Tuesday, April 14, 2009

World shut your mouth

One of the crazy pregnancy symptoms I had during the first trimester with BabyX was becoming *very* angry for either no reason, or very little reason. Now generally, I have a low tolerance for stupidity and/or incompetence, so the hormones just made it worse, I think. I spent a lot of time at work in my office with the door closed so I wouldn't be mean to people who didn't really deserve it :)

But the one thing that annoyed me enough to take action was the lack of intelligent conversation on pregnancy-related message boards and websites online. Unlike a technical forum, or even a crafty/business forum like Etsy or 1000 Markets, the pregnancy sites attract a wide cross section of people, a lot of whom seem to be the sort you *don't* want to procreate. Yes, I know that's rude. That's regular me talking, not Angry Pregnant Woman. Deal with it.

A few years ago, I remember a couple of friends from Caltech talking about starting some kind of mailing list for Caltech alumni parents, because Techers are a unique bunch, but also generally a cohesive bunch. At the time, the conversation sounded to me like "blah blah blah kid blah blah baby blah" because I just wasn't ready to think about that stuff.

Of course, when I got pregnant it was like flipping a switch. I now wake up in the middle of the night wondering if we should send BabyX to private school or if public schools around here are good enough. Or whether BabyX should be a vegetarian. Or if BabyX should be allowed to watch TV, and how much. Or any number of things I don't really need to think about for a long time. (Because I'm crazy like that.)

So I reached out to some Caltech friends on Facebook and started a private group to chat about baby and kid-related topics. So far it's been great. It's nice to know that other people are annoyed by the sites out there, and the tone of some of the baby books as well. I've gotten some great recommendations on books to read, baby stuff that is essential (plus what's not) and just general info on what worked for others.

So that's all fine and good, right? In the "community" spirit, TJ and I attended an overview meeting about a local program that exists for new parents to get together and chat about baby stuff. They put you in groups based on where you live and how old your babies are. It all sounded good, so I thought we should get more information by attending this overview.

And wow, was it not my thing. If there was ever anything that underscored my introvert tendencies, that was it. It also confirmed that I do not want to discuss intimate details about my body with complete strangers. While I know I'll have to confront these details eventually with this whole childbearing thing, I still know I'll feel no need to discuss them with anyone except maybe my doctor. Literally 15 minutes into the orientation we got to hear about peoples' breastfeeding issues, cervixes, baby poop, and other things. It was all I could do not to get up out of there and run away screaming.

It also didn't help that TJ was only one of two men in the room and we were the only couple that attended together. Sigh. I know that people need support, and they need to share with others in the same situation, but I was hoping the oversharing would be limited to the *actual* meetings, not the orientation. Some people just like to talk, I guess, and don't realize that others might actually be uncomfortable.

It did confirm that if we are going to participate in this program, we are definitely going to do the couples' one, rather than the moms-only one that meets during the day (which incidentally, annoyed me, because there actually ARE stay at home dads too, duh). I'm hoping that the couples one, and the presence of men, will limit the oversharing of bodily fluid details, and focus more on the parenting aspects.

The facilitator mentioned that the first meeting consists mostly of people sharing their birth stories. OMG, that is about the last thing I want to hear once the ordeal is over. It's *certainly* not something I want to hear now. I'm actually dreading our childbirth and labor course because I am so squicked out about the whole thing. Just drug me and get it over with as soon as possible. I don't need any "miracle of life" here. Better yet, maybe Amazon Fresh could just deliver one BabyX to our house when s/he is ready.

So maybe this support group thing is not for me, and I should just stick to my comfy cozy little Facebook group. We'll see.

And P.S., please don't leave your birth story in the comments. Thank you :)


  1. I was born at a very young age...

  2. That was pretty cute. Sounds like you know yourself well and should stick with your instinct. The vibe I got from my daytime mommy group was just moms wanting to be around people going through the same life changes. I'd be surprised if the couples session avoided body topics. You may just find COUPLES comfortable talking about HER body topics. Amazon Fresh might have some good options :) Good luck!

  3. I am very sympathetic to the "not looking forward to the actual birth" part...

    My boyfriend jokes about "our 7 children" and I say "most of them are going to be adopted, right?"

  4. You're absolutely right that "parents with kids the same age" are not who you are looking for - you want people who are similar to you in some ways.

    I've always looked for other moms who are parenting how I want and strive to - those are the ones who will support you when you fall short and show you alternative ways you might not have thought of to solve your problems. (alternatives you'd actually consider using!)

  5. LOL...agree there are lots of dumb people on those boards. I just have to say though, believe me once you have a kid you will promptly lose that squeamishness over bodily fluids and all that...we all do :).

  6. @Dre - I'm sure I'll be less squeamish about it, but that doesn't make me any more comfortable talking about it to strangers, or wanting to :D

    @Suz - You could be like Angelina Jolie and adopt babies from all over the world. How cool would that be? One from each continent, or something...

    @Stephanie - YES! If I could find that, I'd be all set. In person would be awesome. So when's everyone moving to Seattle?

    @Laura - you're probably right re: couples' group which is why we're not rushing out to register...

    @Craig - hehe.

  7. I actually joined one of those crazy moms groups through my local hospital and it has been awesome.... not because of the in-person discussion which always left me thinking "JUST SHUT UP PEOPLE!" No, we set up a Yahoo group and it has been priceless. I can email 20 people who all have babies the same age as mine and get 10 different responses on how to deal with an issue.

    Over time, I learned who to trust and whose opinion is actually worth something. I've made 3-4 really great friends from the group and we constantly help each other babysit or gripe about being working moms or give each other activity recommendations.

    I'm all for as much support in this parenting thing as possible! You never know who is going to have your answer.

    And I was NEVER EVER ready to hear any of that icky stuff before I had the boys. I took a Bradley class and must have watched 40+ births and every time, I thought it was gross and TMI.

  8. @LauraC - that Yahoo group sounds cool. Maybe the Facebook thing will serve that purpose for me, without the unpleasant personal details from strangers :D

  9. Just wrote you an email. Yeah, you have to watch out for parents groups. A lot of them are really more for the parents to get together and talk about themselves than about parenting. It's hard to find a group or even a couple who share your values -- parenting brings out strong opinions in people like no other! :P

    +1 for finding a virtual support group that meets "online" or via email for general recommendations or as a resource, and I think you'll end up going back to friends whom you trust, are comfortable with, or like being around to talk about the rest of the stuff :)


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