by KATE SELTH
I’m sorry. If you are ever thinking of having children then I owe you an apology. I’m the one you’ve heard describing my exasperating experiences raising babies and toddlers in fine, emotional detail. Actually I think it was me and every other mother ever to live.
We need to learn to filter. I think we’re freaking you non-mums out a little.
I’ve recently become aware of this issue.
It was about the time the phrase ‘paediatric chiropractor spinal realignment’ came up. My once confident and bubbly girlfriend looked at me as her hand slid slowly down to her tiny growing bump.
‘I can’t take it anymore,’ she said. ‘There’s just too much to worry about.’
My newly pregnant friend had been listening into our conversation. It was just a normal gathering of the girls for breakfast. Those of us with kids had started bonding. Sleep loss. Sagging bodies. Vegetable refusal. Lactose intolerance and colic may have come up. We talk about regular stuff too, but our kids are a big part of our lives.
The camaraderie gives us a boost. It’s nice to know you’re not the only one going through, or who has been through, the strange and challenging early years of raising a child. Mums need support and we give it to each other.
But only about half of us at that breakfast had children. And we were exposing the rest of the girls to the inner sanctum of early parenthood. We did it often. We’ve been doing it for years.
I’d never stopped to think about the effect it was having on my non-mother friends. Whether they were single, partnered, ready to rest or not, I’m sure the rotten image we were painting was one which would stick.
So the truth had come out. We had freaked her out.
It wasn’t just this conversation. It was the build-up of every piece of information from us and so many other new mothers she’d ever heard. Her bump was growing but so was her anxiety.
Instead of rejoicing in the miracle in her womb, we’d led her to fear it.
There is a lot of focus on prenatal and postnatal depression now. I think it’s important for mothers-to-be to be informed and realistic about the mini tornado about to pass through their home. They need to know life won’t exactly reflect a Huggies commercial.
Shared information is good – important, even. But how much is too much? Are how early is too early? Should we mums just be keeping our mouths shut? Should we change our tune?