April 7, 2008

The Facts (for Some People)

Some people find they can "Sleep now, because you won't after the baby's here!" Some people find their sleep batteries don't work that way.

Some people have labors that are empowering and make them wonder why other women make such a fuss about it. Some people have labors that bring them to a crisis of faith about human design, because the Eve thing is insufficient explanation for this crap. Some people have labors that give them reason to be grateful for advances in medical science.

Some people will fall in love with their newborns instantly, on sight. Some people are fascinated right away, but not in love for a few days or weeks. Some people don't fall in love for months.

Some people get the agreeable, laid-back kind of baby. Some people get the colicky, crabby kind of baby. Some people get the angry, opinionated kind of baby. Some people get the happy, bossy kind of baby. Some people get the whiny, fearful kind of baby. Some people get the early-developing, adventurous kind of baby. Some people get the irritable, rule-following kind of baby. Nobody should take much credit or much blame for their allotted baby.

Some people will get babies who will cooperate with the baby-wrangling system the parents have chosen. Some people will get babies who require a re-evaluation of system requirements.

Some people find they can "Appreciate every moment!" Some people find they can only appreciate it later, looking back on it, when they're well-rested and well-dressed and fuzzy-memoried, standing in a supermarket telling a stranger to appreciate every moment.

Some people think the newborn stage is the best. Some people don't really like babies until they reach the less-shriveled stage around 2 or 3 months. Some people don't really like babies until they're not babies anymore.

Some people find that the impact of children on their lives is so severe, they need to warn the world how bad it can be. Some people find that the impact of children on their lives is so wonderful, they need to tell the world how amazing it can be. Some people find themselves confused about what exactly it is they want to tell the world.

Some people find that a new baby brings them closer to each other. Some people find that a new baby makes them feel like killing each other for chewing so loud.

Some people will find breastfeeding natural and easy. Some people will find it painful and difficult. Some people will find it a little from Column A, a little from Column B. Some people won't do it at all, for various reasons that there is absolutely no reason for anyone else to inquire about.

Some people will find that breastfeeding melts the baby weight RIGHT OFF. Some people will find that they can't lose the last pounds until after the baby is weaned. Some people will never lose their baby weight. Some people will gain weight for other reasons and will blame it on the baby.

Some people will find night feedings a chore, but not too bad. Some people will feel like leaping off a cliff. Either way, the child eventually sleeps through the night. Or grows up and leaves home.

Some people find a well of patience they never knew they had. Some people find a well of love they never knew they had. Some people find a well of rage they never knew they had. Some people get a grab-bag and never know what kind of day it's going to be.

Some people will be done after one child. Some people will be done after two children. Some people will be done after three, or four, or five, or six children. Some people will never be done. Some people will not be able to understand that different people want different numbers.

Some people say a lot of stuff about how they plan to bring up children, and then later they find they have to take a lot of it back. Some people notice this happening to other people, and are careful not to talk too much about their plans.

Some people will have listened mostly to talk about how beautiful and magical and fulfilling the child-rearing experience is. They will be in for a surprise. Some people will have listened mostly to talk about how horrible and barfy and crazy-making the child-rearing experience is. They will be in for a surprise.

117 comments:

Emblita said...

It's all true
Well put Swistle!

JMC said...

This is a GREAT post!!!

Some people get a different kind of baby each time (whiny, fearful, happy, crabby bold, etc.), which REALLY leaves them confused. ;)

Emily said...

This was really good. Nice to be reminded that even though we can't know what to expect, we'll get through it.

Farrell said...

Well said.

Susanica said...

Wow. What a great post! Thanks. -Monica

Erin said...

Genius.

Can we somehow get this into the hands of OBs everywhere, to hand out to all to-be-Moms? It's great. Thoughtful and honest and sympathetic. Thanks Swistle.

AndreAnna said...

Said perfectly. :)

Tracy said...

Well, said!

jonniker said...

I'd like to print this out and hand it to everyone I meet when they find out we want children. I would.

HERE. NOW SHUT UP.

Kristin.... said...

You are quite wise, oh Swistle. But, really, it's all true. Having children is just a little bit of everything. Learning to roll with it is what can make us good parents.

Safire said...

Well put. And a very good reminder as I am on the verge of popping out these twins. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I *very much* enjoyed this post.

-- Mairzy.

Don Mills Diva said...

Yes yes yes! Every word is true - love this post.

Saly said...

What's funny is how it can be so different from child to child.

