Something away from running and injuries… I struggled whether to post this or not. I really hope I don’t offend anyone, that’s not my intention. This is purely the way I see the world – my interpretation with my ignorance and limited knowledge.
I’m 26 years old, married and have a lovely little house. My husband, Ben, and I live quite a harmonious life with our mischievously little furball dog, Alfie. Ben and I have been married for over two years now, living together for over three years… People are starting to ask The Question and/or give me the suspicious looks.
Many of my friends got married and then had kids quite soon afterwards. It’s quite logical and very common. Marriage then kids. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. But I’m fully dragging my feet on this one.
I feel genuine fear when I think about looking after a baby. I don’t look at babies as bundles of adorable joy-filled darlings. I look at them in fear. I’m awkward around them. I avoid contact. I feel I need to do something and probably utter something ridiculously obvious (“what small hands!”) and maybe gently poke its cheek or pat its head. My flight response has been fully activated and I’m ready to get the hell outta there.
Ben used to be the same but the traitor has slowly moved over to the Dark Side. He seems more natural and normal around babies. Hell, he even looks like he’s comfortable and happy! When did this happen?
I will fully admit I truly know nothing about having a baby – the pregnancy, the birth and the, er, ‘rearing’. I can only go by what people have told me and what I’ve read in blogs, social media and books. To be honest, it all sounds a bit crap. And if Facebook and Twitter are anything to go by, this doesn’t really stop until they’re 18. And not even then.
This post is probably very naive and very ignorant so I truly hope I don’t offend anyone. Remember: I really know nothing apart from what I’ve seen and heard. My experience is highly limited.
Basically it sucks to be a woman. Firstly, you have to get pregnant. OK you can say you’re growing life inside you and how beautiful the whole experience is. Sure, sure. But let’s be real. You get fat, you get uncomfortable and a lot of bodily functions are either disrupted, abused or you just fully lose control of them. And running? Of course loads of people do manage to run through their pregnancy (don’t even get me started on the #fitpregnancy), but the reality is not many can maintain it. And those who can are running less, running slower and it’s usually not particularly comfortable. And remember the loss of control on bodily functions? Yeah. Putting it in the words of one of my male running friend: you have an 18 month long injury.
As a man you are UNAFFECTED. Men 1 Women 0
Then the whole birthing experience. I’ve heard the gory details. Don’t try and convince me it’s a beautiful and magical experience. Sweaty, bloody, fluid-y, painful, lonnnnnnnnng, poopy, muscus pluggy…
And the man? Maybe a bit sleep-deprived and maybe his hand hurts a bit from all the squeezing. Perhaps he now sees his loved one in a whole new maternal and Amazonian light. But still, he’s pretty unscathed I’d say. Men 2 Women 0
Then breastfeeding your new micro-human. Engorged boobs, huge painful nipples and random leakages. Latching difficulties, despair and distress at not being able to feed your baby. God forbid you even consider formula! The worry about how people will react if you breastfeed in public, or what people will say if you don’t breastfeed at all.
You hand your partner the baby and a bottle (either full of *gasp* formula or painfully pumped out of you). What’s the worst that can happen? The baby spits up? Men 3 Women 0
Sleepless nights. They say for the first six weeks you’re literally on autopilot. You’re lucky if you get two hour stretches. You’re not at work so you get a lie-in right? Right?? Apparently not. And apparently when people say “grab sleep when you’re baby sleep” they don’t realise you also need to shower and eat. Of course men go through this too – you’re a tag teaming duo of baby feeding/changing super heroes! Until he goes back to work TWO WEEKS later. Then you’re on your own. I can understand this. I’m not saying men are selfish rascals but if you’re breastfeeding then I imagine it’s pretty tricky for the woman to not be involved at some point. Men 4 Women 0
Body image and general fitness. I would like to meet the woman who is not daunted by the idea of gaining weight and the losing of a fitness that she has meticulously built up. Weight gain, wider hips, stretch marks, saggy tummies…all natural of course, but changing your body completely from what it was before. Running is slower and harder, and biomechanically you’re different and more injury-prone (is that even possible for me??). Things are not the same as they were before.
I think you can see this could go on a bit. And I don’t want to appear like a man-hating child-hating demon of a woman, but so far from what I’m aware of, being the female in the child-having scenario is no joke.
It honestly doesn’t appeal to me right now. I used to wonder if it ever would. But slowly I am coming round to the idea. I’m sure there are moments of joy and many priceless experiences but because I’m not an innately child-loving person I struggle to see the good bits beyond the truly horrific things I read. I’m sure I’ll be overcome with
evolutionary triggered hormones love for our child and never regret it for a moment…(my fingers are firmly crossed!). But at the moment, I’m quite happy with just Alfie, thank you very much.
Parents, convince me otherwise! What are the good bits?
Have a moan: what are the tough bits? What have I missed?