Monday, September 24, 2007

The Family Bed

A playgroup friend of mine lent me the 1975 edition of The Family Bed. It was a really quick read and I finished it this afternoon while nursing Z at naptime in the family bed. I know this book is an AP "classic" so it was fun to read if only for that reason. I'm struck by how much things have changed in terms of style of writing and book design in the last decade. the book isn't THAT old, but seems to "quaint"--it is something I can't quite put my finger on, but the style of sentences have this quaint edge to them (not to mention the type of type, etc.) Reminds me of seeing previews for movies made in the 80's (like the Princess Bride)--they seem so slow paced and old fashioned compared to the speeded up style of current films (which make you realize why people have ADHD, LOL!).

Anyway, I wasn't really an overall fan of the book (sort of like I am not of The Continuum Concept), though I enjoyed it and thought it was fun to finally read it. It had that syrupy or over-the-top edge that bothers me (and that makes me understand why AP parents are criticized as "self righteous" or "judgmental"). Also, as one of the Amazon reviewers noted: "makes you feel like a weirdo for co-sleeping!" The section about sex (or "marital relations" as she quaintly says) also really kind of squicked me out.

One of the closing thoughts in the book: "I used to feel greatly resentful toward those who told me, 'you'll change when you have children. Your life will change' I felt resentful because I felt threatened. Perhaps I felt threatened that another person was going to control me, change me. I liked the way things were. But children can be the greatest blessing that ever happened to an individual. When one has children one has a chance to grow in ways not otherwise possible. Let it not be said, therefore, 'You must grow. You must mature. You must not have children until you are ready.' For then we may wait forever. Rather, let it suffice to say, "Allow yourself to grow, to mature with your children."

I've said this before, but I do feel that whatever the hardships/difficulties/frustrations of having children, they have forced me to grow as a person in ways that I think I would never have done without them. I feel like mothering is part of my development as a person--without it, I would be somehow stunted (though maybe blissfully oblivious to that!), even though it is actually PAINFUL sometimes to grow and develop, it is so important and real.

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