This is pure genius

samantha jo campen said...

I totally needed that. It helps to remind me that I'm not alone.

runningmussells said...

Thank you! I wish people would stop saying what is the "right" and "wrong" way to do something. Thank you.

Amy said...

Loved this post.

I recognized myself in every line. It's amazing how your outlook can change on a daily basis.

Jess said...

This is like a summary of everything I have learned from all the parenting blogs I read, all rolled into one post. And it is brilliant.

d e v a n said...

I loved this! Especially the parts about sleeping (or not) and the parts about wanting to kill each other for chewing so loud. LOL

Someone Being Me said...

So true.

MG said...

Cheers to that!

Chrissy said...

Yes. Yes. SO true.

the planet of janet said...

this is a fabulous post.

required reading for those who have children, those who are ABOUT to have children, those who are THINKING about having children and those who HAVE no children.

you rock.

Astarte said...

Yeah!!!

And some people do their best parenting *before* they have children, ie by bestowing obnoxious proclamations upon those of us whose children may or may not be hitting each other with various desired food products at a certain unnamed grocery store, about how THEY would teach THEIR children how to BEHAVE in public. I would staple this post to their self-satisfied foreheads!

Erica said...

This should be printed in pamphlet form and distributed to all new parents in the labor & delivery ward.

Clarabella said...

Maybe we could put this on a T-shirt? Sometimes, my son's a different baby DAY TO DAY. Thanks for reminding me that's *normal*.

desperate housewife said...

This might need to go in your sidebar for easy referencing! A classic. (I have this feeling that your blog is going to be as famous in our household as, say, Dr. Spock was in the fifties. A problem will arise with child spacing or baby food making and I will go to the computer to consult my handy Swistle's Guide to Life With Kids.)

Ashley said...

I absolutely LOVE this post!

CP said...

Absolutely beautiful post Swistle!

Rachel said...

As a young childless woman who hopes someday to be a mother, but reads a lot of "mommy blogs" that scare the crap out of her, this was sincerely reassuring.

Thanks for an awesome post.

Angie said...

This is great to make everyone's view of parenting and babies the right one. Because no ones is really the right one and no one's is really the wrong one.

KEEP BELIEVING

Jess in Nebraska said...

This is a DEFINITE classic. I'm printing it out currently for a must-read for many of my new parent, or esoectant parent friends. I know we can all relate to this.

Nowheymama said...

Oh *so* many quotes I could pull from this, but let's go with: "Some people have labors that bring them to a crisis of faith about human design, because the Eve thing is insufficient explanation for this crap."
HA! That was delivery #1 for me for sure.

And I agree with Jonniker that everyone who ever gives "advice" about parenting needs a copy of this, not just new parents.

Jess in Nebraska said...

Ummm, that was supposed to be "expectant-parent"

Joanne said...

Oh, perfect perfect. You are a genius.

Mindy Richmond said...

I love this post. All of this is true, so true.

Nellyru said...

Ohh Swistle! This was the MOST AWESOME piece of writing on the subject of parenting EVER EVER EVER! No, really...EVER! I love it! Now everyone on the planet needs to READ IT, UNDERSTAND IT, EMBRACE IT!

parkingathome said...

Oh dear. You've gone and made my uterus get all atwitter.

That sounds a lot dirtier than I meant.

Bea said...

I started this post thinking "Oh how clever!" and ended it in tears.

Wendy said...

Thanks :) That feels really good to hear today.

Minnesota Matron said...

Some people will always sigh and walk away just a little happier, more content for visiting this blog. Some people will walk away wishing for more, restless, having found themselves described, just so, fifty times over.

Sarah said...

Swistle, you are my hero. Thank you.

I sent the link to the nurse who runs my local new-mom support group. (Seriously, if you live in the Seattle area, go here: http://www.communitybirth.org/classes&events.html without delay.)

Mommy 2 Hope said...

Beautifully written and completely true on every level - having children is like spinning the Wheel of Fortune of Life…

Kelly said...

I love this so much. So much.

It's all there, the craziness, joy, utter despair, contentment.

Shelly Overlook said...

You are amazing!

Tessie said...

I like what Jess said! This is like the Mommyblog Executive Summary! Well, it WOULD be, if the rest of us were as articulate.

Thank you for the "happy, bossy" baby type. That's the kind I have at the moment. Excellent description.

Elizabeth said...

