Merciless Pragmatism Is The New Romance

A Trail Of Fire

The woman running our prenatal class yesterday turned out to be hugely more useful than the hippie doula running the baby-bath thing we did last week, which was a huge relief. Last week’s course was 25 minutes of information fluffed out into two hours with the help of constant reassurances that there’s no rules, everything’s fine, you just need to be considerate and loving and there are no rules and everything’s fine.

I imagine that’s helpful for some people, but when both of you are Type-A personalities that straddle the line between OCD and rabies it’s a more than a little crazymaking. If you’re not going to add some value to the handout and the 20 minute video then we might as well not have shown up, you know? But sadly it was about as useful as, say, any of these. “When treating dry skin: olive oil, yes! 10-W-30, no!” Thanks, hippie.

But despite the second course’s more pragmatic bent, I don’t think the creators of these courses are quite geared up to deal with people like my wife and I. At one point, just to give you a glimpse of what the inside of our relationship looks like, our prenatal instructor asked the class “what qualities in your partner would you like your baby to have?” And, of course, she started with me and my wife. I’m kind of proud of myself for this, because I didn’t miss a beat before answering “She sleeps through the night.” That sort of threw off the instructor, who I suspect was looking for the answers everyone else gave – sense of humor, kindness, lovely hair, that sort of nonsense – but my wife did me proud as well, answering “He eats a lot”, as smooth as could be.

This is what love looks like. Forget your assurances and companionship and feelings and validation; buy a puppy and a hallmark card for that. True love gets things done.


  1. Posted March 29, 2009 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Part of this ride is learning how to adapt to a life where you can’t get things done anymore: not your things; not the baby’s things. Part of this ride is realizing that you’re not creating a new person, so much as creating a family, which means, changing who you are. Part of this ride is getting comfortable with there being almost no rules (I kid you not), and the rules that do exist change as soon as you learn them.

    I know a couple like you describe. Know them so well I see them in the mirror every morning. This is going to break and remake you, and it will be harder and better than anything you’ve done before: there are no rules and everything‚Äôs fine.

  2. Mike Hoye
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    One the one hand, I totally believe you. On the other hand, reading that and conceding the point took me all of five seconds. Tell me “these techniques don’t all work for everyone, it’s not an exact science but we picked these because typically in a course like this everyone has one or two they can try that work”. I am _there_. You’ve got me. But I don’t need to spend an hour and a half _just being reassured_. This is all about the delivery.

  3. Chris R
    Posted April 1, 2009 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    My experience has been that pregnant women do not actually sleep through the night (something about a 7-pound ball pushing against their bladder).

    So, isn’t it true that not only did you trivialize the exercise by choosing the mundane over the existential, but you also MADE UP a trivial characteristic for cheap laughs?

    (Don’t mess with a lawyer amped up on caffeine. On an unrelated note, Darcy thinks I need a day off.)

  4. mhoye
    Posted April 1, 2009 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    “My experience has been that pregnant women do not actually sleep through the night (something about a 7-pound ball pushing against their bladder).”

    Mine does! Subverting the existential in favor of the practical is practically my middle name, and I am all about the cheap laughs.

    (when did you start drinking coffee?)