Crushing the Bowl of Cherries Myth one Mama at a time...
Posted Aug 09 2010 9:28am
I have transformed into a new kind of party guest these past couple of years. In college, I was always right in there, dancing, laughing, "cheers-ing" and going along with the positive vibe. The parties have changed since then, and so have I. At the baby showers, in particular, I find myself biting my tongue, nearly off at times, as other women, some mothers and some not, drone on and on about how excited the guest of honor must be, how happy a time this is, and how using all these new baby gadgets will be the equivalent on the enjoyment scale of 5 hours at the spa followed by being greeted at the door to your sparkling clean house by your flower and jewelry gifting hubby. Reality, gals?? Umm, not so much.
Why do we do this to our "friends"?? Why do women feel the need to disregard honesty about new motherhood so that a Baby Shower can be all about happy dances and cute clothes?
Over the weekend, a fellow Survivor Mama sent me an email link to this article, The Baby Diaries -- a Day in the Life of a New Mom , which I think much more accurately describes what the early days of motherhood at home look like than the banter overheard at Showers and Pregnancy celebrations.
While I don't think we should dash women's hopes of an enjoyable motherhood experience, I do believe that we do women everywhere a disservice if we can't be honest about the potential challenges ahead. Wouldn't you rather be pleasantly surprised by your reality than taken completely by surprise (as I was) by how difficult just being a mom is, let alone if you are one of the 15% or more who will deal with a PMD on top of it? Would your Shower really have been ruined if someone had openly utilized that time to balance the fun and silliness of TP-ing your belly with reminding you, in a serious way, that you are about to journey into a period of your life that is going to be filled with sleep disturbances and deprivation, emotional ups and downs and periods of feeling helpless or like you aren't sure how to "do it"?
So, I urge you, take the frilly dress or stuffed bear to that Baby Shower, and along with it, a book like the New Mom's Companion that accurately portrays the first days and months of a babe's life for the whole family. And, don't be afraid, if the other women there start getting all "it's just like in the Pampers commercials" on that mama to call them out and say, "No, actually it's not for a lot of women...I had a hard time, and if you struggle after you have the baby I don't want you to feel alone. I will be there for you...bowl of cherries or not!"