Misconceptions

I told you guys that I started reading Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf, right? Well, I had to stop reading it. She was making me really angry. She is trying to suggest that all American women are unprepared for motherhood and everything about pregnancy is some sort of secret that all doctors keep and a conspiracy to give everyone c-sections.

I disagree.

Maybe I just had more friends (than Naomi Wolf) who had kids before me and let me know what to expect. I knew about the breakthrough bleeding, and the mucus plug and that they wouldn’t let you leave the hospital until you pooped. These are all unpleasant things, but I was warned.

The other day I posted something on how I wasn’t in any of our vacation pictures. Besides the comments that you can read, I got three or four e-mails from other Moms that all felt the same way. In fact, except for Erin, every mother I talked to felt the same way. Read these:

I have hundreds of photos WITHOUT ME from all of our vacations and trips.
It is infuriating, but I’ve sort of learned to deal with it. One of the things I do is I INSIST that my hubby take my picture sometimes with the kids. I try for at least one or two shots per roll – and almost every other picture is of them with daddy or on their own. I also let any Disney or other sort of “staff photographer” person take a family picture and I always buy it wherever we are, regardless of how good it is.
It is my record that I was there.
Annoying, isn’t it?

I sent my URL to an online friend, and all she said was, “Where are YOU?”
She saw all these pictures of my family but none of me. I said, “Umm … behind the camera?” 😉 I didn’t get a picture of me with both girls until they were 6 months old (not counting a picture taken by a nurse in the NICU).

I wonder why this never came up in conversations before? I was told that I would never get to go to the bathroom alone, I was warned about false positives on AFP tests, we discussed horrible bathroom problems associated with pregnancy, people told me how they developed unusual attachments to their obstetrician – when I found out I was pregnant with twins, I was even told about one twin fetus absorbing the other twin fetus!

So, why didn’t we talk about the picture thing? Why do we feel comfortable talking about hemorrhoids, but not comfortable admitting that we feel like we don’t count as individuals anymore, because no one is taking our picture? I guess it is because it sound so selfish and unreasonable when you say it out loud. It also sounds unreasonable to ask your pets not to touch you for 5 minutes, but we talked about that.

What else aren’t we talking about?

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  1. I think that we try to warn people of things that we may think will be damaging or disturbing to them. For example, I don’t think any new mom gets to go to the bathroom alone, almost everyone has bathroom issues when pregnant, the false positive rate on AFP tests can be up to 80%, and in about 20% of twin pregnancies one is reabsorbed…

    More than worrying about sounding selfish, I think it is something that we really don’t think about. I also think the picture issue has to do with who takes the most pictures. In my baby pictures, there are more pictures of my mom than my dad, just because he always held the camera.

    I’m sure the twins will one day say, “mom must have had the camera again”!

  2. I heard that book was awful! I guess she basically complains about motherhood and whines and accuses everyone else of tricking her into thinking how wonderful each and every day is. All of us with kids know the truth. But we also know we wouldn’t trade it. As for the picture thing, I actually do agree with everyone. I just had different fears that didn’t relate to the pics. I was speaking in terms of “if I died tomorrow” instead of “why am I not in these pics?” I know full well why I’m not in them…because I am no longer the center of attention. Its not losing yourself that’s key. Some days, I succeed. Most days…I am their slave and they are my master. Its their world and I’m just living in it. I hear this gets better as they get older. You regain your”self” a bit. We’ll see.

  3. Hi from Wichita Falls TX. I just stumbled onto your blog. Dont buy into the shit that the book is trying to sell you on.

    If you (women in general) want to be in vacation pictures, then tell your husbands to get behind the damn camera instead of hogging up the horizon. You girls expect us to be as intuative as we were when we dated you. The truth is that we become slobs who are (at differing times) self indulgent. Why? Because we get the same helpless feeling you ladies have because of our lives/kids. I think thats bullshit. Neither party felt all bummed out while we were making the rug rats did we?

    Dont allow some book to plant a seed that subscribes women are void of life after having kids. Live your damn lives like there is no tomorrow (thats a possibility).

  4. It does get a little better as they get older, which is why I am not having any more!!

    Don’t get me wrong, there are still problems, they are just different ones. And the kids get less needy.

  5. I think that we feel the need to warn each other about things when we are friends because on some level let’s face it, women without children don’t SEE childbirth up close and personal any more. We don’t all get together and deliver babies so we have distance from it, whereas in ages past women were closer to it.
    However, in some soceities it was forbidden to allow women without children to be present during birth (except for the birthing mother of course) – it was believed it would frighten them too much.
    So I suppose in a way, childbirth having become medical (which I am ALL FOR by the way) vs. a family event has given us distance from it, just like other medical procedures.
    If you were going in to have a different medical procedure, a heart transplant say, I am sure many people would have horrors to share and tales to tell you, things to be aware of.

    And, the picture thing is just a mom thing. I am getting better about it.

  6. I was there when Tammy had Eric, and I was afraid it would scare me even more. But it kind of put me at ease. While it looked like it really hurt, it gave me confidence that I could do it too.

    I also think that actually witnessing the miracle of birth made it less gross and more natural and wonderful. It made me want it even more.

  7. Anonymous says:

    (from britt) oh sarah -i think you are incredible. like tammy said – it all gets so much easier when they’re older – the self-reliance and independence really helps. you will, one day, feel like your own self again – a real woman and not just “mommy” all the time. it’s not like before kids – but you will find that woman-self again.

    on another note, i know what you mean about misconceptions. i still agree with about half of what she says but it seems unfortunate that her motherhood and birthing experience was so negative. i definitely don’t feel that way and feel so lucky.

    much love

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