Thursday, 14 April 2011

They're not just for Easter...

Is it just me that believes Cadbury creme eggs were available all year round in the 70s and 80s? They aren't Easter fayre, are they? Do I have false Cadbury's memory syndrome?

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Friend or foe?

There is an organisation that purports to bring together women who are about to have babies. It sometimes even welcomes the men in their lives, acknowledging that they, too, are about to become parents.
The idea is to create support networks and to educate these fledgling parents by explaining what happens in labour, childbirth and, if you are lucky (which I wasn't) you'd learn how to bathe a newborn, how to change her or him and perhaps get beyond the 'breast is best' brainwashing. Encouragement and guidance = good. Guilt and emotional blackmail = deeply damaging for some women (so: BACK OFF).
This cost around £300. I wish I could have that money back. There is so much, so much, that I could use it for. Even if I were to buy fairy lights and string them about my person, purchase a few bottles of glitter and decorate my face, some new shoes, some chocolate cake, a daily latte... all of these things would be worth more than the five-hour long sessions that peppered my pregnancy. Yes. Someone in their wisdom decided that Sunday afternoon sessions that stretched from midday till 5pm – without a break – would be a good idea. Being pregnant and sitting in one place all day, during the summer, without a chance to walk or eat properly, is really what you want, isn't it...
Anyway, aside from the lack of teaching anything remotely useful, this organisation also failed in its promise of sisterhood bonding. What a surprise that early proximity and the intimacy of the subject matter, which made the seven couples seem to get on, eventually result in bitchiness I've only ever encountered in a playground. One woman claimed in one breath to have been violated by a midwife (she used the phrase, "it was like rape"), and in the next, discussed how she'd get her bits sewn up "so they were just like they used to be" for "her man's pleasure". Nice to share that after one meeting, dear.
The other women in the group ranged from being fairly nice to weirdly competitive – so stupidly competitive that they'd comment negatively, with smug faces, on how much posset (milk) other babies brought up after a feed (erm, they ALL do it). The group existed for about four months once the babies had arrived and then it splintered as alliances based on levels of wine-love and woman-hate were established. My midwife, who became a friend, told me she sees this "all the time". Sad. The effect on me was initially deeply hurtful. Fresh into motherhood and having been ill due to it, I felt alone and confused outside my immediate family. Hormones helped to compound this. However, I did keep a friend from that group and we found common ground beyond our babies and are still in touch, albeit infrequently.
My friends from 'before' were – mainly – as ever, and I love them for it. And I have met some wonderful women since that pseudo-bonding £300 experience (yes, I am bitter about that cash!), who have enriched my life. My child has plenty of fun with their children. I have plenty of fun with them. It's relaxed company, and like the best things in life, is free. Apart from the occasional latte and glass of wine.