This month, UK residents were thrilled to learn that their beloved Dutchess of Cambridge is expecting a child, just as the US now gets to rejoice in the news that our former little White House princess, Jenna Bush Hager, is also pregnant. No doubt the media will be bombarding us with weekly updates as we now countdown to their delivery dates, and I’m sure the paparazzi will not let us down with all the glorious photos as these lovely ladies blossom through motherhood.
But here I feel compelled to keep it real for the rest of the world. These two women have an incredible amount of financial resources that most of us will never come close to having, and as a result, a lot of the stress that the rest of us have to bear as parents, will never be part of their reality. They will have other stresses, for sure, such as constantly being in the public eye, and many of us will thankfully never know the pain of what it is like to have our setbacks and failures up for discussion and sometimes mockery all over the worldwide press. For the average person, however, the main problem with all this hype, the glam shots and the happy stories is that they set us up for unrealistic expectations.
Many women’s jobs will be jeapordized when they announce that they are pregnant, and most families will suffer severe financial strains with medical costs, setting up a nursery, paying for formula, diapers, etc. Furthermore, everyone is going to be sleep deprived for quite some time, and while all of this is going on a woman has to deal with severe changes to her weight, hormones, emotions and overall identity. This is all very stressful for mothers.
The joy of having a child comes with great responsibility, and it will require immense sacrifice. Family dynamics will completely shift after a baby arrives, and many couples will crumble under this strain– the latest case in point being Sarah Palin’s son, who just filed for divorce after 16 months of marriage with a 19 month old in the mix.
Obviously I am a firm believer that the good outweighs the bad when it comes to my personal choice to being a parent, but it is a personal choice that I don’t think is right for everyone. If you can’t deal with messiness in your life, with having your best laid plans go to hell at the last minute, with putting someone else’s needs before your own, then don’t do it.
Hollywood glorifies beauty, and there is indeed so much beauty to having a baby– but let’s keep it real. Tasked with an 18 year commitment of getting a child ready for college and/or the real world is not for the faint of heart. For those struggling with parenthood, know that you are not alone. No one is honest enough to tell you how hard this job will be before you have the baby, but then again no one could have ever done justice to explain the joy that parenthood brings to your life.
So, congrats to both Jenna and Kate, and to the rest of you in the real world just remember that by trying to be the best we can be will make us awesome in at least our own child’s world.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.