Hello everyone !
The French mom is tough because her mom’s life is hard. That’s reality. But you may not know that it is a mess even before your baby was born ! Here in France, everybody puts pressure on you as a future mom right from the start, when you tell them you’re pregnant.
“Oh, really? That’s fantastic ! […3 seconds later] Do you know if you’re gonna breastfeed your baby? Because it’s important to think about it RIGHT NOW ! You know, I did breastfeed my kids until they were 2 years old [because yes, the girl who is always around you to tell you what to do, when and how, that girl HAS kids. She’s been there, she knows everything better than you and is already judging you…] You MUST breastfeed them. That’s what good moms do!
Me: Should I answer now? I mean, I didn’t think about it yet, so… [She was actually expecting an answer I guess]
The Who Knows Best Mom (akaWKBM) : And have you thought about the out-of-school activities?
Me : Hum… nope, I’m three months old pregnant (In France, there is this sort of tradition that wants you to wait until you’re three months pregnant to officially announce it) Why would I think about an out-of-school activity, my baby is as big as a grape ?!
WKBM : Because that’s extremely important, chérie ! You have to think about it ! Let me tell you, if it’s a girl, ballet is perfect. Horse riding may be a good thing, but piano is a MUST do.
Me: Ok… and what if my baby’s a boy? [Dear reader, don’t think I was begging for advises, I was pissed off actually, but the thing is, I wanted to check how intrusive and prejudiced was this bitch…sorry I mean this lovely experienced French Mom !]
WKMB : Tennis off course ! No violent sports obviously, it’s too middle-class !
[Dear reader, don’t imagine I am a snob or an extremely rich mom. I just live in a bourgeois city, filled with pretentious people, that’s why most of the moms I’ll describe will act like that…]
Me: And no piano …?
WKBM : Off course he will play the piano ! Why on Earth a kid would not play the piano? That will make your child more intelligent. And that’s tradition for God’s sake !
So, I was 3 months pregnant, and we were already talking about out-of-school activities, activities that are not allowed when you are under 5/6 years old. That’s what happens in France, making great educational projects for your embryo ! And as if it’s not enough, you have another pressure coming right through your face; you WILL have pressure on the school you’ll choose for your kids, right before that, you WILL have pressure on where you’re going to give birth …
Let me explain a French thing. I don’t know if it’s the same in your country, let me know about it, but here, there is a sort of division between two kind of moms : the one who give birth at the hospital and the one who give birth at the private clinic.
The first one is the average one. In the eyes of the moms who gave birth at the private clinic, this mom is a bad mom. Because clinics are supposed to be better than hospitals because you pay for everything, while at the hospital you pay nothing, everything is free (but the TV). So, if you don’t choose to pay for the birth of your baby, it implies that you are not ready to give the best for your kid (I don’t speak for myself here, I just explain what most of people think). So, the choice of the place you give birth is crucial for your image of future mom!
My opinion is that, you must not choose between hospital and clinic because of those stupid prejudices. Here in France, we have a problem of moms mortality during the labour. Some hospitals are extremely good and some clinics are dangerous, and vice versa. I have chosen the clinic of my city rather than the hospital because the hospital is dangerous (my father in law died in this hospital).
Another annoying mom : Have you chosen your clinic? [You see, that woman couldn’t even imagine that someone could choose an hospital, that’s not even imaginable].
Me: There’s only one clinic in the city, so, I guess the choice is already made…
The mom, interrupting me : That’s where I gave birth to my five kids [ I will talk about the french family size in another article later, believe me, that’s a thing!] You really want to meet my obstetrician [ I was not, anyway…], he is fantastic ! Will your husband join you during the delivery? Because mine bla bla bla…
That kind of moms loves being pregnant. She has multiple kids, she knows so much things thanks to her experience that it could have been interesting to have advices from her. But the problem is, she is always patronizing. And that’s extremely annoying…
So, the French Mom got pressure right from the start, even before her kid is born. I didn’t mention the whole stupid things I’ve heard while pregnant. It was just a micro-sample of what you can hear. All the moms I’ve met are not judgmental, but the truth is that most of them are. I didn’t mention the pressure on your pregnancy style (it needs a full article that I’ll develop later), or the pressure on what pregnancy activities you do (singing songs to your not even born baby, pre-natal yoga etc…), the pressure on your body (you are not supposed to become fat, you must stay athletic and it’s just your belly who is supposed to grow…), the names you’ll choose (the funny thing is, you are not supposed to tell it before your baby is born, but everybody talks about it during your pregnancy). All those things will be explained, don’t worry !
Tell me about your experiences during your pregnancy, to compare what we’ve been through and if things are different from a place to another !