Saturday, November 21, 2009


Interesting article here about the backlash against overparenting (and the hilarious irony of people taking classes in how not to overthink parenting). I know a lot of the examples they give must be unrepresentative, used to make the article more dramatic, but it's still a little scary. (Apparently the advice columnist Dear Abby suggests taking a photo of your kid before they leave for school every morning, so that if they get abducted you'll be able to show the police what they were wearing that And baby kneepads? ... People are insane.

I mean, everybody has ideas before they become a parent, of what kind of parent they want to be. And I'm sure 90% of people end up doing things they never thought they'd do, for better or worse. I have a fairly clear idea of what kind of a parent I don't want to be, and I really really don't want to be overprotective or clingy. But it's going to mean fighting against some pretty ingrained aspects of my personality -- I'm a worrier -- and I hope I'm strong enough to do that.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Planning . . .

Funny how the baby-making plans tend to affect so many areas of life. And funny how many times a day I'm discussing something with friends or family, and have to bite my tongue before I mention how it affects Project Baby.

I just got a swine flu shot because I have very mild asthma. My mother was surprised that I was so keen to get it; I told her that I just really don't want the flu. But I also feel excited to have one tiny bit of baby preparation out of the way well in advance: if I can get vaccinated now, I don't need to worry about catching it when I'm pregnant.

We've found out that, due to some planned building work, we'll need to move out of our apartment at some point in the next year -- nobody knows when, exactly. It's not the end of the world, though. Much as we love this place, we were always going to have to leave anyway: it's up a lot of stairs, and there's no lift, and no way you could get a pram up and down several times a day, and the landlady, while lovely, isn't keen on babies. A lot depends on the timing, but chances are that when we look for our next home, we'll be looking for somewhere rather more family-friendly.

On a rather more superficial note, Don is going on his stag trip soon, and his friends have decided they should all get their suits for the wedding while they're away. Thing is, he's hoping to lose some weight in the next few months, seeing as excess weight isn't particularly good for fertility. So, the suit may need to be resized before the wedding -- which hopefully won't be too much of a problem.

Meanwhile, I'm having the opposite issue: I'm planning on making myself a sweater, and have been having sizing issues because I'm hoping to get bigger. The pattern doesn't include my actual size, so I can make it a little bit too small, or somewhat too large. Ordinarily I'd go for too small, as I like clingy tops, but... depending how long the sweater takes to finish, I could (fingers crossed) be pregnant just a couple of months later (!). Which means it wouldn't fit for very long. And, fast-forwarding to the hazily imagined postpartum future, I'm still going to be bigger than I am now, for a while at least; maybe forever. It feels very weird to be actually planning around this now, but thinking about it, it actually makes sense. I don't want to make this to fit pre-pregnant me, and then get pregnant and find I can't fit into it again until 2012. So... the bigger size it is.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday breakfast

This morning we went to a local restaurant for a leisurely yuppie breakfast. For some reason, this particular restaurant is always full of pregnant women and babies... this time, there were so many we couldn't help laughing. It was like going to a creche that happened to serve food. Not that we minded! The babies were mostly pretty well-behaved, and awfully cute.

Couldn't help feeling a little jealous, too.

Friday, November 13, 2009

On waiting until marriage

Waiting to start TTC, that is... not the other kind of "waiting". That ship has sailed.

I was born in the mid-1980s. Ireland was a very different country in those days. My parents were in a relationship but were not yet married, because my mother was still married to her first husband (divorce was not made legal in Ireland until much later). As a result, my mother was asked at her first prenatal check-up if she would be keeping me, and when the time came for me to be born, she was whisked off to a separate ward for unmarried mothers. Everyone else there was in their teens, and she was the only woman who had any visitors (i.e. my father). All the others were alone the whole time, without their families -- or, you know, the fathers of their babies -- to support them. It seemed ridiculous to my parents, but nobody else seemed to question any of this: single mothers needed to be kept away from the respectable married women, and if their families and boyfriends had decided to abandon them, who could blame them?

Without wanting to sound super-dramatic, I always felt a bit different growing up. The vast majority of kids I knew came from families where the parents were married, and nobody had half-siblings. Families in books and on TV were the same: everybody's parents were married, and family relationships were simple and straightforward. When I explained my family to other children, they tended to think we were a bit weird; the teachers at my primary school sometimes acted vaguely sceptical that my father was, in fact, my father (even though we look very alike and have the same surname); even registering my birth was a ridiculous administrative hoop-jump because the system just wasn't set up for this kind of situation.

It was hardly traumatic -- this is not the stuff of misery memoirs -- but many (most?) children like to feel that they fit in. I didn't particularly enjoy being different. As an adult, I know that every family is "different" in one way or another, but that really didn't occur to me then, and somehow I still have it in my head that a "standard" family is one where the parents are married, right from the start. And even though we're not particularly mainstream people, this is one area where I'd rather do the mainstream thing. It's not a dealbreaker -- if I found out I was pregnant today, I would be delighted -- but the fact is: I want to be married before getting pregnant.

Ireland has changed a great deal since I was born. My (half-)sister gave birth just a few years after I was born, and there was no talk of her giving up her baby, or of a separate ward for unmarried mothers. My mother got her divorce and married my father years ago. Lots of women raise children alone, and lots of couples have families without getting married, for whatever reason. It's really not remarkable any more. And yet... sometimes the ideas we pick up as children are awfully enduring. I felt embarrassed at having a non-standard family set-up when I was little, and it isn't what I want for myself, my fiancé, or my children. Does that signify a lack of courage on my part, or does it mean that I'm stuck in the past? I don't know.

What I do know is that I am very glad this country has changed so much. We are very far from a perfect society, but we are more accepting than we were, and this is most definitely a good thing. I sincerely hope children today are growing up with a better understanding of the diversity of family life, and how every family is different, including their own, and that's ok. It sounds cheesy and obvious to adult ears, but children don't automatically know these things. I'll be sure to tell mine.

The obligatory intro post

Who are you?

We're a couple in our twenties who have been together nearly two years and are getting married in six months' time. We have known for a long time that we want to have children together, and have decided to start trying to conceive pretty much as soon as we're married. 

Why are you blogging about this?

Planning a family is a major preoccupation for us. Not a day goes by that we don't talk about it in one way or another. And yet we don't feel 100% comfortable telling our friends and families about our plans in any detail. Partly because we want them to be at least vaguely surprised when we finally have good news, partly because we don't necessarily want them to know if we have trouble getting to that point, and partly because "trying for a baby" basically means "having unprotected sex", and honestly? We doubt our friends and families want to be told about that.

So this blog is an outlet. It's a way for us to express ourselves anonymously about the process of getting ready for a baby, to talk openly about what excites us, what confuses us and what frustrates us, and to chronicle our journey towards parenthood. Only, you know, not as pretentious as that sounds.

Are your names really Don and Betty?

Uh, no. Don and Betty Draper are two of the main characters from Mad Men, although (hopefully) our relationship is nothing like theirs. It's a good show. You should check it out.