to play in the production.
But it’s a dicey game out there with parenting plans. Although I’m reluctant to post some crazy manifesto steeped in the naivete of someone who is not yet having to parent an infant 24/7, I have an idea of how I would like things to go.
I want to breastfeed. Not because I think it leads to higher SAT scores. Not because I think bottle feeding is bad for children or mommies. Frankly, I don’t believe most of the hype. I want to breastfeed because it will save money and mean fewer new baby things to wash and sterilize. But yeah, I already own bottles. Because I know that even if breastfeeding works out perfectly, I will likely start pumping when I go back to work. And I’d like the hubby to be able to handle some of the night feedings, too.
I also hope to use cloth diapers. I don’t know for how long. We bought them. They are cute, but then again, they are also currently unused. I assume they are less cute when they are full of dookie. Again, not because I’m all crunchy granola (’cause yeah, I’m not) and want to save the environment, but because they save money.*
But to choose the two options above and find support comes with the doctrinaire approach to platforms seen only in U.S. politics. If you are pro-breastfeeding and pro-cloth diapering, you must also be pro-attachment parenting.
Which is where this whole neat plan derails. I may live to go against some of these proclamations, but…
I’m not sharing my bed with a baby. I already share it with a husband, a dog and two cats. There is no more room at the inn. This is why man created cribs, pack and plays, etc. We bought a very nice pack and play. We plan on buying a very nice crib. She should sleep in them. If she doesn’t want to, she can sleep somewhere else. But not in my bed.
I will reluctantly share my bedroom with an infant for a few weeks while we get the hang of breastfeeding. Hence the pack and play.
I am not wearing my child on me in a sling. I already have enough back pains from having D-cup breasts as a freshman in high school (I weighed 90 pounds – you do the math). I can occasionally see carrying her in the Baby Bjorn we have when I’m too damn lazy to shlep a stroller, but I don’t do the whole “baby against my chest like a papoose” deal. I have absolutely nothing against anyone who does – indeed, the whole point of this post is that folks should be able to choose parenting techniques a la carte. But I don’t care how much she likes it. As Bushie senior said, “Not goin do it.”
Which brings me to my next point of misunderstanding. When I postulate about how I would like, in the utopia I dream of when the baby isn’t kicking my bladder and I’m doped up on Benadryl, to parent, I get the same response.
“You’ll have to see what the baby wants when she gets here.”
Which boggles my mind a bit. I think of parenting techniques a bit like I think of consensual sex. It takes two. And when one party just ain’t having it, neither is the other. At the risk of sounding like a cold-hearted bitch, I’m not willing to kowtow to what the baby wants if it’s a parenting technique I can’t live with.
So. Where does that leave me? So confused and annoyed that I’m reluctant to register for birthing classes. Because those, too, are marked in their approaches. Far be it for me to tell anyone how to have their baby, but I can tell you right now that regardless of how much pain I am in, I’m not going to get much comfort out of Lamaze. I think it takes the right kind of person, much the same way that enjoying a yoga class means being able to focus on things other than the size of your own butt when you’re in downward dog. It just isn’t me.
I did have classes scheduled. I canceled them when I was told there would be weekly breathing exercises for my husband and I to practice. Unless the breathing exercises will more adequately help me to enunciate in Hebrew (say it with me now! Ani rotzah epidural akshav!), I’m not really interested. Now if we can talk about what in the hell you’re supposed to do with a baby after you come home from the hospital, I’m all ears.
As long as you don’t try to put her in my bed. 🙂
* I make it sound like we’re very poor and can’t afford this baby, don’t I? That’s not really the case, as the ridiculously large amount of brand spanking new baby gear that is due to arrive motzei Shabbat can attest to. But I still don’t like spending money for convenience. I think there’s a balancing act to it that I’ll just have to get used to when she gets here.