Before we married, CJ and I talked about a lot of things – how we’d run our finances, how many children we wanted to have, where we wanted to live, whether we planned to buy a house one day, and so on. We had similar views on most things, but I also observed that we had very different tidiness levels/expectations.
For that reason, we chose to rent a two-bedroom flat. . . so CJ had a place to be messy (and to play on the internet to his ADD heart’s content). That made a huge difference to both our stress levels. I also communicated to him in no uncertain terms that leaving his stuff everywhere makes me crazy – and set aside a drawer in our living room so that when he forgets I can simply put whatever-it-is “away” and he knows where to find it.
CJ listened to what I was saying, and our house is genuinely always tidy – except of course for the study (he picked up a bag there the other day, and it was attached to the wall with spider webs). CJ quite enjoys having a tidy living area, and my anxiety disorder is better than it’s ever been because I feel safe and loved.
I’m more than six months pregnant now, so I’ve just begun talking to friends and family about how they expect to be treated when I’m in labour and when Louisette is first brought into the world. Some people are very easy to predict – they really don’t care. Others would be offended if I didn’t call them at the first sign of real contractions. Still others will probably surprise me.
When my sister was in labour, she had a minor complication that caused a six-hour ominous silence in news. Although we knew something was wrong, the hospital refused to tell us what it was. For this reason, my sister will be my liaison to the outside world when I’m in labour, so (a) No-one is panicking, wondering if Louisette and I have died, and (b) I don’t have to worry about other people while I’m. . . busy (did I mention I have an anxiety disorder?)
I talked to my mum-in-law yesterday. She is a very respectful person, and quite self-contained, so my guess was that she’d need very few updates, and would be happy to wait several hours after birth before meeting Louisette (the birthing centre recommends at least two hours before any visitors are allowed in – so the baby has heaps of parental skin-to-skin contact without obscure relations/workmates wandering in on a topless and exhausted new mum). I was correct in my guesses, but she did have one request: She’d like CJ to phone her.
To which I said: Duh! Of course she would! And it’s so easy for me to make her happy without breaching my own personal space at all.
One of the great things about both my mum and my mum-in-law is that they know what they want and they are able to communicate it clearly. This is the best gift a parent can give to their grown-up children. It prevents an ocean of misunderstanding and pain.
Incidentally, I do plan to blog about labour while it’s happening (at least in the early stages), and to update pretty soon after birth (that’ll be delegated to my sister to do, possibly even with a photo of Louisette). BUT for at least ONE WEEK after Louisette is born I will refuse to receive visitors or even take phone calls. The Louisette show will be STRICTLY invitation only. People who know me can email to ask permission to come over, and I’ll respond when I feel like it.
This is mostly because I will be tired, sore, hormonal, and often naked. I’m sure you understand 🙂