Tuesday, January 4, 2011

430am, TedTalks, and Taboo's

It's 430 in the morning and I'm laying in bed wondering what the HELL am I doing?

How did I end up with sleepless nights, dirty diapers, and a car seat again. Why did I decide this was a good idea?

Yesterday I watched a Tedtalk  by Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman about Let's Talk about Parenting Taboos, Rufus and Alisa are the founders babble.com, the couple talk about four things that not really get discussed when you embark on the journey of parenthood.

1. That you will fall in love with your child the minute it's born..

Obviously this wouldn't be the case for me, I wasn't emotionally invested before the birth..it took a while to develop love for LO...I was willing to fight like a grizzly (terrible metaphor but appropriate) the minute they handed her to me, but I didn't love her right off the bat...the shock of being a parent again had to wear off first. 

2. That it's lonely to be a parent..

They are right about this in some cases..when I had my son, whom I successfully retrieved from the correct airport on Sunday, I was living with my parents but I had developed a relationship with some LLL moms which helped with the first few weeks but then I began to miss my home in Idaho and I began to miss my friends. Military families living on base tend to develop close friendships. They tend to put families that are close in rank together, you are sharing the same financial woes, the same loss of a spouse to temporary deployments, and the same hassles so it was a close nit community that helped with loneliness. 

This time around I'm struggling a bit more, I don't have a close nit group of friends, I am a totally different person that most people here in Wisconsin..I have different views on religion, parenting, and life then your average Wisconsinite.  So I have to say that yes I'm noticing some loneliness.  I have reached out to several groups, LLL (it's kind of weird to break out a bottle in the mist of nursing but hey..a kids gotta eat) and a babywearing group-Green Bay Babywears.  Hopefully this will ease my loneliness some. 

3. You can't talk about a miscarriage-

Well I've never had a miscarriage as I was only able to conceive once so I can't talk about that but I can talk about having a hysterectomy...Though it was medically necessary for me to have a hysterectomy, I still struggled with loss..It felt like a loss of womanhood..that I had been propelled in to cronehood much sooner then I wanted.  I feel felt like I was no longer a complete woman.  Any option I felt I had, like having another baby was taken from me..even though at the time I didn't want another baby..it was weird.

4.  You can't say that your average happiness has declined...

They show a chart from the book Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert that shows your happiness declines until your first child leaves for college.  I have to admit that I was pretty unhappy back in the days when Jake was younger and my happiness level was steadily rising the older he got..He is capable of taking care of his needs without much intervention from me..so I was freer to pursue my wishes.  Then LO showed up..has my level of happiness declined?  I'm not sure..I know that she makes me really happy at times, not so happy at 3am when she's gotten up again..but then when she snuggles down and smiles in her sleep well I forget all about the fact that its 3am. 

A taboo that I think we should talk to parents about is your relationship with each other will change.  There is nothing you can do about it just face it, accept it, and grow from it.  There isn't much sex the first few months, then what there is is quick and maybe not quite like it once was, but like the happiness chart, if you can hang on to each other through the childhood years your relationship will get better. 

What is a taboo that you think we as patents should tell new or expecting parents?


  1. J and I watched this TEDTalk together and it was such an eye opener. I think because of the way I parent, it's even lonelier. I don't leave her to go drinking with friends, I co-sleep, breastfeed until we are both ready to stop, feed her mostly organic foods and no sugar, and it creates a lot of walls.

    I'd tell new parents to do what they believe is right for them and their children but know it may be difficult (damn difficult) to not just fall into the norm. Find support how you can - LLL, play groups, online... you will need it AND it's okay! It takes a village to raise a child.


  2. As a new dad to twins, for me nothing is taboo: I've tried to get the advice of experienced parents everywhere I can, about everything. With twins any any problems are at least doubled so we need all the help we can get!

    I think all of the issues you list are vital to talk about, especially your last 1.

    It can be hard to admit that as a parent you're not perfect & that you make mistakes, sometimes big ones. We're only human! There's a lot of peer pressure about sometimes, but maybe we could try to be more open about that.