Don’t Get Comfortable

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Artists often talk about pushing themselves; stretching; getting outside their comfort zone; trying something new. You’ll hear athletes, adventurers, business people, and programers say it too. In fact, running a marathon, climbing a mountain or some other means of discomfort or challenge seems to be quite popular in our age – we’re all finding ourselves in adversity. Except, according to one study, doing the one thing that many of us will do. I read this article a few weeks back, and was somewhat surprised by the conclusion. It seems –

” that having a child can have a pretty strong negative impact on a person’s happiness, according to a new study published in the journal Demography. In fact, on average, the effect of a new baby on a person’s life is devastatingly bad: worse than divorce, worse than unemployment and worse even than the death of a partner. “

At the end of the article the author finished by saying:

“The findings are likely to be eyeopening for some policy-makers who are concerned about low fertility rates in their countries and suggest that governments should consider giving additional support to new parents.”

I don’t want to knock support, but my completely anecdotal observations have been that the more people try and keep their old life; their me time; the more they deny the struggle or that they might need to embrace the dark night of the soul; the harder it becomes, even with help, to find happiness with a new baby.

Later the same day I read this blog post that contained the following :

“My midwife once told me not to try to be comfortable.”

Maybe it’s just expectations that rob us of our happiness. Maybe parenting isn’t about being comfortable.  Maybe we don’t need that mountain after all. I know I don’t – I’ve got kids and I’ve got art !

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3 thoughts on “Don’t Get Comfortable

    Renee-Lucie Benoit said:
    September 6, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Hi Nicole, Thanks for your “like” on my comment on Andrea’s recent blog. It brought me here and I’m glad it did. This post is very telling for me personally as this is what I experienced when my daughter was born. Her father and I were completely unprepared. I’ve never been a “mother-y” person and he was a dyed in the wool rugged individualist. His first reaction was to go off on a single guy skiing trip leaving me alone with the newborn. Then after that didn’t work he asked for his mother to come visit. Later she found that she had been invited in hopes that she would “set me straight”. I guess he wanted me to strap the baby to my back and keep working in the fields figuratively speaking. Suffice it to say, we are no longer together. I never had any more children. I love my daughter and I wouldn’t trade a minute of the experience but it was HARD. Sometimes joyous sometimes terrible.

    I completely agree that having a new baby is an earthquake of great magnitude. It changes everything in the most profound way.

      nicoleaugust responded:
      September 6, 2015 at 7:09 pm

      An earthquake indeed ! I was in the middle of a PhD when my first was born. Never did get back to that ;).

        Renee-Lucie Benoit said:
        September 6, 2015 at 7:27 pm

        yes it’s funny (strange) how things are not gotten back to and other things take over. It’s how it should be. Alfred Stieglitz never let Georgia O’Keefe have kids even though she wanted them desperately. He was a jerk but not for that reason. He knew that she would never be the same artist if she had children.

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