To the Maybe Mother

Hello to you,

Toying with it, are you?  Looking sidelong for clues at the friend who went for it before you, getting careless with the birth control, flirting with fate?  Well, it’s a doozy, that decision.  As a hesitating friend once said, “it’s so up there with irreversible decisions”.   And I could tell you all my news and insights, reams and reams of it I have just like any other mom, and possibly none of it would resonate with what you’ll experience.

But probably something would.  During some late night diaper change, or pulling up to a pediatric appointment, a sentence, a memory, a piece of advice might float to you and hover until you reached for it.  You’d say, oh yeah, so-and-so mentioned this, so this is what she meant, hm.

The only thing I know for sure is that once you sport a noticeable bump on your belly, the gates will pull back and you will be deluged with other people’s perceptions, experiences, judgments, and advice.  Don’t bother trying to stem the flow; better to channel your energies to more self-directed activities.  Some of it will be useful, some of it not useful, and some of it uncategorizable.

In my own mind, these largely unsolicited outpourings find their places in a mental chart made just for them. When I was a girl at school, I learned to employ a tool that supposedly assists in assesses ideas.  It’s called the PMI chart.  Not to be confused with PMS, PMI stands for Pluses, Minuses, and Interestings, and you’re supposed to take your page, fold it twice vertically to make three columns, and slot your information as a P, M or I.

You will, whether you want it or not, end up with material for a PMI chart, although obviously you may choose not to utilize such a chart.  My mind has created one without asking, and I thought I might as well share it with you.

Pluses

  • Hold your baby.
  • Make your best decisions about working outside the home, and then stop feeling guilty about it.
  • If I could give new parents one piece of advice, it would be not to separate during the first couple of years of having a child.  The stressors are too high, and not necessarily indicative of a bad marriage.
  • That’s unusual, but I really, really, really believe in mothers’ intuition.  Believe in yours.

Minuses

  • Put your baby down – he’ll get used to being held.
  • Pump as much as you can on both breasts, every two to three hours, eight to ten times a day – ten is better.  And make sure you get lots of sleep and rest.
  • You can’t raise boys without spanking them.

Noteworthy

  • Having children is the best.  I mean, there’s nothing that can prepare you for the sleep deprivation, but it’s really a wonderful experience.
  • There’s nothing like having a baby to show you how useless your husband is.
  • It’s amazing to see how becoming a father has made my husband so present and nurturing.
  • Kids are okay.  The first one, you worry.  The second one, you enjoy.  The third one, you throw him in the back and you hope he don’t choke himself.
  • I lost a layer of something after having kids, some nameless barrier in the psyche that defends us from bad news and bad vibes (a comment on this post).
  • Go home and make another baby.  Leave this one here to play.

That’s all I have to write to you.  I quietly hope that you’ll find the decision right for you and take the plunge, only because that’s been the right decision for me and the resulting happiness is too extreme not to want to share it.  But I’ll understand if you won’t.  People, big and small, have their reasons.

If you do go for it, though, consider keeping a PMI chart.  I’d love to compare folded paper thirds with you one day.

Best wishes to you,

Carol

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3 thoughts on “To the Maybe Mother

  1. I don’t actually understand many of the items in the chart. They seem like parts of a conversation and I don’t know whether you mean them as good ideas/bad ideas/interesting ideas, or good reasons to have a baby/bad reasons…etc. Honestly looking for clarification.

    • Hi Susan,

      All of the items on the lists were parts of conversations, where people made comments or advice to me, and I mentally categorized them as helpful, not helpful, or interesting/fun. They’re not meant to be reasons for or against having a baby. It’s an anecdote, as I assume all moms-to-be hear their share of comments or helpful that they’ll decide for themselves are helpful, not helpful, or interesting/fun. Just sharing experiences, and to give someone who hasn’t yet decided to become a mother a heads-up of the kinds of (sometimes contradictory) things she might hear.

  2. If you do have a child that misbehaves, then you should responsibly spank them. Check out my post ‘Parenting Part 2: The Punishment’ this will tell you all the parenting methods you need to use. Spanking is a last resort.

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