Monday, 8 June 2009

Fathers say it doesn't come naturally

I was very lucky that my John did bond quickly with Tal but on the other hand John knew nothing at all - nothing whatsoever about how to even touch a baby. Since he wanted to be a fully active devoted father he had to learn it all from the first basics.
It was terrifying for both of us, for him obviously it took great courage, and for me too as after a few weeks I had to walk out and leave THE BABY in the hands of an apprentice parent.
Well for us it worked. Phew! But men need a lot more preparation than they get.

But let's not sugar the mummy pill too much. We too know the hell of hating the beloved child.

Yes it's easier becoming a mum. That squalling lump came out of ME and my body recognises it as an extended ME. Right on.
But I vividly recall the day I clung to sanity with shaky hands. At one point I went out of the house feeling I was safer around other people. I just couldn't handle the exhaustion. Its effect on me was literally unspeakable, unsayable.

As soon as John got in I said take him, take the baby for Goddess' sake before I do something awful. Like hit him. The unsayable thing, said, right there.
With soothing and a cuppa I was fine within 15 minutes of getting help.
I was lucky there too. John stayed calm, recognised end-of-tether was natural and normal, didn't panic. Told me I was normal, so I rapidly felt I was, and returned to a more comfortable normality.

What would happen if I'd been alone? If the person I turned to panicked?
"Child Protection" -so-called, is dangerous. It criminalises normal reactions. It stops us ALL - mums as well as dads, admitting we ALL get to the edge of madness at some point. Better to admit it, make it known, then work on it. For ALL of us.

Because if we CANNOT admit it for fear of the child stealers - that's when we are left alone spiralling into just that danger that the ghastly Child Protection system supposedly prevents.
So let's look honestly at what being a parent involves. The greatest love, the greatest joy - and the greatest most ghastly horrors as well. Because it rips us open and expands us, bigger, bigger, until we break and go beyond the greatness we ever dreamed we could be. That is the meaning of ultimate love.


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