I’m reading “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” compiled by La Leche League. My sister attended their meetings and speaks highly of them, but did admit they were a bit fanatical in their passion for breastfeeding. I see what she was saying after reading the book!
Now, I’m going to preface this by saying: I know that I probably don’t need to read a book about breastfeeding to figure out how to do it. I know I over think things. I know that I really don’t need to worry or think about a lot of stuff I think about because gosh, once the baby is here it will all work itself out. I’ve been having people tell me that for a few months now, and while I love you all, I KNOW. However, just because I *know* that it will all work itself out doesn’t mean that I don’t still feel the need to read, to contemplate, and to discuss. This is part of who I am. I read, I obsess, I contemplate and I think. To deny myself that at one of the most critical points in my life (the journey to motherhood) would be a mistake. I take what I read with the appropriate grain of salt (and contemplation, read below) and have a husband willing to tell me when I’m going too far. So, let me have my obsession 🙂
Sorry. Off my soapbox.
I got stuck reading at a point where they were addressing common “myths” that they were “correcting.”
The “myth”: You were a wife before you were a mother, so your husband should come before your children.
This was their response: “This is very misleading. It isn’t fair to put your husband and children in competition with each other for your time and affection. Whoever has the greatest need for love and attention at the time receives it. With maturity, gratification of want can be postponed for a time.”
I have so many thoughts that go through my mind when I read that. The first is “that’s not a fair wording – my husband comes before my children because he is my mate, not because I was a wife first and a mother second” and the second thought is “I wonder how many husbands suffered because of this advice, desperately needing reassurance from their wives and being ignored because they were supposed to be mature?” and the third is “am I going to become that person when I have a child?”
I guess this all wouldn’t have bothered me so much if the rest of the chapter had been anything other than a mantra of “If you don’t let your children sleep in your bed for the first 1.5 years of life then you’re crappy and selfish parents.”
I understand that when you are breastfeeding a baby it’s much easier to have them in bed with you, and I’m not saying that I won’t be the first one in line to do that (especially in those first few weeks!!). But I’ve seen too many people’s relationships suffer because of a kid that won’t get out of the parents bed. Justin and I decided long ago that we would limit our child’s allowance in our bed (with the exception of breastfeeding) because that was a place that was decidedly ours and not our child’s. Neither one of us grew up sleeping in our parents beds and neither of us felt neglected because of it. I’m happy with that decision because we’re making a decision together to preserve a small portion of our life before baby that we can escape to while the little one sleeps. Even if we just lay in bed and talk about how crazy parenthood is, we’re still spending time together in a way that promotes intimacy between us.
I know that it’s easy to let yourself get into the mindset of “must.take.care.of.baby” and neglect the rest of your life. I know that caring for an infant is going to take the most time and energy out of my day. And while that baby is going to have the “greatest [obvious] need for love and attention” that doesn’t give me the excuse to neglect my husband. And for the record, I’m not talking about sex. But I know that we will need time together, just the two of us, to remind ourselves that we really are each others best friend and companion.
I don’t want to push my husband to the side because I’m overwhelmed with motherhood. And I know that eventually things work out, but I don’t want my marriage to suffer in the meantime.
I guess it is good I have a husband who is accepting of my crazy. I’m sure that if we completely rethink our views when Benjamin arrives we’ll be exactly like half the other parents who said “I’ll never do this or that” just to turn around and do that particular thing. As long as we can find some way to be parents as well as husband and wife I think we’ll be okay. It won’t make us failures, it will make us teachable. Right? And that’s not such a bad thing.
But I do appreciate the opinions, like La Leche League, that challenge where I stand on things now. Even if the end result is just a firmer conviction that the decisions I have made are the ones I want to try and stick with. It still gives me things to think about and contemplate, and in the end I hope I walk away a more knowledgeable person because of my reading.