It’s been a few years since my last column. I have had a few children in the meantime. I’m not sure how many. I have 5 now; not sure how many I started with back then. Which brings me to the point of this column: there is too much pressure on moms to know too many numbers.
I had a fairly successful time in school, a good career in the corporate world, and a nice social life–all without needing to keep too much data in my head. I think we can all agree that’s what computers are for. So the first time you find out you’re pregnant and the doctor begins asking questions regarding dates etc. to ascertain the age of the baby, it’s hard to do all the calculations. But that’s just the beginning. Once people find out you’re pregnant, the questions begin: “How far along are you?” Some people want the answer in weeks, some in months, and some using metric system – okay, so metric system doesn’t apply here, but it might as well for how confusing things are starting to get…Sometimes the question is in a different format: “When are you due?” That usually comes towards the end, with a slightly fearful expression asked by someone scared the baby will pop out right there and then.
Also later in the pregnancy, the measurements begin. By the way, they never end…I understand the doctor’s need to know but why everyone else cares is beyond me. “How big is the baby?” Later on this question continues post birth. For some reason, everyone wants to know how many pounds and ounces the baby was born at. And the age. And the birthdate. What am I, RainMan?
When these answers become too easy, milestones come into the picture. “At what age did he eat solid foods?” “When did she start crawling?” “How many teeth does he have?” To make matters worse, you’re expected to remember all of this if you need any sort of therapy services for OT, PT, etc.
On the flip side, fathers often do not know the name, phone number or address of the pediatrician’s office so they are off the hook for knowing anything about birthweights, dates, and milestones.
But for moms, we’re dealing with over a dozen facts and figures to memorize per child. You’ll have to forgive a mom with five children for forgetting her PIN or parking spot number. There’s just no room left for more.