Don’t Ask Me To Hold The Baby

Seriously don’t ask. I have no interest or desire to hold the baby… any baby. 

Who decided that women automatically loved babies and lived to hold babies? And if you didn’t like doing this, you were weird and unnatural. Perhaps your femininity was questioned. Perhaps you were considered a terrible and uncaring mother. Where did that bullshit come from?

When did it all of a sudden become protocol that babies were supposed to be held most, if not all, the time? My mother and my grandmother did not constantly hold the baby. They did not have time. My mother worked all my life (I was born in 1957). My grandmother brought her kids up in a house heated with coal, without a bathroom and running water and modern appliances. Pioneer women did not sit around holding the baby. They certainly did not have time either. They had to help in the fields, make their own soap and take care of about a dozen kids because there was no such thing as birth control. 

Holding the baby is a luxury, spawned from modern parenting techniques that are now considered necessary to raise a secure and happy baby, although babies have been born and taken care of for the past five to seven million years. So who’s to say what is correct. Holding the baby is a luxury that stems from a life filled with easy attainable food, convenient appliances, comfy chairs and foot stools. It is not necessary an instinct but instead a response and now expected reaction of our modern world.

Since when have I ever done what was expected? I am an outlier when it comes to babies. I know women who can and want to sit all day and hold grand babies, but I am not one of them. For some women, holding grand babies gives them a renewed sense of purpose–a reason to get up in the morning. I have nothing against these women. They need to do whatever works for them and makes them happy. But again, although family is very important to me, I am not one of them. The last thing I want to do is hold the baby.

Holding the baby is exhausting to me. It is hard on the arms. It is hard on the neck. It is hard on the back. It is BORING as hell. I held my own baby, my beautiful, wanted and loved, but colicky baby; and I didn’t enjoy it. I held him, I bounced him, I walked with him, I put him in the stroller and took him to the mall in the middle of winter, and could hardly wait until he was able to do some of this stuff on his own. That was enough baby holding for me.  

Back then, I also put him down in the swing or the crib, and passed him off as much as possible, though opportunities were few. All I could think of was my working mother, who, at a time when maternity leave did not exist, did not hold the baby, just like most women before her. Babies were wrapped up and placed in the crib or baby carriage where they quietly did just fine for hours on end. And look at me, I turned into a perfectly good bitch. So again, who decided that babies needed to be held most of the time.

I feel the same way about sleeping. Since when did it become normal for parents to crawl in bed with their babies and even much older kids in order to get them to go to sleep at night? Really do people consider this a good thing? No wonder there are books and books and books written about how to solve your child’s sleep problems. Problems that are often created by parents who became the necessary factor that enables their kids to fall asleep every night. How is that going to teach a kid to be independent. Yes I know, I sound old fashioned, but it has only been for about the last thirty years that a lot of parents have started doing this. Think about this. Think about the rise in anxiety in children these days. Parents are involved in every aspect of their kid’s lives, including going to sleep. Kids never get a chance to figure things out on their own. They never get a chance to think for themselves at a young age. They need to learn to deal with things without a parent. Learning to go to sleep is just the beginning.

Getting back to holding the baby. Years ago a neighbour came knocking on my door to show me his new baby. We chatted for a few minutes then he said, “do you want to hold her?” Why would he ask this while standing on my front step? Would he have asked my husband that question if he had answered the door and partook in the chat? I doubt it. The look on my neighbour’s face when I said, “no thanks,” was unforgettable, and he quickly left. It was a moment I never forgot. I was being judged.

So here’s my take. If you want to hold the baby, go for it. Just don’t ask me to do it; and if you do, don’t judge me when I say no. 

Thank you for reading.

Photos:  Zach Lucero, Unsplash

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27 thoughts on “Don’t Ask Me To Hold The Baby

  1. Amen. And if you’re being judged for not wanting to hold the baby? Imagine being me…. the woman who made a lifestyle choice not to have children. That’s some first class judgement right there. My husband and I have spent years enduring shocked gasps and shaking heads. People actually take it personally… it’s bizarre.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is bizarre. I don’t understand why people feel the need to judge other’s life choices. I always hoped society would get over judging women who choose not to have children. I think it is easier for the younger generations. I didn’t want kids at first but then became a part-time stepmom and decided to have one of my own. I was 34. I will admit that at the time, it was a bit of a shock to my lifestyle.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Here’s a take… Pure exasperation due to a child who refused to sleep alone for her first 4 years made me do things I never planned on doing. I sat and held the child (without a foot stool) while cursing the expectation to sit and hold her instead of letting her wail in a chair, or on a blanket on the floor beside me. 😛

    Things have changed so much. But even now, I argue my point about letting the kids fend for themselves more, not be so involved on every freaking level…

    One thing I wish someone told me when I was anxious about something with my first child was the fact that millions of women with less conveniences have managed just fine.

