Thursday, 6 January 2011

Parenting Taboos

I came across this great video by husband and wife team Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman where they discuss four taboos of parenting. As the founders of Babble, a website for parents that aims to present the honest, real side to parenting and being parents themselves to three boys, they believe in telling it how it is. The video lasts for about 15 mins but I'd really recommend you watch it when you have a moment. It's very relatable, humourous and touching.

Their four 'taboos' that they talk about as are follows:

1) You can't say you didn't fall in love with your baby in the first minute. Rufus explains from a father's perspective the immense affection he felt at the birth of their first newborn but explains that it was very different to the love he feels for him now, several years on. It's not a simple case of either being in love or not  but for some, the love you feel for your child evolves by means of a process.

2) You can't talk about how lonely having a baby can be. From the mother's view this time, Alisa talks about the isolation she was shocked to feel once she was at home with her new baby. When she asked her sister (a mother of 3) why she hadn't told her she'd feel like this, her sister told her that it wasn't something you wanted to tell a first time mum. Rufus and Alisa think it's exactly what you should tell a woman who's about to have her first child!

3) You can't talk about your miscarriage. Alisa describes her feelings after a miscarriage when they were trying for baby number 2 and the sense of shame and embarassment she felt, as if she had failed to achieve what she was genetically made to do. Once she started telling people about it, she was surprised to hear all the similar experiences from so many people around her and as she puts it, "I felt like I'd happened upon a secret society of women that I now was a part of". She describes miscarriage as an 'invisible loss'.

4). You can't say your "average happiness" has declined. We've all seen the articles about parents being less happy than their non-child bearing peers and indeed there's a lot of hard work and difficult situations to deal with as a parent. Of course, those reports don't take into account the moment to moment experiences. Parenting is very much about the highs and lows and in the midst of the tough challenges that parenthood presents, there's  the reward of smiles, speech, new skills acquired and tender moments.

I enjoyed the refreshing honesty and openess in this video. As parents, we can probably all come up with some of our own 'parenting taboos'. I'd love to hear some of yours in the comments!


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  1. I loved this clip- it really is refreshing to hear and so true! I think there are so many taboos, but like the happiness factor they talk about- ups and downs people only talk about the "ups".

    My example is the kids being home from school for two weeks over the Christmas holiday. So many friends on facebook were writing how sad they were that school was stating back up- really?! They must have had husbands that had the time off also and could help entertain the kiddos!! We had so much fun and did a lot of memorable things, but I also barely had a moment without my two children- that can be draining! It's not that I did not enjoy the special time we had, but it sure was nice to go the store by myself yesterday!

    And you know what is funny- I almost just deleted this because I already feel guilty and like a bad mom for writing it!

  2. I've got a good one for you: you cannot talk about how much breastfeeding makes your breast sag! lol

  3. Thanks for your comments ladies!

    Tiffany - I think a lot of us can relate to what you've said and you definitely mustn't feel like a bad mom! I was almost dreading my husband going back to work after the long Christmas break because it had been so nice having an extra pair of hands to help out with our son and the thought of being back on my own with him for a whole week felt daunting. Thankfully, the week turned out a lot better than I had anticipated.

  4. I think it's great that we're finally talking about these things :)

    Post-natal depression (and indeed depression in general) is still something which we're not good at talking about; which is terrible as so many suffer from it.

    Excellent post lovely x

  5. Thanks Lucy!
    Post-natal depression is a great one to add and like you say, is not something people talk about very much despite it being so common.


Thank you for reading. I'd love to have your comments and thoughts!