Becoming a new mum while trying to maintain traditional values

I have now been a mum for 10 days. After a conversation I had with my dad yesterday, I have felt inspired to share my views on motherhood and womanhood in today’s society.

I was born into Generation Y. Generation Y is still very young, considering I’m one of the older kids in the generation, and I’m only 23. I, however, don’t believe I’m necessarily a typical Generation Y. I don’t see a lot of people my age getting married, settling down and having kids.

My Dad commented that a select number of Generation Y are also Indigo Children, of which he includes me. Not because I have the ability to read minds (I don’t), but because of my spiritual side, and because he thinks I have the ability to change the world. How? Because of my more traditional views.

I honestly believe that feminism has gone too far, and we have severely degraded our society when it comes to child-rearing. Women are led to believe that we can have it all, when it is clear that we can’t. I’m sorry if I’m about to offend anyone, but I do think women need to choose between working-life and having a family. This isn’t just something I have thought about since becoming a mum, either, though the last ten days have taught me just how full-time a job it is to be a mum. My son requires my attention what feels like 24-7. I couldn’t imagine sending him off to childcare just so I can go back to work. That’s probably the most selfish thing I could do.

It severely troubles me when I read articles in magazines and newspapers where women have actively chosen to have a baby, but then have this idea in their mind that they don’t want it to affect their life all that much – so they’ll knock themselves out with drugs and/or opt to have a caesarean section just because they consider it to be more convenient. I’m sorry, but how is it more convenient to take longer to recover from giving birth? Just because you think there’s less pain? I must admit that although I was proud of myself for having an entirely drug-free birth with Doyle, I was somewhat shocked and appalled at what a small percentage of women opted to do it the same way I did. I hadn’t realised how few women went drug free.

A couple of the major compliments I’ve been receiving from acquaintances and total strangers include:
a) How good I look for someone who has just given birth
b) How surprised they are that I’m already out and about with such a small boy (I went out to a party last night, but our first outing was to a shop when he was only 4 days old and just out of hospital)

Health professionals, on the other hand, compliment me on how well Doyle is feeding and developing. He regained his birthweight in only a week. They’re also quite impressed with how easy-going I am.

This easy-going attitude is one of the qualities that makes my dad consider me to be an Indigo Child. I also consider this attitude to be what makes my child so easy to manage. Although I will agree that sometimes there are physical reasons beyond our control that make it impossible for life to go in the way we plan or want it to, I genuinely believe that most of the time things don’t go our way because we’re too worried that they won’t. My first example of this is giving birth.

While I am the first to admit that yes, child birth is painful, I went in to it with a few beliefs:
a) It’s not going to be as bad as what everyone else seems to describe it as
b) It’ll be over in a relatively short space of time and be soon forgotten
c) Women were giving birth long before drugs were invented and they seemed to manage fine; I don’t have any reason to do otherwise
d) Pumping foreign substances into your body (ie drugs) is not the best way to solve a problem
e) I have a fairly high pain threshold, thanks to my mum*
f) Usually my life has a way of working out the way I want it to, and if it doesn’t, there’s usually a reason why, and I accept that

This last point is the strongest belief that I live my life by and it’s very apparent in my day-to-day life. It makes everything I do feel a lot simpler to achieve, even when the task is quite difficult. And I have noticed it rubbing off on how I look after Doyle. He improves with every passing day, and I improve on noticing what he wants and when he wants it. I can tell when he needs a feed; I know he usually only poos when he’s awake and in my arms, and just after he’s been fed; and I know when he just wants a cuddle. I’d hasten to guess that there aren’t that many women who can say that about their babies at only 10 days old. I also shower my son with positive reassurance whenever he does something I’m happy with (which is most of the time), and he seems to respond well to this by continuing to repeat these good things.

It is clear to me that I had my first child at the best possible age I could have. Call me old fashioned, but I think it’s a shame that so many women (and men) are putting off settling down until much later in their lives. I blame feminism for this need of a two-income household in order to survive. And I blame capitalism for our want to own more than we need. I am happy with a two bedroom apartment between myself, my husband, and my son, if that’s all we can afford so we can survive on a single-income.

I’m going to leave this entry with one final comment on a traditional value that I wish was upheld by more women. Breastfeeding in public. Having had my first experience of breastfeeding in public last night seemingly accepted (although I felt like I should approach the person who ran the event to make sure it was okay first, because I was worried that not everyone would share my views that women should be able to breastfeed wherever they like), I am pleased to announce that it should get easier as time goes on. It is somewhat difficult to get your head around actually doing something like this because the general view in the Western World these days seems to be that we should hide everything away behind closed doors. And I guess that’s why my dad thinks I’m going to change the world – I want to bring back traditional values, at least I want to raise my kid(s) by them, because I see it as the only way to raise a good child, rather than the little horrors that people claim teenagers are these days.

* Mind you, I found out afterward that my mum had pethadine and an epidural when she had me, when I’d assumed she didn’t have anything. Mind you her labour with me was twice as long as my labour with Doyle.

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