IF and the City

I used to feel sad when I watched the episodes with Charlotte failing over and over again while trying to get pregnant. Little did I know that my own attempts would lead me on the same sad journey. We've now passed 4 years in the trenches. 6 failed IVF/ICSI cycles = nothing. Time for something new - donor eggs. Success at last. Now for round 2.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Beer and Breasts

I have something to admit. I’m not sure if it’s healthy or not, but IF has changed many of my opinions on motherhood.

Last weekend we caught up with our new Adoption Friends.

Now, we’re all at the early stages of getting to know each other, so we haven’t yet reached that point of understanding what kinds of restaurants everyone likes or more importantly, what kind of budget we all have.

So someone suggested a pub that had dining and booked a table.

Let’s say it was a trendy inner west pub – that has undergone a radical transformation in the last year. I mean the last time I went to this pub – it was to see an indie rock band - in a former life. This place now has a dining room attached that has had rave reviews, but the suggestion was made to have a drink in the pub and just order some pub food.

So now we’re all sitting in this transformed place – that has a modern-e open barn style design. Big wooden tables and we were able to have our own.

As we’re sitting there one of our group notices a pram with a tiny baby.

‘Far out, that baby only looks a week old’

We all had a good laugh at how hilarious it was that a bunch of infertile couples considering adoption get together and end up next to a table with a newborn.

As I looked up I spotted a groovy father walking by in his Billa*bong t.shirt and leading his girl-child by the hand. I also saw several pregnant women joining friends, with all their children.

We have another drink, and catch up on where we’re all at and what we’re thinking with our adoption forms.

As I’m talking with one of the women about donor eggs we notice at the table with the new-born that there’s another one, another newborn … AND THE MOTHER IS BREAST FEEDING ... IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PUB.

I mean, wow, now you don't have to go to Hoo*ters, or whatever it's called to get an eyeful.

So as we order another bottle of sauvignon blanc, and manage to get back from the bar without tripping over ALL THE PRAMS now in this pub, we start talking about how strange it is that so many parents are out with their babies and children.

‘Yeah’ the couple say who suggested the pub. ‘It’s funny, but people always seem to be here with their babies and children’.


Now Sydney has come a long way in recent times – new legislation with the smoke-free zones, means that those wanting to light up a durry are herded into the pokie rooms or have to go outside – BUT WHEN DID PUBS BECOME MOTHER’S CLUBS?

‘It’s funny’ I said to one of my female companions ‘I’ve changed my whole view on the public breast feeding thing’.
‘Yeah, it happened within a week of my miscarriage. I was having lunch at the mall near where I work, a place where I used to get a great pizza slice and could read my book. In the middle of my lunch a woman with her baby sat down next to me and she started breast-feeding. Now I probably still had all my preggy hormones coursing thru my veins, but it really upset me. That soon changed to anger, when I noticed that not 10 feet away from where we were sitting was a PARENTS ROOM! This incident changed my view forever. Now I think, with 1 in 10 women miscarrying, how dare anyone presume that this issue is about their right to breast feed in public, and not consider the feelings of others.
‘I agree’ she said, 'I hate Mothers Clubs too'.

Now this is clearly my issue and it’s tied in my IF. I would never ever berate anyone, and have sat quietly by while our friends have suckled in full view, and [hopefully] never made them feel uncomfortable. I’ve left that emotion all for myself.

But now can we not even go to a pub without having to feel this joyous motherhood in others, and feel it would be politically incorrect to be uncomfortable?

‘You know, it’s just all about Showing-off Parenthood’ Mr. S said.

‘Now I know I’d never want to live in that suburb, all those people in that pub made we want to puke’.

Am I justified in my attitude or is this something I should keep working on?

When Mr. S and I have our children, we vow we will never buy into the ‘Show-off Parenthood’ rubbish. Of course we’ll still want to go to the pub from time to time, but not to dangle our young. We’ll keep the pub for times when we want to catch up with our friends and we'll make full use of those babysitting in-laws. When it's kids in-tow, I think we'll be able to find better places than the pub to meet up with our friends.


At February 21, 2006 1:25 pm , Blogger Beth said...

You know, reading your post made me realize that I have begun to feel the same way. The blatant "kid advertisement" everywhere drives me insane and it seems so much more prevalent than in the past. I originally thought I was just noticing it more because of IF, but even my friends with children agree that it seems to be more out front these days.

