February 6th, 2010


Half Empty, Half Full

Written at the beginning of January. I have trouble deciding an entry's done until it starts to become untrue, in this case partly because discussing an earlier version of it with Ted helped both of us.

When we were pregnant, I didn't grok the asymmetry of fatherhood and motherhood. I knew I had the boobs and would be doing the nursing; I hadn't expected the corollary that Milky would then spend her first two months sacking out in my lap in full-bellied bliss. Usually I enjoyed it; sometimes I didn't, but not enough to move her; either way I became default baby-holder. That means I needed to make arrangements to take a shower or go to the bathroom or get a snack, whereas Ted was still in the world where he could simply announce that he's taking a shower or even just get up and grab the Doritos, like a normal person would.

I resented that, and then because resentment was uncomfortable, I embraced the role instead. I reminded myself that taking care of Littlest is my choice and I could've made other choices. Good as far as it goes, but I'm afraid that our experiences with a newborn will teach us who we are as mother and father, that we'll keep this uneven model of parenthood even when the initial reason for the pattern has disappeared. If I happily stay home with our baby during the day and curl around her at night, then how do I avoid having a disproportionate sense of responsibility for Rebecca when Ted and I are both awake and at home?

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