There are few things that annoy me quite as much as online banking with HSBC and their stupid keypad and ridiculous amount of security questions. (That’s probably another blog post for another day) But self-proclaimed childcare gurus? They are way up there. In fact, just the very title makes my teeth itch.
The divorced and childless ‘parenting expert’ that is Gina Ford has proclaimed that new mothers shouldn’t say no to sex, even if they are not ready. What the what?! I should learn not to read this crap I really really should but I just can’t help myself. Her latest gem being that we should be ready to rekindle the passion within four to six weeks of popping out a sproglet. This of course from a woman who has never popped out a sproglet.
This whole thing gives me The Rage like you wouldn’t believe.
First up, I should be quite clear in saying that I am not a believer in the whole baby manual thing full stop. For starters, I always think that the fact that a baby can’t read is quite a stumbling block. How are they supposed to know what they should and shouldn’t do and at what time if they can’t read? Plus, I prefer my babies to be, well, babies. I don’t want to train them like a well behaved dog. In my experience, that’s not quite how babies work. Newborn babies aren’t very good at clock watching either I find so I struggle to see how they can possibly fit within such a rigid routine without knowing what time it is. But yet people seem to buy these books by the droves. Some claim to have great success with them. Me? I would never consider them. Nobody knows my baby better than me. But hey, horses for courses and all that. No two babies are ever the same and what works for one, won’t necessarily work for another. I know that having had four of my own. Anyway, I digress.
This latest gem from Gina Ford suggests that we hop back in the saddle within weeks of giving birth as men can often feel emotionally closed off. It’s suggested that you should ‘grin and bear it’ even if you don’t feel ready. I’m sorry but aren’t new mothers under enough pressure? Having spent the last nine months carrying then giving birth to a baby and having to come to terms with the physical and emotional changes that all of this brings, can we not leave it to her to decide just when the time is right? Don’t get me wrong, I know for some women things in the bedroom do get straight back on track. Lucky them I say! Hell, I had a friend who found out that she was pregnant again at her six week post natal check up. But just the very suggestion that there should be a ‘guideline’ for such a hugely personal step is quite simply mind boggling to me.
Personally, I was never physically ready this early on let alone emotionally. Besides which, I think it is sadly misguided to think that the only way to make your partner feel emotionally included is to have sex with him. Whilst in my mind sex is a huge (and let’s face it, bloody marvellous) part of a loving relationship, I’m sorry but right after giving birth, it is not the be all and end all. You just can’t put a time limit on some things and this is most definitely one of them. And of course, any caring partner will understand this. There are so many other ways to feel emotionally close without having sex that you don’t necessarily want, surely? I couldn’t honestly think of anything worse than having sex before you felt physically or indeed emotionally ready for that side of your relationship to return. Why is it that from the very second a woman becomes pregnant, all of a sudden her body somehow becomes open to public discussion? Can’t she decide for herself when she is ready? And don’t get me started on the whole ‘grin and bear it’ aspect. Oh. My. Godfathers. What kind of man would want to have sex with his partner who was grinning and bearing it anyway?
I must admit that the cynic in me believes that sometimes such controversial advice is doled out for controversy’s sake. I really shouldn’t let it wind me up quite as much as it does. But I can’t help myself. This time I just think that even by Gina Ford’s standards, she has gone too far. I can’t help but think of some poor new mother who turns to one of these bloody books for help and ends up being giving this most ridiculous advise under the guise of being from some sort of ‘expert’. Give. Me. Strength.
Rant over. For now. Or at least until the next guilt-inducing book hits the shelves.