Be gentle with me. This is my first attempt at Dear So and So. I need to get some things off my chest. And yes, I know most of my irritation probably stems from crappy BBC reporting. Humour me.
Working Mothers do no Harm to Children.
Do you know how much it irritates me to see sentences like this:- “There is no evidence of ill-effects on children’s social and emotional behaviour if their mothers work during the early years” alongside ones like this “girls whose mothers did not work showed more difficulties at age five than those with employed mothers, they said” when further on you have to admit this might have something to do with educational level, ethnicity and family structure too?
I am, I would like to say, very happy for the working mothers, I really am. I’m sure it’s true. I know plenty and they have great, well adjusted children. But a sweeping statement about the children who have been brought up by parents who chose to stay at home gets right up my nose.
Human children are not giraffe babies. They do not emerge blinking at six foot up, plummet to earth head first and then be on their feet and ready to run from a lion 5 minutes later. They are small, soft, can’t feed or walk for themselves and need looking after for really rather a long time. Just because some people choose to make sure they have a parent around for a while does not actually give them issues. My children have always had one of us and yes, they liked the support of a parent for a bit longer than perhaps average but that does not mean they’ve remained clingy and incapable of separation. Mummy ducks wander around and quack and round up their ducklings until they are nearly adults and no one puts them on the at risk register for having an overprotective mother or having separation anxiety.
“And girls whose mothers had not been in the labour force at all were still twice as likely to have behavioural difficulties at age five as those whose mothers had worked throughout.”
Oh bugger off. I bet I could look at that research myself and be snorting with derision inside of 10 minutes. And I bet half the things would be stuff I’m not sure I’d call an issue and half would have endless caveats to explain them.
And I dare say it goes without saying that most of the people who did the research will be working parents and the government are delighted to discover a good reason to ensure less parents stay home with their children.
You know what, mine are perfectly weird, un-average and well adjusted. Thanks.
Not very impressed stay at home mum.
Stress is Passed to Baby in the Womb.
Marvellous. Bet that was written by a man.
Can I just mention how this is unlikely to have helped many women at all, even the ones the article is most focused on. The number of pregnant women utterly unnecessarily stressed out by this is unlikely to be outnumbered by the number of abused women who leave home because of it. IMHO.
Really quite stressed out for 13 years mother of 5, none of whom have massive fight or flight mechanisms and one of whom, given how stressed I was, might at the very least have had the inclination to breathe, had it given him all that extra adrenalin.
Smoking while Pregnant increases Birth Defect Risk.
Dear BBC, this one’s for you.
Don’t use pictures of gorgeous babies with cleft lips to illustrate your “here’s all the terrible things that can happen to deform your baby if you don’t quit” article.
It’s insulting. It’s rude. It isn’t good for children who happen to browse websites and see themselves described as defective and deformed. And it adds endless guilt to the mothers who already wonder why it happened.
Mother of a beautiful child with a cleft lip. (I never smoked.)
Sleeping Position Raises Risk of Stillbirth.
This is a cruddy bit of research. A small group of cases, all questioned after the stillbirth of their child when they’ve been racking their brains to try and work out what “THEY DID WRONG” that made their baby die. Of course they are going to say “maybe I did sleep on my right.” They are consumed with guilt, horror and despair and want to know why it happened.
And even if they did sleep on their right, even if like me, they woke up in labour on their right, do you seriously think they could help it? I tried to sleep on my left every night and my baby hated it. No matter what I did, I couldn’t make him want to be in that position and no matter what I did I always turned in my sleep anyway.
Seriously, do you think it has helped anyone? Are you going to produce some amazing bit of machinery that electrocutes women in their sleep if they turn over? Have you (I sincerely hope you were all men) ever imagined what it feels like to try to bloody sleep at all when 8 months pregnant or sleep on one side all night.
God I hope your wives have twisted your balls off for this one. And you never have to hold them while they sob all night wondering what went wrong and whether it was their fault.
Pig Sick, a mother who has already enough guilt about her dead baby. Thanks.