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The pseudo-science of babies to concerned future parents The pseudo-science of babies to concerned future parents
by Joseph Gatt
2021-01-21 11:24:35
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Maybe you're in a stable relationship. Or you're engaged. Or just got married. Or are just considering having children at some point.

Legend and myths have it that babies “don't let you sleep” and are “tough to handle” and “cost a lot of money.” More importantly, most future parents have no idea what babies involve.

So here are a few myths busted, or my two cents on the topic. Notes from a friend to a friend over coffee (or tea, or juice, or water).  

Myth: I have no idea how to raise a baby.

babis0001_400Reality: if the cro-magnons could do it, if chimpanzees can do it, you can do it.

In today's world in 2020, we have doctors and pediatricians who will pretty much guide you through raising your child. Plus your parents or other parents who have experience raising children.

Your OB/GYN will guide you through the pregnancy, and will let you know what to do to make your pregnancy a smooth pregnancy. Maybe you're eating the wrong food or some kind of habit of yours is harming your pregnancy. Your doctor has dealt with thousands of pregnancies, and should give you all the advice you need. Plus you get to ask him/her questions.

After giving birth, again doctors will come in handy and you will have to check in at the hospital regularly to make sure the baby has everything in check. Usually, if the baby cries ceaselessly or seems to have trouble breathing, that's when you need to run to the hospital.

Many doctors will also give you their phone numbers and will allow you to call if you need to ask questions. So no worries.

Myth: Parents don't get to sleep when they have to raise a baby.

Think of it this way. When there's a baby in the house, you don't get much sleep. But it's not insomnia (although some parents with post-partum depression do suffer from insomnia).

Truth is, when they're a baby in the house, you will have to go from “sleeping 8 hours straight” to “taking four naps a day.”

Babies tend to sleep a lot but also wake up at random hours. So you'll be napping when the baby's sleeping, and waking up to feed/change/hold the baby.

Myth: Babies are a full-time job and require incredible amounts of energy.

Reality: the truth about babies is they grow so fast. Babies are not factory work where you repeat the same movements day in and day out.

Babies grow every day, and their needs change every day. So every day will be different. Not a repetitive job.

Myth: Babies give post-partum depression

Reality: some parents (mostly mothers, in some cases fathers) suffer from post-partum depression. Post-partum depression usually involves high adrenaline levels among parents, adrenaline levels so high that they can't fall asleep, get frequent panic attacks, headaches, paranoid thoughts, constant “ruminating” in their head.

I've noticed that a lot of parents with post-partum depression tend to be parents who gained highly technical skills training on their jobs (like engineering or computer science or business or accounting) and who tend to assume that raising babies requires the same amount of highly technical skills that they think they don't seem to master.

Post-partum depression is also common among parents who as a couple tend to disagree on most things, and of course the parents couldn't agree on techniques involving raising a child.

Of course there can be other reasons for post-partum depression. But again, if the cro-magnons could raise babies, if pandas can raise babies, if gorillas can raise babies, so can you!

Myth: babies cost a lot of money, and are a hassle when it comes to administrative work

Most of your bills involving your children will be hospitals bills (that tend to be reasonable, although giving birth is a little pricey in some countries).

Food, clothing, medication, and baby “apparel” (strollers, baby car seats, baby beds) won't cost you that much.

Maybe your biggest expense will be a car (you will need one) and daycare of a nanny or a babysitter (if you need one).

But the toughest economic question will be: would it be cheaper if I quit my job to raise the baby, or if I keep my job and hire a nanny/put my baby in daycare.

This tough economic question requires short-term and long-term thinking. Perhaps in the short-term you would lose money, but in the long-term, via promotions etc. you will gain money.

Other than that, if you can afford shopping on the weekends and nights out at the restaurant, pubs and clubs, you can surely afford having children.

Now in countries with corrupt education systems (like teacher bribes and forced tutoring to avoid bad grades in retribution) education fees can add up.

As for administrative paperwork, it's mostly once a year to get your kids to register to school, and occasional paperwork for other activities. Not much of a hassle, and you'll be dealing with paperwork two or three times a year tops.

Final myth: babies and children don't behave properly, act out, and are a source of trouble.

Now indeed we live in a world where we want 100% control over our destiny, and we want to control everything that goes on around us. After all, Google doesn't tell us what to type, YouTube doesn't impose videos upon us, Netflix doesn't force us to watch a bad series.

We live in a world where no one really tells us what to do, unless you work for a Korean or Japanese company where your boss constantly tells you what to do.

But babies and children do what they do. Sometimes they follow orders, sometimes they don't. The way a Korean mother put it to me was “babies are like a sumo wrestling match where they are trying to push you out of bounds and you are trying to stay in the circle and keep them in the circle.”

So if you “keep them in the circle of the sumo ring” with love and affection, you should have no problem.

But if you're the kind of guy/girl who can't tolerate anything you can't control (in sum if you're a control freak) raising children will be depressing.

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