I LOVE this. LOVE LOVE LOVE.
It just made me feel so much better today. Faced with a world of judgment on every side, sometimes being a mom can be so overwhelming.
Thank you. Just thank you.

Vicky said...

Beautiful.

Barb said...

This is so great! Of course, we are all different and have different experiences and we KNOW this, yet we can't help chiming in with our "well-intentioned" advice at every opportunity! Funny as well as a good reminder to shut up.

marilyn c. cole said...

This is so great and wise and you totally are making me tear up at work.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Exactly so, Swistle. Exactly so.

And the too loud chewing of the husand, how did you know?!

My captcha word is "frety". How did IT know?

jennifer said...

Word.

Jess said...

Ahhhhh... It's so wonderful reading your blog. I find myself nodding my head and agreeing outloud all week long.

rebcram said...

OMG, Swistle. This is a genius post. Is it wrong for me to say I love you???

Jennifer said...

Aw, this was nice. I enjoyed it very much! I second the suggestion that this should be available for easy reference!

Jennifer said...

This post could singlehandedly destroy the Parenting How To publishing empire. Seriously, slap this on a piece of paper and start passing out your "Parenting Pamphlets". This is a true gem for new and "experienced" mothers!

Duck Hunter said...

great post!

Rebecca said...

Amen....and thank you for the post sometime ago on baby food...I just made my first batch this past weekend....yeah!

Alice said...

i like jonniker's idea.. if i ever decide to get knocked up, i'll just print up like 30 copies of this to have on hand with me at all times to distribute to anyone who gets talky.

Stacie said...

This post right here is why I love your blog.

mnn said...

it's a rainbow world out there for sure. you can't pick your parents, or your kids, only your response to them!
well written post. clever.

Joanne said...

Awesome post!

the new girl said...

Ahhh.

This is a GREAT and CLASSIC Swistle post.

I love, love, love it.

I wish it was multiple choice and I'd pick which one I was for each category. My favorite is feeling like killing each other for chewing too loud.

HA HA!

derekandmandy said...

Perfect!
Great post!

Stimey said...

This is really beautifully said. Nice.

Laura said...

Thumbs up...

from a grab bag girl.

Penny said...

Great Post.

Amy Q said...

Some people (like you) write blog posts that are perfect.
I am tempted to send this in the direction of the competi-mommies I have run into lately!

Kelsey said...

I think I am, or have been, a little bit of every one of those people.

Thank you for this wonderful post.

Jenni said...

Beautiful!!

Marilyn said...

This post is GENIUS.

Every single thing you wrote is 100% true.

Melissa H said...

This post is why we love ya, Swistle. Well put indeed :)

Angie said...

I'm going to agree with everyone else who has posted. Awesome post!

Ginaagain said...

Fantastic!!! You are 100% correct. (and I'm so glad I'm too old for any more babies!)

moo said...

I love this post.

Well said.

Tina G said...

wow, swistle, this post is so good, you could use it to launch a parenting book ( i'm thinking catherine newman quality) i've had all those feelings with two very different kids at two very different times of my life with two different partners. None of this is predictable.

Buffy said...

I'm sooo gonna be one of the second 'Some People's.

You know, the one whose labour brings about a crisis of faith.

The whole childbirthing thing, positively terrifies me.

speckledhen said...

That was the perfect summary of how you can't summarize what it's like to be a parent. Thank you!

ie said...

This post should be laminated and inserted into every "going home" bag as you leave the hospital with your particular baby. If it's a home birth, the midwife/doula leaves a copy on your kitchen table. Excellent!

Tink said...

What a kick ass post! I especially like this line:

>>Nobody should take much credit or much blame for their allotted baby.<<

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post! I like the part about sometimes not falling in love with your baby right away. It took me a long time but now I think I'll explode because I have so much love for him.

Mae West

elizasmom said...

I just emailed a link of this post to a pregnant friend, whom I and my fellow mom-types inundated with horror/babylove stories this weekend. I hope she pays more attention to you than to our rantings and ramblings, because you have hit the nail on the head.

Fern said...

Oh, you are so right! This should be the info given out at the first appt with an OB. Or midwife.

Raven said...

I try to give a balanced: this sucked ass but this made up for it report.

I hated that people told me I would forget the pain, which was such utter BS I couldn't even begin to forgive them such a bald-faced lie. The pain being worth it? Yeah. Forget it? Not so much.

Kristin C. said...

Swistle. You are the flam-damn BEST. I'm telling you. The VERY best.

