netcurmudgeon (netcurmudgeon) wrote,

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It takes a village...

I guess you can take the measure of a society any number of ways. Here's one.

Setting aside all of the biological, physiological, and medical knowledge that six weeks of Lamaze class crammed into my head, the thing that really struck me was the focus on the nuclear family. Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad and a bunch of nurses having this baby.

I grew up in an extended family. We were a very localized bunch. ashacat and I live in our hometown, as do our parents and our siblings. We have a community of friends who are also engaged and interested in the arrival of our child.

Two people seems like a narrow set of pillars on which to rest this whole thing -- you know, pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. I feel like we have a broad foundation; and we are taking it further, having recruited a dear friend to join us as a second "labor coach". (All three of us are Virgos. We make a very effective team. Manchester hospital may never be the same.) However, I know that we are not the norm.

I know that adulthood for most people means moving away from home. Many settle near their colleges. Many just follow the jobs. Tens of thousands inexplicably move to Phoenix and Las Vegas. For whatever their reasons, they move. They move away from kith and kin. They move away from that familial support network.

I should not be surprised that Lamaze class reflects this most common facet of American life.

But I don't have to like it.
Tags: baby, society

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