Parenting 2.0

Posts Tagged ‘maggie o’farrell


Is parenthood life-changing? Most definitely.

Does it have its challenges? You betcha.

Is it all worth it? Wouldn’t change it for the world!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been enjoying my library pick: The Hand that First Held Mine, by Maggie O’Farrell. I found it via the UK Amazon site. I don’t know why I used the UK version as opposed to the Canadian one, but anyway, you can look up titles on the site and it recommends titles of other books that readers liked who liked that particular book. For example, I liked The Slap, so did a quick search of that book and found many recommendations. After a quick perusal of the suggested titles I settled on The Hand the First Held Mine and checked it out of the Ottawa library.

Unbeknown to me upon checking it out, this book ended up being partially about parenthood, and this one particular passage, about how life changes post-parenthood really stuck with me. Especially the part about carrying small tractors around in your purse. Because in the the pre-Niko days, that’s certainly not one of the goodies you would have found in there, but a welcomed site nowadays, nonetheless.

The following, albeit lengthy is the passage I’m referring to, now forever memorialized here on my blog! Thank you Maggie O’Farrell. Thank you.

The Women We Become After Children

(Excerpt from The Hand that First Held Mine)

We change shape, we buy low-healed shoes, we cut off our long hair. We begin to carry in our bags half-eaten rusks, a small tractor, a shred of beloved fabric, a plastic doll. We lose muscle tone, sleep, reason, perspective. Our hearts begin to live outside our bodies. They breath, they eat, they crawl and – look! – they walk, they begin to speak to us. We learn that we must sometimes walk an inch at a time, to stop and examine every stick, every stone, every squashed tin along the way. We get used to not getting where we were going. We learn to darn, perhaps to cook, to patch the knees of dungarees. We get used to living with a love that suffuses us, suffocates us, blinds us, controls us. We live. We contemplate our bodies, our stretched skin, those threads of silver around our brows, our strangely enlarged feet. We learn to look less in the mirror. We put our dry-clean-only clothes to the back of the wardrobe. Eventually, we throw them away. We school ourselves to stop saying “shit” and “damn” and learn to say “my goodness” and “heavens above”. We give up smoking, we colour our hair, we search the vistas of parks, swimming pools, libraries, cafes for others of our kind. We know each other by our pushchairs, our sleepless gazes, the beakers we carry. We learn how to cool a fever, ease a cough, the four indicators of meningitis, that one must sometimes push a swing for two hours. We buy biscuit cutters, washable paints, aprons, plastic bowls. We no longer tolerate delayed buses, fighting in the street, smoking in restaurants, sex after midnight, inconsistency, laziness, being cold. We contemplate younger women as they pass us in the street, with their cigarettes, their makeup, their tight-seamed dresses, their tiny handbags, their smooth, washed hair, and we turn away, we put down our heads, we keep on pushing the pram up the hill.

PS Note: I am not cutting off my long hair!

Why do moms do this?

Besides, a ponytail’s way easier than the hassle of trimming your hair every 3 weeks!


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1) 32 weeks and 5 days pregnant.

2) Note to husband: bikini bottoms do not count as underwear!

During my stint in the hospital I had a short list of “please-bring-mes” that I dished out over the phone to my lovely hubby: one of these things being underwear. A few hours later, he trots in with the items and I begin relishing in my requested delights: a gossip magazine, ChapStick, leftover Halloween candy, etc. Then I get to the underwear and hold them up with an inquisitive look.

Borys: Yah, I wasn’t sure which ones to bring, but those looked thick and big so I picked them out. Maternity underwear, right? Or are they a bathing suit?

Granted they are black, but still, how many pairs of underwear has he ever seen that are made out of bathing suit material? Plus I don’t own any maternity underwear!!! They’re too “thick and big” for my liking.

Me: Withering look, with a secret smile inside.

Thanks goodness I requested two pairs. And thank goodness the other ones weren’t part of a bikini.

3) “Chee-yos” (that’s Niko-speak for Cheerios) in my bed.

Yes a weird thing to smile at, but one night this week Niko had been hungry before going to sleep, so I got him a little bowl of Cheerios to snack on while I read him a bedtime story in my bed. Of course his little hands couldn’t help but spill a few here and there, but they were milkless, so what’s the big deal? Together, we picked up all the renegades (or so we thought), and then I scooted him off to his own bed.

The next morning I awoke to an array of random Cheerios stuck to my legs and arms. Guess we missed a few. But still, the memory of the little guy enjoying his snack and leaving traces of himself behind, was enough to put a smile on my face.

4) Good news from the NICU: a baby born at 32 weeks has the same chance of survival as a full term baby.

Not to say a 32 week old baby, wouldn’t have other health issues, but just that the survival rate is so high put a smile in my heart.

5) Rediscovering my library card.

I checked out a book and started reading it!


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