Melissa said...

I love this post!And every bit of it is true. The experience is so different for every person!

Susiewearsthepants said...

I am going to print this off for my sisters both recently had babies. I am sure they will love it.

Sundry said...

Best writing about parenthood I've about ever read. This should be required reading for all new moms along with Waiting for Birdy and Operating Instructions.

Sue said...

So eloquently said! Lovely!

Natalie said...

First time here. Loved the post!! First birth was how you described. Second birth was empowering. Love breastfeeding, hate breastfeeding, etc. Can relate to all of your post and it made me realize that I'm too preachy sometimes! Thank you for this post! Will pass it on!

wordnerd said...

I'm 5 weeks in with baby #1...it felt BEYOND good to read this.

thanks, this is a superb post!

Whimsy said...

I loved this so much. Thank you for the reminder that it's all an incredibly individual and personal experience.

Amy said...

Brilliant!! Thanks for this. It is very wise.

bevo said...

Some people will wonder during the baby stage if these months of interrupted sleep will EVER end.

Many of those same people will look back when their children are grown and wonder how on Earth those growing up years could possibly have flown by so quickly.

Honeybee said...

Amen.
So true in every sense. Agree with Sundry in that it should be required reading for new moms and a reminder for the more experienced moms (and dads) too. Forget Mommy Wars, read Swistle. :)

Heather said...

Oh, my god, thank you so much for writing this. I'm so sick of feeling like I'm a bad mommy because my experience just isn't the same as my other mom-friends. I really, really needed to hear all this - especially the part about getting a grab bag and not being sure what to tell other people.

Those "What To Expect" books - the entire series - really piss me off. This is way better for not-yet-mommies.

heather said...

This post should be an email forward...you know where it gets passed along with headers that read "so true!" Great.

leslie said...

wonderful, beautiful, true. just when i thought i had child #1 figured out.....we got brave and decided to have #2! who needs calm and quiet anyway?

PopTart said...

What a fabulous post! I enjoyed reading it very much! So true!

mothergoosemouse said...

This post should be required reading for everyone who has a baby, will have a baby, or might ever possibly come into contact with someone who has or will have a baby.

Le Synge Bleu said...

some people are reading this while their 13 1/2 month old makes pterodactyl screeches while launching waffle pieces all over the room. those people REALLY appreciate this post today.

S said...

This is FANTASTIC!

Papasan said...

Well written post, and oh so true. I think we ended up with a "happy, bossy baby" that's quickly grown up into a "happy, bossy toddler" and I'm quite alright with that.

brzeski said...

I know this was from a hundred years ago, but it's so awesome.
Serving notice: You've been moved to the favorites folder in Bloglines (in case you felt some bumping around, that's what that was).

Miss Grace said...

A full year later, I must tell you that I love this.

Kerri Anne said...

I feel like I'm just reiterating what's already been said at this point, but this was fantastic. Thank you for writing it.

Nikki said...

This is a great post and perfect timing for me! I just found out I was pregnant a few weeks ago (surprise!) - I have a boyfriend, but we're not married, I was planning on going back to school this summer, employment is very touch and go and I was never really sure I wanted to have children to begin with. I'd lived overseas for a few years and always thought I wanted to do it again, or at least do a lot of traveling yet... it's been an adjustment, to say the least. A big, scary adjustment.

Getting all the supportive emails from other women and hearing other women say they didn't love their babies right away, or they felt like they were doomed or their lives had just ended upon learning they were pregnant... it's a HUGE RELIEF and makes you feel like you might actually be able to cope, too.

Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Pure brilliance.

mothergoosemouse said...

Love this. Love love love.

Thank you Swistle.

Andria said...

Just stumbled across this, so...
I adored this, and it made me laugh out loud in several places.
Even though my daughter is 12 (13 in May! ACK!), this is still applicable.
Thanks. :-)
Also, it makes me want another (again). My husband does not thank you. ;-D

mommagoosenotes said...

What a beautiful post. I kept finding myself saying, "YES!!!" I am sure that I will re-read this many times.

Jen said...

I lurve you. You are so smart.

lauriemelissaphotography said...

Fantastic

Muskrat said...

My baby made me less of an asshole. But not by much.

scarlett said...

Just: Thank you.

Brenna said...

BRILLIANT!

oilandgarlic said...

Great post and oh so true. I think a paragraph about education choices would fit well here too! I'm so confused right now by all the different pre-school /teaching methods out there.