It’s aliiiiiiiive!

I gained a kilo and a half this week (“normal” weekly weight gain is meant to be an average of around half a kilo, but I guess my body is trying to catch up from losing seven kilos). The baby was very clearly growing yesterday, as I felt hungry every hour and had to eat almost constantly (which is really annoying since I’m still nauseous).

Under the heading “Pregnancy tales of woe” I drank over a litre of off milk this week due to the assumption that it tasted funny due to pregnancy wackiness (it was well within its use by date; I later discovered there was an issue with the delivery truck). That, combined with the return of a nearby-but-not-actually-in-my-house student this week means I’ll be putting off my attempt to reduce the amount of ondansetron (zofran) that I’m taking.

The good news is that, on Sunday night just after CJ fell asleep, I think I felt Mini-Me move for the first time. It was as gentle as the touch of a hand – but nausea and cramps don’t feel like that. I didn’t wake up CJ (it’s not like he’d be able to feel anything anytime soon), but just lay still feeling incredibly special.

Here’s a random picture of a sunset from a day or two ago, so this entry isn’t all text:


I’ve been unable to read scary books or watch scary TV (the slightest tension makes me sicker – one of the curses of having a great imagination + being sick), so I’ve been reading baby and child-raising books (which are sometimes even scarier, but oh well). There are some aspects of parenthood that I am dead set against for various reasons. Here’s a selection of five.

1. Home births.

If the “Worst-case scenario survival handbook” taught me anything, it’s that birth is usually a largely automatic process. Unfortunately, the key word is “usually”. One of my best friends had her first baby just under a year ago. Throughout her pregnancy, her blood pressure was normal. During labour, it shot up. She had pre-eclampsia, and her organs began to shut down. Her baby was hastily removed, and my friend went into surgery and was basically dead to the world for three days.

Since she was at a birthing centre, the reaction to her life-threatening condition was to put her in the lift – within minutes, she was with doctors and surgeons. Two weeks later, she and the baby were fine (although three days on the bottle meant the little one was unable to adjust to breast feeding). If she’d had a home birth, the reaction would be to call an ambulance. She would probably have died en route.

When things go wrong during labour, they go wrong quickly. Sometimes the result is the loss of both mother and baby. This is why I am against home births.

2. Co-sleeping (that is, having the baby sleep in the same bed as one or both parents).

This is a SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) risk for numerous reasons. Heavy sleepers can crush their babies (far more likely after taking drugs or having a few drinks), or the baby can get stuck or suffocated by the bedding. Like #1, this is a no-brainer that will probably one day be made illegal.

3. Lying about Santa.

The idea of a heartfelt belief in Santa being a vital part of childhood means that childhood must also include the growing realisation that every trusted adult in your life has been lying to you for years. That’s not a realisation I want my children to go through. My own parents always said that Santa was “a game we play at Christmas” and that never posed the slightest problem for me or my siblings. It also meant we didn’t give away any secrets to other kids.

PS Also, Santa is just scary for many little ones – he is, after all, a strange man whose face is almost entirely concealed )by artificial means). Santa photos are definitely not worth tears and trauma. 

4. Raising gender-neutral children.

Until relatively recently, my nephew’s favourite colour was pink. None of his extended family ever “corrected” him. That’s stupid. But they did dress him in male clothing and refer to him as “he/him/handsome/a boy”. We all know that young babies are impossible to recognise as male or female (leading to many a fractional pause as a friend describes the infant as either handsome or beautiful based on the parent’s timely advice), and it makes very little difference outside of a nappy.

Except that it does. Countless psychological studies show that we treat children differently based on gender from the first hour of life (girls are cuddled more, boys are bounced more roughly, etc). Some parents go to extreme lengths to try and prevent this different behaviour from touching their child. Since our society is so obsessed with gender (it’s often the first thing we notice about new people, for example) I think it’s best to let my kids have that socialising effect from the very start – and then let them choose when and where to defy it.

And yes, I’ll be skipping that awkward baby moment by dressing my kid in gender-specific colours most of the time. Mostly because gender is very strongly linked to attractiveness, and I want my child to be treated as beautiful/handsome as much as possible. Also, at a certain age children feel that their clothing decides their gender, so it becomes desperately important for them to dress to exaggerate their gender. It’s cruel not to let them do so.

I don’t see any connection between childhood gender-based behaviour (or the opposite) and homosexuality.

5. Peer pressure.

Parents in particular often think of peer pressure as extremely harmful – linking it immediately with drugs, binge drinking, teen hatred, and lots of underage sex. Yes; there certainly is a link. But peer pressure also helps our kids shower regularly, hold conversations that other teens find interesting, and feel strongly that kicking a dog is a bad thing. So peer pressure actually has a lot of value – it’s what holds society together, and I wish I’d followed the crowd a bit more when I was young.

What child-rearing or birthing techniques do you find noticeably nutty or downright harmful? (Please stay polite.)

Published by Felicity Banks Books

I write books (mainly adventure fantasy for kids and young adults), real-time twittertales, and a blog of Daily Awesomeness. @Louise_Curtis_ and My fantasy ebook is on sale at

6 thoughts on “It’s aliiiiiiiive!

  1. Making the house quiet when it’s sleep time; If it ‘s always quiet when bub goes to sleep, it always HAVE to be quiet for them to go to sleep. Do normal things, so they get used to it! (vacuuming might be one to avoid though….)

    Likewise gushing over every little gurgle they make – if you fuss over them every time they make a noise, they will come to expect and demand it. By all means be attentive (and sympathetic when older) but if they’re just gurgling to themselves in the cot when you put them down for a sleep, let them be!

    Of course, the caviat is that none of this might work for you 🙂


    1. Stuart: Who cares if it works for me? It’s still interesting to hear. So far, I agree with everything you’ve said. The reality, of course, may well be a different matter.

  2. We never let Santa take all the credit for bringing the presents – heck no, money was too hard to come by in those days! We used to say that we organised the presents – and paid for them – so that the boys would know there were limits on what they could expect. I suppose we were implying that we were in contact with the man in red somehow but that it was the parents who had oversight of Christmas presents.

    1. Barbara: Well, I know none of us ever asked for a pony. That advantage of honesty hadn’t even occured to me.

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