New Mums Owe Themselves an Apology for Christmas
What was it about the month of May this year that made it a particularly good time for getting busy in the bedroom?
I know so many people due to have babies in the next couple of months; the vast majority in February. Most of my aforementioned baker (bun-in-oven) friends live in Australia where we are of course currently in the process of enduring summer.
Heavily pregnant in the Australian summer ... hmmmm. Not always a pleasant experience. I vividly remember Christmas Day 2003, pregnant and lying on the tiled floor in my parents’ foyer trying desperately to get cool on what I’m sure was the hottest day on earth in history.
In fact, one friend’s doctor actually laughed (true story!) when her due date was revealed, “I hope you’ve got air conditioning!” the doc chortled.
Granted, there’s a good chance that over the next few months, pregnant ladies of the southern hemisphere might be heard apologising to their own bodies for inflicting discomfort, sleepless nights and sweaty waddling at the hottest time of year. Ho Ho Ho Merry Oh-my-aching-back!
It may even be their first cases of mothers’ guilt.
In the nativity story, Mary had her baby (y’know, Jesus) in a barn. Do you think she had a moment there where she apologised profusely to herself for rolling into town on the donkey at a time when all the good obstetricians were skiing in Andorra?
Mothers undoubtedly face sometimes stifling pressure to cover so many bases: the physical, emotional, spiritual ... not to mention the domestic and economic wellbeing of their progeny.
And often, the pressure they put on themselves can be the most disheartening of all.
Inspired by one of my favourite sites, Jezebel, whose writers earlier in the year issued apologies to their bodies in honour of Love Your Body Day, I would like to make amends with myself also.
I want to apologise to myself for the unnecessary crimes I committed against my own humanity and sanity as a new mother:
- I apologise that I let myself feel bad for succumbing to the epidural.
- I regret that I ate so much chocolate when I was breastfeeding. And what I mean by “when I was breastfeeding” is “before, during and following when I was breastfeeding and I’ve no intention to stop.”
- I’m sorry I didn’t do more pelvic floor exercises. But, laughing and sneezing did serve as good reminders to be more disciplined.
- Head, I’m sorry I allowed you to stress about giving the baby a dummy. When he was two, he gave it up as easy as he took it up.
- Body, I’m sorry I deprived you of sex all those months and called you a beached whale. But, in fairness, I also rectified that later ... especially that time my parents took the baby for the weekend. That was kind of fun, wasn’t it ...
- I’m sorry for that time when our little newbie was screaming in Target and I left before I’d done any shopping. I deprived us of some much needed retail therapy and time-out when I should have realised no one else in the shop minded the wailing.
- Dear me, I’m sorry I got so hung up on the domestic chores I needed to get done every day and that I didn’t allow us to just be with the baby more often.
- When that lady came up to me in the street that day with unsolicited tips on a better way to carry an infant, instead of tearfully listening to her and nodding obediently, I’m sorry I didn’t remind us that we were doing a sterling job and the baby was just fine. Most of all, I’m sorry I didn’t tell her to mind her own bloody business.
- Heidi Klum. Jessica Alba. Christina Aguilera. These are not realistic barometers for how a body should look a fortnight after giving birth. My mea culpa!
- Body, I want to apologise for the stretched skin, the agonising labour(s), cracked nipples, ongoing worry, the sleepless nights, the agro and occasional pining for my single self. I want to say to you I’m sorry for the whole sordid, never-ending ordeal.
But then I see my sleeping children and I can’t.