Since becoming a parent ten months ago, I have been thrown head first into the troubling world of neurosis. Parenthood is immensely joyous, I do not need to spell that out, because those feelings are abundant, obvious and welcomed. The neurosis however, is unwitting, annoying and intrusive. It is a powerful enemy that has the potential to turn the most rational person (me) into a confused, panicked mess (the other me).
I have lived quite a lot of life, 36 years years of it to be precise. I don’t do panic and I don’t do stress. I’m not sure if it is the West Indian in me that finds it hard to muster up these negative emotions or sheer luck that I have been designed this way, but parenthood has without a doubt changed this. Never in my life have I experienced so much self-doubt (is my body really going to let me have this baby?), guilt (am I screwing up his future because I stopped breastfeeding at six months?), a bit more guilt (is the glass of wine I had before I knew I was pregnant the reason he has no teeth at ten months of age?) and worry (is this sweet old woman asking for a hug, really going to kidnap him?).
Love + happiness + neuroticism = parenting
This is one of the reasons why I stopped reading my birth club forums on the Baby Centre website – talk about neurosis overload. For every one sensible post, there follows another twenty crazy lady posts. Had I stayed away earlier, I would not have had the unfortunate experience of learning what V-Day is. Viable day – the achievement of reaching 24 weeks of pregnancy, knowing that if your baby was to be born prematurely it has more chance of surviving and is treated medically as a baby, rather than a foetus. Women were actually posting congratulations to themselves on reaching their V-day. Crazy ladies indeed. And apologies if I have just shared information with you that you has done nothing to enrich your life either.
Even in cutting out much of the crap, the neurosis is still skilled in placing a tight grip on those brain cells. As I have progressed a little more into parenthood, now I don’t feel any surprises when the next wave of irrationality overcomes me – in fact, I welcome it, as experience tells me not to fight it. Just like they say about strong currents, don’t fight them, swim with them, endure them, ride them out and hopefully you will come out of it all right. Knackered maybe. Exhausted perhaps, but alive!
Love + joy + rationality= happy parenting
My latest trauma, is a new car seat for the little man. I am very behind in tackling this subject, if I am honest. His feet are already resting on the chair back of the car. I say resting, I mean pushing/kicking. I’ve been a bit loathe to look into it. Did you see the outrage that Princess Kate got for putting a swaddled baby George in his car seat? That’s my point. I’ve been reading about the benefits of rear facing car seats for babies 10 plus months old right up to the age of four because social media has bought it to my attention. I have read so much that I am now of the mindset that my baby will come to the worst sort of harm if I do not buy one of these very expensive rear facing seats. The guilt creeps in again. I hear the words ‘You can’t put a price on child’s safety,’ the annoying words that annoying people say. Yes, I’m afraid you can put a price on it. It’s called affordability versus absurdity.
I am not, by the way, saying that rear facing seats are absurd. I for one am convinced that they have a brilliant safety record, maybe better than front facing seats, as they suggest but this doesn’t mean front facing seats are unsafe, does it?I’ve read all the statistics about the Scandinavian countries where rear facing seats are compulsory. How marvellous for them! Those Scandies do every right, don’t they?
With everything that I feel about consumerism, I just can’t justify spending three times the price of a normal, perfectly safe car seat to buy a really, really safe rear facing one. Am I bad mother? Am I juggling my baby’s safety? Am I tempting fate? It has gotten so bad that irrationality has got me praying to a God that I don’t even believe in. Or am I capable of fighting the neurosis by following my heart and my perfectly intelligent mind and doing what I think is right? Can I? Will I?
Answers on a postcard please.