At February 21, 2006 5:55 pm , Blogger Ornery said...

Yes, I think your attitude is completely justified. I'm sure that my IF has made me much more sensitive to the mommy clubs, but even if I weren't having problems, I think I would have noticed the proliferation of boob displays and other public acts of motherhood. Being a parent has suddenly become so fashionable, and I'm sure a considerable part of that is due to those celebrities whose children have become one more fashion accessory for them.

At February 21, 2006 7:38 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I struggle with this issue all the time! I went through IVF numerous times and was lucky and have a son. I work full-time and as a family we manage really well. I am very lucky. I also helped raise my two stepsons who lived with us for six years during IVF and during their highschool years. What I hate is the smugness that people think the most complex thing they will ever do is have a baby! I long to scream at them "Having the baby was the easy bit for 90% of the population. The hard bit is raising them to adulthood in one piece with all their limbs and you surviving their adolescence with your sanity!" And don't get me started about prams, babygym, teething and sleeping!

The baby/mother club is just so over the top these days! I so agree with you!


At February 22, 2006 12:56 am , Blogger EJW said...

Did you ever see the movie Sweet Home Alabama? With Reese Witherspoon? At one point she exclaims to her friend "You have a baby! In a bar!?" It's like that.

Bars are for grown-ups, to do adult things like drink and smoke (outdoors) and hit on each other and play pool. Not for kids and strollers to block the aisles and crying and so on.

At February 22, 2006 7:22 am , Blogger Chelsi said...

I'm shocked as h*ll that all these people are bringing babies into a bar! And, breast feeding while people are eating and drinking around you is disgusting!!! ...........
You are right to be upset - showing off parenthood seems to be the hot new thing. I had this happen to me yesterday (thanks for the comments on my post, by the way) when this dad was just dying to find a reason to tell me about his six kids. Like, "look at me, I can procreate, aren't I special?" I know not all parents are like that, but the ones that are infuriate me!!

At February 22, 2006 9:21 am , Anonymous Manuela said...

Kids don't belong in pubs. Period.

Re the breast-feeding thing... well setting aside that this is a PUB we're talking about... which is just all sorts of wrong... I wouldn't hesitate to breastfeed in public... but depending on the surroundings (people eating or whatever) I would CERTAINLY provide cover... my boobs aren't THAT nice! ;-)

At February 22, 2006 1:50 pm , Anonymous Lori said...

Bringing your baby to a bar is just weird. That's where you go to get away from the baby and take a break.
As for the public breastfeeding - I'm not a fan. If it's inappropriate to expose my breast without a nursing a child, I think it's still inappropriate even with a child.

At February 23, 2006 6:11 am , Blogger fisher queen said...

The Mommy Club has definitely taken over the world. Smug bitches.

At February 24, 2006 4:49 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well my first baby was stillborn at 40 weeks gestation and breastfeeding never really bothered me after that happened, I guess I was to busy seeing all the pregnant women and getting upset about that I suppose. I have another son now and I am breastfeeding and have done it in public, sometimes the baby room is full, so what are suppose to do? I suppose I could have let my baby scream with hunger but just decided to try and feed him discretly on a bench and no one really seemed to notice.

I understand in your situation seeing things like this can be upsetting to you, as many things use to upset me after losing my first son and it was hard seeing babies and pregnant women. But I guess when the woman sat next to you she had no idea what you are going through, she was probably just focused on feeding her baby.

To me I prefer to see a baby with a boob in its mouth then a bottle but then thats a whole other issue and not everyone can breastfeed. The whole baby in the bar thing baffles me though.

At February 27, 2006 1:08 pm , Blogger Mony said...

Please God....don't let me stumble into that same Sydney Pub.....

At March 01, 2006 1:32 pm , Anonymous Jacqueline said...

I've fed my son in many places in Australia, such as the Melbourne Museum and even bistros/pubs too. Any place that I eat, to me, is appropriate that my baby eat. I have found less people have noticed me breastfeeding than have noticed me with a screaming infant.

It is sad that it a painful reminder for IF women to see breastfeeding. However, when it is their turn to breastfeed, they will see things a little differently because they will very much love their babies and want them to have the best nutrition.

Breastfeeding is utterly portable whereas lugging bottles and formula etc. to me, is not as convenient.


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