So I was sitting in front of some morning news show on Wednesday and they happen to be talking about women having babies. I was particularly interested in what one of the hosts said: “Is it just me or do women today think that women have never had babies before?” He was implying that these days women whinge. I felt quite hurt by his disillusionment and wrote them the following email:
This morning (19th January 2010), in the segment about Miranda Ker and her new baby Flynn, XXXXX made the comment “Is it just me or do women today think that women have never had babies before?” This comment triggered off what has been a common misconception/disillusionment that I have recently become aware of. The reason children/women/adolescents find ‘common’ issues like childbirth, breastfeeding, contraception etc. hard to confront or deal with is because your generation doesn’t openly talk about them. It is hard when women of your generation say that they were fine, “in my day we did it the hard way!”.
I have recently had my first child and although it has only been 10 weeks I have learnt more then I ever have in my last 29 years. One of the biggest things that I have learnt is that I am not alone. I had a lot of breastfeeding problems, and the more people I spoke with the more people would say, oh yes that happened to me, or I was like that too. It becomes a problem when people are not open about the issues. If women of your generation were open enough and more community oriented then these ‘issues’ would become more a part of life and you would find less stigma attached to them.
On a recent trip to Africa I experienced communities of women sharing babies, home births, breastfeeding in public, openly discussing cloth pads and menstruating to name a few. The common parts of life all should share. The children around would have been absorbing this discussion and watching mothers feed and nurse. I wish that more people would be as open and as sharing so that we could grow up with more at hand life skills, not importance orientated towards money, certificates or degrees.
It went on … but that says enough for you to understand the general idea.
The truth is …
- … that I was not, and am not coping. As I sit here with my baby in her cradle I can say that it has not been easy.
- … that it is hard and there are changes, and that many people have done this before me.
- … everyone has moments and experiences, no matter how together people look. When you talk to them you realise that they too have the same experience, but are really good at hiding it (which is half problem!)
- … you should ask for help. If you understood that people have done this before it would not be hard to ask someone to take your dog for a walk, or for a dinner, or lunch, or even for a break from visitors.
- … you and your baby are individuals and should listen to each other BEFORE any advice or websites. Your instincts have been given to you as a gift and you should not ignore them.
I am sure that there are many more truths, but these have been in my gut for a while and I needed to get them out. This post is really just a call out to everyone to be honest and truthful to each other and themselves. Honesty and reality is full of worth while experience.
One of the best comforts is to hear that I am not alone. At 3am, when you have a screaming child and you feel like your boobs are broken and you are not sure how to continue, the best thing for me to reflect on is reality and not some perfect ideal that has been advertised or promoted to me.