The headline in today’s Brisbane Courier Mail bowled me over. “New mums feeling the strain from sleep loss”. I picked myself up from the floor after that shattering revelation and reread the results of yet another useless study about Mummies and their problems. I had to make sure that I had not misinterpreted the article. I hadn’t.
Now according to a study commissioned by a nappy manufacturer
and a baby magazine, half of all mothers surveyed said they were suffering from stress because of sleep starvation. No kidding. What amazes me is that the other half were not under stress.
One in ten mums said they almost split from their partners under the strain. Only one in ten? Wow! Eight out of ten mothers said that the strain had put them off sex and that most of them would rather sleep than have sex. So what else is new?
I read on and learned that parents-to-be have no idea of what’s in store for them and that lack of sleep when a baby is born can devastate their lives. This ignorance is biologically motivated, in my opinion, because if parents knew what was in store for them, there would be fewer babies.
So if the study revealed nothing new, then what was the purpose of this survey? Well, I suspect that the magazine wanted to sell more copies and so promoted the survey. it also wanted to provide a forum for complaints. Now that’s not a bad thing in itself because it makes new mothers feel better when they read that other parents are not coping well either.
What I really resent, however, is the notion that motherhood was invented in the last decade and that new mothers are having it tougher than mothers in the past. Now that’s simply not true. Women in the past had to wash nappies instead of disposing of them. They had to actually prepare food for their babies, instead of just picking it up from the supermarket. There weren’t such things as creches in which a mother could leave her baby every day if she wants to.
And one only has to drop into one of those baby specialist shops to see what gadgets are around to make life easier for a new mother. Now that’s also not a bad thing. Motherhood is such a drag that one should take advantage of every aid possible. My point is that it has always been a drag and that is no more difficult now.
To claim that things are harder now than they were in the past is sheer bunkem. We are already paying $4000 for each new baby and believe me I really disagree with that bribe. If we are genuinely serious about encouraging women to reproduce, then we could follow the example of the province of Ulyanovsk in Russia. The mayor of that province has decreed that today, September 12, is to be a family contact day. Locals have dubbed it Conception Day because the province wants more babies. So the slogan for today is “Give birth to a patriot on Russia Day,” which is apparently nine months hence. Not only will residents get the day off, but they will also receive prizes such as fridges, televisions, vehicles. What, no steak knives?
Getting back to the silly survey, do we honestly have to pretend that new mothers have never had it so hard? If these new mummies can’t cope with a newborn, then perhaps they aren’t “yummy mummies” at all. Perhaps a name change to “dummy mummies” or even “crummy mummies” would be more apt.
Do we really want such useless women to reproduce? It’s time we asked that question. Perhaps we should pay them not to have children, and do eugenics a favour.