Friday, December 21, 2012

So it Begins

A guest post by Mary Wilson

I feel a little foolish writing parenting posts. There is no shortage of parenting advice online. One of the biggest genres of blog is the mommy blog. This is our village, and we're raising children in the only community we know.

In that vein, all parenting advice is bullshit and never applies to all kids or all parents. I have bought and read 5 parenting books and regularly read parenting blogs in the almost 5 years since I became pregnant with my first child and though I have learned useful bits from each of them, none had "all" the answers. No one had all the answers, and anyone who claims otherwise knows fuck all about parenting.

So, here I am, ignoring my own misgivings and writing about parenting. Please, take anything and everything I say about parenting, motherhood, and childcare with a substantial grain of salt. I have no experience with early childhood education, child psychology, or any other academic study of the development of children. I speak from my own experiences as a young, white, middle class, able-bodied, cisgender mother of two equally able-bodied white children. I will do my best to check my privilege at every opportunity and please point it out when my privilege is showing. There are experiences that every parent shares and I want to provide my take. Writing about parenting is more to help me put my experience into perspective than it is for me to tell you how you will experience parenting.

So, on to the parenting. I’ll start at the beginning because I have a well practiced rant about pregnancy and a woman’s body. This does not necessarily go under “parenting” because experiencing pregnancy does not automatically make you a parent, and being a parent does not mean you experienced pregnancy. It’s just a convenient starting point.

I loved being pregnant. I loved feeling the little being inside me moving and growing. I didn't love the aches, the pain, the heartburn. I knew going into both pregnancies that there is a physical toll to be paid for undergoing that much physical change in such a short time. That said, there wasn't much that I truly hated about being pregnant.

I only really hated one thing.

I hated being treated like an incubator. I hated that not only did I have to share my body with this potential person, the obvious physical signs of pregnancy meant that I was sharing my body with the world. Intellectually I knew I would be giving up some autonomy to the potential person sharing my body but I was not emotionally prepared to have that autonomy taken by my family or anyone else for that matter.

Being pregnant and the resulting barrage of “you can’t/shouldn’t do that!” reminded me that few people trust women to make their own decisions about their bodies. Pregnant women are constantly told “Don’t” by people totally uninvested in their health or well-being. While pregnant the only opinions that matter are the same opinions a pregnant woman would take into account while not pregnant. Health decisions (including diet and physical capabilities) should be made between a woman and her doctor or midwife, and even the doctor or midwife should be challenged if she or he recommends something that the pregnant woman doesn’t think will help.

Pregnancy is a confusing time with so many physical and emotional changes it really helps to trust your instincts, trust how you feel and listen to your body. If a woman doesn’t know how she feels or what her body is saying to, that’s ok. Everyone is allowed to feel shitty, elated, or confused, especially when being blasted with puberty-level hormones.

If you are pregnant, or intend to become pregnant there are many things you need to consider but the second most important thing (after “am I ready/do I want to be a mother”) is “Am I ready to share my body even more than I already do?”


Mary Wilson is a mom, wife, geek, and crafter, but not necessarily in that order. She is raising two preschool aged girls in small-town Nova Scotia with the help of a husband and a greyhound. She has an undergrad degree in philosophy and women's studies and currently works for an e-commerce site making how-to videos for YouTube. She has no idea how any of the above happened but has decided to roll with it.

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