Since last time I posted I have welcomed a beautiful new baby boy into the world! He takes up most of my time and energy, as any mum would know. He has also given me new ideas and a fresh outlook on life, so in my few spare moments I have tried to jot down some of my thoughts. You will see these posts coming in the next few weeks.
In other news, on Wednesday 12 October, the Sydney Morning Herald published my article in Heckler. The link is no longer active, so I’ve posted it here for you.
Midwives Deliver a Feast of Options
So, apparently, giving birth to a tiny new life doesn’t automatically instil in you a telepathic, sixth sense, women’s intuition-kind-of-ability to look after it’s needs as well. It would be logical, don’t you think, that a person you have spent nine months incubating could somehow communicate with you on a deep, psychic level, so that you knew instinctively what they needed and wanted at any given moment. Unfortunately, it just isn’t so.
Women, being women and all, just want to help each other and offer advice to those of us naive enough to think we will be able to know what to do when our battered bodies first deliver another human being into this world. Well, I can tell you first hand, you won’t. Even if you do, you don’t.
Enter the midwife. For a few short days she is your best friend, your personal medical encyclopaedia, your number one ally against the gorgeous new crying, pooing, miniature family member you just created. But too much of a good thing is rarely a good thing. Like a flock of hungry vultures the midwives will circle your hospital bed until you are at your most vulnerable, and then slowly, one by one, they will pick away at what’s left of your sense of self determination while you try to stay afloat under all the advice and instruction.
Our health system is a marvellous thing. But, grateful as I am that I live in a country where I can receive great (and free) health care, everyone has their limit as to the amount of differing opinions they can handle.
By the time I left the hospital with my new baby boy, I already had an overstuffed nappy bag full of conflicting advice from medical staff on topics such as when I should change a nappy (after a feed / halfway through a feed), how long to feed him (as long as I want / about 20 minutes / or the best one: “not too long because you’re going to need those nipples to last you a long time and you don’t want to wear them out this early in the picture”), how to fix nipple damage (air dry with breast milk / sit topless in the sun / use lanolin cream), and whether I should drink stout to improve my milk, or avoid alcohol altogether.
It’s a wonder how any first born children have managed to survive to adulthood at all. After all, how can you be sure you’ve picked the right advice from the child-rearing smorgasbord? You can’t, so best to go for the degustation menu just in case.