Both our children were born in January – something I don’t recommend, if you have any control over it. With Sam, our first, the winter seemed especially cold and dark. By the time he entered the world I’d been in labor for 31 hours, mostly without food or sleep. Starting from this deficit, things just went downhill. I expected to be energized by the smell of a baby, and instead I was just exhausted.
In Sam’s first weeks, I dreaded the point in the day when the light began to fade. It reminded me that night was coming again, and I’d be up for a lot of it. And, even though Cliff was right there and more than willing to do anything to help, I felt incredibly alone. None of my friends had ever described feeling that way about new parenthood before.
That’s why I wish I’d discovered this video five years ago.
Last night I found that Netflix streaming has TED Talks gathered in collections by topic. TED Talks, for those of you that are missing out on one of my favorite things ever, are short videos of brilliant people sharing their best ideas.
One of the collections was called Sex, Secrets & Love. It featured videos from people we’ve mentioned here before, like Brene Brown (see Cutting Yourself Some Slack While Still Believing You Can Change) and Bonk author Mary Roach (see Lab Rats, Polyester Pants, and Your Sex Life). Another video featured Babble founders Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman. And it’s this video that you MUST watch. Now.
Who should watch this video? Any couple that has kids – especially if you’re still in the first five years of parenting. Or if you’re expecting. Or if you’re thinking about becoming expecting. Perhaps you should watch this even if you feel pretty certain you don’t want to have kids, but love your friends and family members who do have children. And, if you’re out of those first five years of parenting but you want to emotionally process what those first years were like, then it can’t hurt to watch this either.
Here’s the link: Let’s Talk Parenting Taboos
Why is this important? Griscom and Volkman speak honestly – very honestly – about some of the low points in parenting. Like the fact that you might not feel a Mack Truck’s worth of love hit you when the doctor (or midwife, as in my case) puts that slimey baby in your hands. And that 6 p.m. is The. Worst. Time. Of. The. Day. Hands down. Ever. And that you can feel pretty lonely and isolated – even from your partner – in those first weeks/months/years of parenting. Volkman also shares personal insights into the pain of a miscarriage.
We (in the collective sense – the wider community) don’t talk about this stuff enough. I needed to hear it years ago, and maybe you need to hear it now. Watch the video.