parents

The weird world of maternity concierges

Ever since Martin Short played Franck in the early 90s movie Father of the Bride, we’ve become accustomed to the idea of wedding planners. Two decades later, it’s a valid career choice with many brides-to-be paying professionals to help them in their journey to matrimony. Now, in the next incarnation for busy women and their partners comes baby planners or in other words a “maternity concierge”.

A maternity concierge sounds like a cross between a midwife and a doorman, which is exactly the type of person you would want around. Someone who can help solve breastfeeding dilemmas as well as open doors for you. Sadly this is not this case. For US$50-$150 an hour, a maternity concierge acts in much the same way as a wedding planner would, by preparing and assisting mums-to-be in everything from baby proofing a house to choosing the perfect stroller.

Yawn. I can search internet forums for the answers to these things. What you really need is someone who will tell you how to deflect stupid comments about your body, tell you how to wear a tight top to accentuate the baby bump, without drawing unwanted attention to your ever expanding chest, and help explain why people won’t give up their seats for you on public transport anymore.

A social phenomenon hasn’t really caught on until a movie or reality show has been made about it and that’s exactly what’s happening in the US. Pregnant in Heels is a behind the scenes look at some rather affluent couples who are preparing to bring a baby into their lives. Some of the clients of star planner, Rosie Pope, appear to be in denial, take a look at an episode from the first season:

To me, the notion of a maternity concierge seems to be part of a bigger problem.  Shouldn’t you have a friend or relative you can ask to help with this kind of stuff? Granted, we work longer hours than ever before, have less time to nurture our friendships, are more internet-driven, and have become more isolated from a sense of community that once existed (if you don’t include internet communities). But do we now have to pay people to give us the parenting advice that was once handed down by our mothers, aunts and grandmothers?

I find you don’t even need to ask relatives, complete strangers are happy to dole out parenting advice, especially gems like: “buy them the damn Bertie Beetle if it will shut them up while I’m buying my groceries.” But maybe that is the problem, too many people have too many different opinions about how you should parent and provide for your child and the only way to cut through all the noise is to seek independent ‘professional’ advice.

From what I’ve heard, every baby is different and what is going to work for one won’t exactly work for the next. I’d much rather hear advice from someone I know, than someone who is paid to help and whose opinions could possibly be bought.

What scares you most about the idea of having kids? If you already do, what do you WISH a maternity concierge could have helped you with before the birth?

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