I recently came across a great parenting talk on the TED site.
For those of you who don’t know, the TED site (ted.com) features a huge catalog of videotaped talks by all kinds of people–from authors to academics, from business tycoons to kids who have important things to say.
Anyway, the talk I listened to on TED was by a married working couple who found that certain feelings that come up when you become a parent seem to be “taboo,” even when talking to other parents. Their talk is entertaining but also profound. Parenting is supposed to be this wonderful experience and sometimes when it doesn’t live up to our expectations, we worry that we are the only ones who feel that way. Here are the specific “taboos” this couple mention:
- Taboo #1: You can’t say you didn’t fall in love with your baby in the first minute.
- Taboo #2: You can’t talk about how lonely having a baby can be.
- Taboo #3: You can’t talk about your miscarriage.
- Taboo #4: You can’t say that you “average happiness” has declined since having a child.
Short answer: you are not alone. Parenting does bring joys, but it also brings feelings of loneliness, rage, frustration, and even depression. I feel lucky in that when I experienced negative feelings as a new parent, I was able to have some honest conversations about these feelings with another parent. But there is still a stigma out there, especially for those who have lost children through miscarriage or stillbirth (luckily, groups like Tiny Purpose are really helping).
So watch the talk—it’s 17 minutes long. Then comment on their taboos or list others you’ve found.by