    I got sucked into what society expected/marketed to me and although I often rejected modern practices, it was difficult when everyone was “doing it” that way.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    And the non-sleeping child is sleeping just fine without me now. 🙄🙃

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I realize we all have to do what works in the moment. That’s what tired moms do. I was thinking more about 7 and 11 year olds going to bed. I actually put my infant son in his room with the door closed then went to my room and closed the door. That was more so I could sleep because I was a very light sleeper and would hear every breath. This was after I bounced him for god knows how long beforehand. When he woke at night, I still heard him so I think he just got used to that as his norm. We did have some wailing moments off and on but that boy still loves to sleep.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. We’re exactly the same on that – I’ve never had a desire to hold babies! I didn’t even have a desire to have one so I didn’t. My mother and father didn’t have any desire to have children either but it was expected of them and they decided to conform – I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have though.

    We were also born in the same year too (just happened to notice that – I know it’s irrelevant).

    I think some of modern-day children’s sleep problems probably stem from the lifestyle foisted on them by modern-day parents. They keep they busy all the time, they never let them do their own thing or their own thinking. If they want to go out in the evenings, rather than get a babysitter, or one parent stay in, they take junior (no matter how young) out with them… and then they stay out really late. You see kids over here falling asleep or acting up because they’re tired and bored in pubs late at night all the time. I’ve seen newborn babies in pubs at midnight just ‘cos Mum wanted to still continue to go out partying. It disgusts me to be honest!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean. The same people who didn’t want babies at their weddings decide they need to take their kids everywhere. I didn’t want kids originally but became a stepmom then decided I may as well have one of my own.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m completely with you on this, every point. I find it quite annoying when new mothers try to plop their bouncing bundles in to my arms or lap, as if they are “gifting” me with a lovely opportunity. It’s just not on my bucket list, folks. I understand that you’re excited and pleased with your ability to procreate, but it is not a seminal event in MY life.

    Having said that, I should point out that I have nothing against children. (In fact, the kidlets love visiting Uncle Brian, because they know I’m going to come up with fun and imaginative things to do whilst the other adults are drinking beer on the patio, and we spend hours doing such.) It’s just that there are boundaries and everyone should respect them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t watch much television, but I’ve watched probably every Seinfeld episode ever made. This made me think of one of the episodes where a doctor describes Elaine as breathtaking. She is quite smitten with the guy and is enormously flattered. Then he uses the same word to describe an ugly baby, and she is devastated. You’d have to see it to appreciate it for the humor.

    We guys seem to get a free pass in the baby holding department unless we want a turn. I don’t mind, but I almost always feel relieved when I hand the baby back to one of the parents, thinking, “Thank goodness, I didn’t screw that up.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank goodness I didn’t screw that up… My thoughts exactly, especially after every time I bathed my own baby so you can imagine my feelings towards other babies. I never saw the Seinfeld episode. I don’t think I ever saw any Seinfeld episodes. I actually didn’t own a TV then.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ywah, I am not big on holding babies either. Like you, bouncing a colicky baby for many months, not holding a baby was bliss. Jolly Jumper was my saviour…I did have that colicky baby in bed with me or I would have died of exhaustion. She grew up to be a very independent young woman, so I don’t think this screwed her up in any way that I can tell. You make so many good points and interesting observations in this point, and judging by the comments you have a lot of kin spirits on this subject. Except for Jim 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is when those babies still have their parents coming to bed with them in elementary school that I have problems. With infants, tired moms are going to do whatever it takes.
      I can picture Jim holding a baby and cracking jokes with a huge smile.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for thinking of me. I appreciate the thought but am going to bow out for the reasons mentioned in my not following the rules and playing in the sandbox blog, which was written the last time someone nominated me. It is not about the numbers for me. It’s about creativity expressing myself. Based on what I have seen, I think that is why you blog as well.

      Liked by 1 person

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