Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Long time no post.

WeeSprite is keeping me busy.  I’m hoping I can at least get a rough draft in before she wakes up.  Learning this whole “mom” thing is a process, to say the least.  There’s lots of repetition (feed, change diaper, try to do stuff while she sleeps, repeat).  There’s things I do all the time and never get sick of it – like staring at her.  A lot.  Seriously, your baby very quickly becomes your obsession.  I can watch her sleep, or just lie there, or make funny faces while she tries to take a poop, for hours.   There’s things I never thought I would get used to but now handle with gace and calm.  Like getting peed on.  And spit up on.  And going to the bathroom while holding a baby.  Oh, and typing with one hand.

I think the hardest thing to get used to is how different I am treated now.  While I was pregnant, people went out of their way to be nice to me, to help me with things (lifting, opening doors, whatever).  They asked about the baby, about my health.  They offered kind (usually) and well-meant advice.  This from complete strangers as well as friends and aquaintences.  Now that the baby is here, people don’t seem to understand that the pregnancy was the easy part.  At least for me it was.  NOW is when I need help, when it would be nice if someone opened the door for me while I juggle a winter coat, baby, and humongous diaper bag.  When, while it is not as visible as a pregnant belly, a cesarean section makes it a lot harder to move and lift things than it was while I was pregnant.  When I want to yell, No, I really can’t keep up with the amount of housework that I could a few weeks ago.  Other than my friends who already have kids (and my wonderful, amazing partner), people don’t Get It.  Strangers or friends, really.

Today was the first time I realized how different the world is for me as a mom as opposed to a pregnant woman.

Today I was scheduled for my two-week checkup with my midwives.  I dropped my Loving and Supportive Partner off at work, and had two hours to kill before said appointment.  We live far enough out of town that going home would be a pain and a waste of gas, as well as dealing with pulling my peacefully sleeping WeeSprite in and out of the car seat.   Considering she was sleeping so well, I decided to spend the time at the library, which is just across the street from LaSP’s place of employment (the acronym works for now, but he REALLY needs a blog name!).  WeeSprite was bundled into her Moby wrap, diaper bag hauled over one shoulder, and off we went.

It was not meant to be.  The moment I reached the most central, echoing part of the library, my little one started to cry.  She is generally a very calm baby.  She cries when she needs something and that’s it.  Right at that moment, WeeSprite needed to tell me she was hungry.  Also right at that moment, everyone in earshot needed to tell me something else.  Shut Your Baby Up.  What Are You Doing Here With A Crying Baby? You Must Be A Terrible Mother.  You Don’t Belong Here.  Oh, no one said these things.  But you can say a lot with a dirty look.  Patrons and librarians alike made it very clear that I was a Nuisance, a Disturbance, and Not Welcome.

I hurried to a quiet and (I thought) private corner.  I had no sooner gotten myself settled (and was seconds away from freeing a breast from the crazy Moby contraption to feed WeeSprite) when a scruffy guy browsing the stacks felt it necessary to add his two cents.  “The kid’s section is over there” he growled, jerking his thumb the the general direction.

“Back the fuck off! Let me feed my kid! Unless you’ve never been a temporary pain in someone’s ass, leave me alone!”

…is what I thought.  What I said was more of a stammering apology.  “I’m sorry! She was fine until I got here!”  Disgusting.  I was angry with myself for being so cowed, but still intimidated by the force of negative energy that seemed to be coming from everyone in the library.

Huddled in my corner, I fed my daughter.  When she seemed done, I burped her and got ready to look for a few books – my original plan.  WeeSprite had other ideas, and immediately let me know about her dirty diaper.  I hurried to the bathroom before she had time to make more than a few noises, wanting to avoid bringing more attention to myself.  I changed her, and lingered in the bathroom, afraid to go back into the library.  Sure enough, she began to fuss again (still hungry) and I did what I never thought I would do.  I had been a staunch supporter of a mother’s right to breastfeed in public.  I had ranted rants, read articles, discussed this right with my La Leche League Leader friend.  But I did it, I went into a bathroom stall.  To feed my baby.

Not because of censure of breastfeeding in public. Not out of modesty or fear someone would say something about me feeding my daughter in the way I thought best.  I did it because I was afraid of having a crying newborn in public.

I spent more time cowering from public opinion in the bathroom than I did using the library itself.  Really, I didn’t get any time to actually browse for books.

How fucked up is that?

It seems that we live in a place where pregnancy is smiled upon, but the result of that condition is considered a public nuisance.  How often have I (or you, dear reader) been in a restaurant, on a bus, boarding a plane, and saw a parent and baby come onto the scene?  Did I roll my eyes, and wonder what kind of disruption this would cause? Did I give them a dirty look if the baby cried?  I hope I have not been that person, but fear that I have.  I know that by the time my youngest brothers were born, I had learned more about what it was like to be a parent (from observing my mom) and was more likely to give parents of fussing kids looks of understanding – but what if they came off as pity?

I hope that at least a few people reading this will be kinder to frazzled moms (and dads) like myself.  I hope that I will learn to not give a crap about the opinions of others when I am taking care of my child’s needs.  I hope I get some of my F-you attitude back, and the cowed, scared me will fade into the background.

For the people who gave me dirty looks today, I would like to end this with a little bit of wisdom from OutKast.

I know you’d like to thank your shit don’t stank
But lean a little bit closer
See that roses really smell like poo-poo
Yeah, roses really smell like boo-boo


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