An SBD rant posted one day late:
Babies in Romance.
Kill me now.
A knife right between the eyes--here, I'll even hold still for you.
My qualifications for bitching on this subject:
I have three children.
I had natural childbirth for all three.
My first labor was 33 hours long (occipital presentation: "Sunny side up")
My first child had colic for four months.
I breastfed all my children past one year.
My infants slept in the bed with us.
I donated my breast milk to neo-natal wards.
I trained as a doula (childbirth coach) and volunteered with midwives in a public hospital where the local inmates were sent to give birth while guarded by gun-toting correctional officers.
I worked with pregnant mares on a breeding ranch for years.
In both of the above cases I have had "water" break on my shoes.
I am a stay-at-home mom.
I ran for the School Board to ensure that my children's education would not be compromised by budget cuts.
I've made at least four tons of homemade play-dough.
Over the years I brought all three of my infants (one at a time) with me to therapists so that I could learn how to battle chronic depression and anxiety and not use their presence in my lives as an excuse not to go to sessions.
I have been thrown up on.
I have been thrown up on by other people's children.
I used cloth diapers for my middle child and washed them myself.
I have sat up all night in an armchair trying to keep a child with an ear infection vertical because the ER doctor cannot see the infection and therefore will not prescribe antibiotics.
I have watched goo leak out of my son's ear after his eardrum ruptured from an undiagnosed ear infection.
I have fought with doctors on behalf of my children.
I have fought with my children.
I have gloried in their triumphs, laughing and sobbing as my daughter plays "Theme from Pirates of the Caribbean" as a flute soloist. (She's performing "Tomorrow" from "Annie" on Friday in the town library. And I have refrained from wringing her neck as she practices. Lord, how I hate "Tomorrow.")
I love my children and I'm proud to be their mother, and sometimes I wear Birkenstocks.
And yet, I do not really enjoy children, even my own children, to the point where my head tilts to the side and my face is overcome with a rosy glow as I gaze upon their innocent faces. I also hated being pregnant. I hurt all over. I was anemic (tired), cranky, nauseated, and leaking breastmilk from about week three. (Don't tell me breast milk comes in after labor--I'm apparently part-Holstein. It was thick like colostrum during pregnancy, but I still needed to change bras daily and smell like yogurt for months.) To my children's continual disappointment, I do not volunteer in the classroom nor do I attend them on field trips. Screaming at a group of children to shut-up does not endear one to their parents--I'd rather not deal with the repercussions.
Therefore, when I pick up a romance, I do not want to be treated to the blond-haired daughter of the heroine who is running away from her love of the hero. (Which Jude Deveraux book was this? He gives her a rose a day until there are bushels of roses, but he kind of forgets to actually propose?)
One day young adorable child wanders into bedroom of hero, crawls up onto the bed and wakes him. He sits up in bed to find her perfectly arranged on his blanket, at the center of the circle made by her freshly laundered skirt. She sticks her finger in her mouth, sucks thoughtfully, and then pulls her gooey finger out to ask, "Are you going to stay here with me and Mommy or ever and ever?"
Meanwhile, Suisan is fantasizing about going after the young gamin-faced child Lizzie-Borden-style.
To me, motherhood is not fulfilling. It doesn't fill me up. It is the single most ego-defying endeavor you can commit to. (Man, I'd like to go take a nap. That would make me feel better. Nope, the kids need a responsible Mom around.) It is ultimately gratifying, and I'm completely commited to the project at hand. I'm proud of myself and I'm proud of my children. I love them, but I don't expect anyone else to be enamoured of them. But it is not instantly fulfilling in that I do not feel better at the end of the day, I do not enjoy watching them on a playground, and I do not feel warmth and contenment ruffle through me as I watch them eat a wholesome sandwich I prepared with my own two hands so that they could have the most nutritional meal possible. I love my children--but caring for them is not an emotional act for me.
Of course, when other people love my children, I love that. But I don't expect it. It is expected, however, that you must fall in love with children in romances as you read about them.
The children in romances are always there to be loved in a soft-focus Hallmark way. Look! She picks flowers! Look! He rides a pony! Ewwwww. Get them off stage now before the farting and the screaming and the fighting begin.
Oh lordy, then there's pregnancy. Never is a woman more fulfilled than when she's puking into a chamber pot, basking in the knowledge that she will bring forth a daughter with the eyes of the hero or a son with the mother's hair. She's ever-connected through the ages to all the women who came before her, bearing the strong men of the Fill-In-The-Blank Clan. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.
So, in summation, I'm working hard enough as it is to take care of my own kids. Please don't burden me with more when I pick up a romance to escape. Thanks.