Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oops, I did it again...

So, we've had the scan and our second baby is another girl (yes, that's my pregnancy announcement...). We are delighted. I was convinced that we were having a boy so am still adjusting to the idea of two little girls. But it feels like quite a relief, in the end - we've already got lots of girl clothes (and it will be lovely to re-use some of the clothes we loved Phoebe wearing) and if necessary they can always share a room - it feels very practical.

Second pregnancies are very different to first pregnancies. For me, there's a lot less shock and upset to deal with as this one was planned, so it's much less stressful. Mostly, I feel less ill and when I do feel ill I don't have time to lie on the sofa feeling miserable as Phoebe's not that interested. Having said that, when I'm exhausted I can't just lie on the sofa and have a sleep as Phoebe's... not that interested.

It's not just Phoebe. People are very pleased for us but there's not the same excitement. A first pregnancy is a rite of passage, a transition from being non-parents to being parents. Second time round, you're just increasing your family size. I'm not complaining, just saying it's not worth having a second baby just to relive the attention of the first pregnancy.

I'm much less worried in many ways. I know I can carry a healthy baby, and I don't have time to think about my pregnancy in the same way that I did. I have a much better idea of what it will be like having a newborn - and I know I can survive (though coping with a newborn and an 18-month-old is not, I imagine, going to be fun). I'm more relaxed about getting ready for the baby - at least I was until the 20-week scan - now I know the baby is almost certainly ok I'm making lists and thinking about names etc... But there are new things to think about. Mainly Phoebe. Firstly, what are we going to do with her when I go into labour? Will she be ok? When do I ring whoever is going to look after her and ask them to come and get her? I don't really want her in the house during the early stages when I'm wandering round mooing like a cow. And I certainly don't want to leave it too late (giving birth at home with just Phoebe as a midwife? No thanks!). But then I don't want to call people out on numerous false alarms. And secondly, how is she going to cope with losing our complete and full attention and discovering an interloper in the family? I know millions of people have coped with this and I'm sure we will, but it's the new journey into the unknown...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Why Toby Young is an idiot

I am so rubbish at updating my blog. It isn't likely to get any better either. However...

Toby Young was on PM on Radio 4 today, commenting on the forthcoming changes to maternity leave. He is a father of four and said that most men wouldn't want to take more paternity leave as they were desperate to get back to work. He said he had felt useless at home and that his wife was glad for him to go back to work (if I was married to him I'd be glad for him to go back to work too). This, apparently, is because women intrinsically know what to do with babies, whereas men are too stupid to work it out. Or something.

I had to keep reminding myself that my one-year-old was sitting at the table with me to stop myself shouting "bollocks!" and "bastard!" repeatedly. So women intrinsically know how to look after a baby, do they? I certainly didn't. And it's still guesswork a lot of the time. I hated the first part of my maternity leave - when Phoebe was 5 months old I decided to go back to work earlier than I'd planned because I was so bored. Small babies are really dull. They just cry and need their nappy changing and need feeding. After 6 months they start getting interesting, and by 9 months Phoebe was a joy to be with (sometimes).

This idea some men have they they shouldn't have to care for babies because they find it boring and menial and tedious and they aren't very good at it is predicated on the lie that women find nappy changing fascinating and love walking around patting a small person's back to get wind up (winding a baby is the least rewarding activity ever. Is there no wind coming up because you need to keep going? Or because it's all out? No idea. Better keep going just in case). Seriously, babies are not stimulating company for anyone. That's not based on gender, that's based on having a brain.