Monday, April 11, 2011

Reading, relaxing and resting up for the big day

Heading into the last two weeks of pregnancy, I have finally hit the point where my body is telling me I really need to slow down more. I got up this morning with a list of things I wanted to accomplish. Instead, after breakfast and checking e-mail, I crawled back into bed. I did manage to read a few chapters of a book I picked up at the library this weekend, though. It's "Instinctive Parenting: Trusting Ourselves to Raise Good Kids" by Ada Calhoun.

I brought it home because of the blurb on the dust jacket:
"Everyone wants to do what's best for his or her child, yet the fact is there is no universal 'best.' Whether you co-sleep or Ferberize, whether Junior's mac'n'cheese is dayglo orange or 100 percent organic matters a lot less than other parenting books -- and other parents -- might have you believe. What does matter is providing the the absolute essentials (love, food, shelter) while teaching your little one how to be a kind responsible human being."
I'm about halfway through the book now and am finding it entertaining -- and useful. It's usefulness is its actual lack of advice. Maybe I should call it non-advice. Calhoun talks about what works for her while acknowledging that it may not work for everyone.

The chapter that has really struck me is the one entitled "How Much Negativity is Helpful?" In it, she recounts announcing her pregnancy at a family dinner. A few minutes of enthusiasm from family members was followed by two hours of horrors stories and negativity. "They thought they were being honest and realistic and not sugarcoating everything. They thought they were doing me a favor."

I have been lucky to not be surrounded by Negative Nancies. I have a wonderful group of very supportive friends. I don't believe any of them have "sugarcoated" what it's like to be a parent. I think they realize that I'm going into this with my eyes wide open and there's no need to remind me -- as one of Calhoun's friends did -- "that it's tough, sometimes grueling."

Which takes me back to something she said in the introduction.
"For my friends who want to have kids but are scared, or who are pregnant and are terrified, I wanted to communicate these things: that they can have children without losing their own identity, or their partners, or their enjoyment of the world ... I think, or at least I hope, it will provide a reality check to all that other stuff, a balance and a soothing counterargument to all the hyped You Musts."
If nothing else, at least this book will make me feel better about the stack of DVDs my child will probably watch. Hey, I grew up with Sesame Street and I turned out OK.

1 comment:

  1. I think following your gut, your instinct, is the best thing you can do as a mother. That and rest when necessary. Now it's necessary, so you're doing the right thing. See, you got this mothering thing figured out already! :o)