There is a TV show called Bringing Home Baby on TLC. It follows the first 3 days of a newborn's life once he or she gets home from the hospital or wherever. (there might be home births on there but I havent seen one yet)
I watched it a few times a couple of years ago and I absolutely hated it. I was enraged by the laziness and ineptitude of the parents, i was broiling with jealousy at the Mother and Mother In Law and often grandma, grandpa and girlfriends that were all there to help with the new baby--which almost always was their first baby. What a stupid show, I thought, and didn't watch it ever again....until recently. Now I am re-curious about newborns and it helps me to not watch the birth shows ; )
Even though alot of the people still have relatives who visit and change diapers and wash dishes and laundry and bring nice hot meals and take away the older kids for sleepovers, it is a really really important show and I'll tell you why. Because no mater how beloved or pampered or "supported" these new mothers are, it really shows you what the newborn scene is, and I think that in these isolated times, these insidious times of secrecy and lies and shame and getcher body back in 3 weeks cruel times for women (and men!) that this stuff is getting out there, for everyone to witness, to fear, to marvel at, to remember, to acknowledge, to GET.
Here are some of the very important things that someone viewing this show will undoubtedly be exposed to--the things that I certainly didn't expect when I was expecting (har har)the first time around:
The Mom is still very very pregnant looking. Her Uterus is at about the 6 month mark and fills out a maternity shirt nicely.
The Mom has bad skin and looks progressively ruddier and more ragged each day. (The ones who wear makeup always go way overboard and it looks really awful and out of place with her stained shirt and greasy hair and swollen bare feet.
The Mom has swollen feet.
The Mom walks funny and seems really stiff and sore all over.
The vast majority of Moms sit in bed and the bed is covered in piles of stuff, everytime, rich or poor, breastfeeding or not, there are wipes and diapers and a boppy and it is always the bed and it always looks like a crash landing nest and I wonder what happened to their laughable nursery with the matching diaper stackers and changing station and I am glad.
The Dad doesn't help very much in the night even when they are using bottles. He might do one feeding but has to make a huge deal out of it and rustle and talk and wake up the Mom and then the next day he proclaims how rough it all is. The nicest nicest dads still are quite blown away that the neonate does not seem to wear a watch.
The baby is teeny and red and cries alot. Alot alot alot alot. It is a squally and scratchy and pathetic and hiccupy sound that alarms anyone who is human.
The baby pretty much nurses, poops, and sleeps 'round the clock, but they are almost always described as "having their days and nights mixed up". Like "we put him to bed around 8pm, but he got back up by 9" ?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! this is the funniest part to me.
The baby boys pee way up in the air and get pee all over their outfits and the parent's outfits and the parents are astonished.
The breastfed babies spray poo across the room and all over the parents when they lift their bums to wipe them and the parents are astonished.
Sometimes the baby "wont nurse" and falls asleep at the breast and the parents are really worried about it and I get very worried about them thinking they have no milk and all this nonsense and I get super pissed off at the lack of follow up care or lactation advice in our maternity system.
The moms who do some giant cover up tent for breastfeeding (in their own homes!!!) lose either the giant cover up tent or quit nursing within the first 3 days.
The moms who get up and actually go sit in some glider chair far far away for each feeding quit nursing by the 8 weeks follow up segment.
The moms who wash dishes and have hairdos and jeans on and who are not camped out in bed are seething with resentment at their mates and the baby. SEETHING. I have only seen 2 of these, but the hubby was trying to help and she was of the "never mind I'll just do it, you're doing it wrong" type. Fools!
The babies look HUGE and GORGEOUS by the 8 weeks follow up segment but not one of them ever weighs 12 pounds yet, which is what Charlie weighed when he was born and it blows my mind.
The parents are so confident and the dads are so much mellower and the babies are so much more alert and amazing by the 8 weeks follow up segment that I cannot believe how fast it all goes by.
The formula fed newborns, without fail, by the 8 week follow up segment are always reported as "super fussy", or "a high maintenance little guy" versus the breastfeeding ones who are described as "Mellow", "Peaceful", or "Happy".
The Moms always always always cry on day 3. I did too and so did you and so will every Mom.
So, if you can, check it out, see what you think, write me a comment! I probably haven't watched enough episodes to use these generalization-words like "always" , but so far this is what I have noticed. I think it is a valuable show for pregnant couples, much more than all that jabberwocky in any magazine or book.