When Ceridwen and I decided to write From The Hips, we were mostly inspired by how totally manipulated we felt by all the books we read about pregnancy and becoming a parent. (What To Expect, I’m talking to you.) The whole business seemed calculated to create anxiety, either in the moment (often, in the case of pregnancy books) or when the promises the book made inevitably failed (often, in the case of parenting books). And the books that were supposedly talking about reality were not about our reality. Sure, The Girlfriend’s Guide is funny, but Vicki Iovine’s truth is a long way from mine. The thing that was missing from everything we read was a straightforward honesty, and an acknowledgment that although becoming a parent might be “the greatest thing ever,” it can be one of the hardest things ever, too.
With this in mind, we started our book with 10 Anti-Rules for New Parents, mantras to help fortify new moms and dads through the tough parts of this transition. The idea was that if people had realistic expectations — incorporating the not-so-fun parts of the picture as well as the joyous parts — they’d be better prepared to deal with the reality of pregnancy and parenthood.
Which is why it’s so great to see that Rufus and Alisa, the founding couple of Babble, take their information-positive mission to the big screen in their talk at TED Women. The TED conference is a genius assembly of idea power, and I love the idea that Babble’s out there promoting this very important agenda in that context. It’s my personal feeling that the way pregnancy and parenthood are represented in the media contributes to a lot of the difficulties women experience on the road to motherhood. Women feel like it should be easy so they don’t ask for support. They think babies should be bundles of joy so they feel guilt when they have negative feelings. And people don’t talk about the hard stuff. Take Alisa’s story:
Alisa loved pregnancy. She felt contented and purposeful, she says, like a “vessel of the future of humanity.” But when she got back from the hospital with her new baby, things changed radically. She felt lonely, left out and alienated. So she asked her sister, a mom of three, why nobody had told her she might feel this way. “It’s just not the kind of thing you want to say to a mother who’s having a baby for the first time,” she said. I agree with Babble’s founders that this is EXACTLY the kind of thing you DO want to say to a first time mother, before it hits her without warning. Pretending having a baby is all sunshine and sweetness is doing a disservice to all of us. I’m so glad to be a part of changing that trend for the better.
See Rufus and Alisa’s Top 4 Parenting Taboos (and some pretty cute co-parenting banter) below.