Having dinner at a friend’s house the other night – let’s call her High Flying City Girl - she revealed that after several years of trying, she’s finally pregnant. I was naturally delighted for her.
There will, of course, have to be a few changes to HFCG’s life when baby is born. She already knows that her fabulous Docklands townhouse, with its minimalist décor, acres of glass and long, dramatically steep staircase, will be hopelessly unsuitable for children. And that her five-star spa holidays in the Maldives with her Hedge Fund Hubby will inevitably be curtailed for a little bit, as will their regular dinners at Nobu and weekends at little designer hotels in the country.
But there is one thing HFCG won’t have to cut down on – her beauty sleep.
“Of course, I’m going to hire a doula for after the baby’s born,” she announced, sounding as if no woman in their right mind would not – and in her world, this is probably true. Hedge Fund Hubby was all for it (well, he wouldn’t want to be getting up in the night for moral support, would he? Let alone have to put up with a frazzled and knackered wife.)
Now I might well have been naïve, but when I had Littleboy 1, I hadn’t even heard of maternity nurses, doulas or whatever else you choose to call them. I was therefore amazed when, after the first few befuddled weeks of looking after a new baby, learning to breastfeed, recovering from a C-section and getting by on virtually zero sleep, I bumped into a neighbour, who had also just given birth. Her husband’s work (another hedge fund, funnily enough) had actually paid for her to have a maternity nurse for the first few weeks, to help with breastfeeding, getting up in the night and general baby care.
I was both incredulous and unbelievably envious – although I definitely wanted to feed Littleboy 1 myself, I did find it hard at first and at that point would have killed for some nice, experienced maternal-looking person to give me some advice and support.
A few years later, and it seems half of
Sounds familiar to me, I thought – after all wasn’t that what I did for the seven months or so until Littleboy 1 slept through? Isn’t that what most normal mothers do? After all, Littleboy 1 and I got through the sleepless nights (albeit with me ending up with severe insomnia, panic attacks and a health visitor convinced I had postnatal depression). And the second time round, it wasn’t nearly so difficult.
But at the same time, I was thinking: well, if I had the cash, maybe I would have done the same? So I wonder; are we just shielding ourselves from the reality of motherhood by outsourcing the hard work to someone else? Or perhaps, in these days when mothers, maiden aunts and other helpful matronly types aren’t living round the corner (or in my case, aren’t around at all) paying out for someone to help with a newborn is a no-brainer?