Pregnancy Primer

Dear Dissonance,

Take a deep breath. We knew a baby could happen, the timing is just sooner than anticipated. Granted, it would have been much better if the first pregnancy didn’t arrive until at least a couple years after their marriage as it would have guaranteed fewer children given their age. But we will work with what we have to.

The goal should be to stop them at one child. Not because there is any perfect number of children in Our Father’s mind, but because He wants them to be seen, like a certain Financial Times columnist, mainly as “Cost Centers.”  And I am not just referring to the projected price of college when their little bundle reaches the age of leaving home.

You need to impart to them how important it is to provide every sort of enrichment activity from cradle to 40 something when they might become financially independent. From baby yoga at 12 months to private foreign language and art classes starting at age 3 to SAT tutors at 15 and summer internships in New York City during college that will help to ensure a job at The Huffington Post, where he or she will be guaranteed a career path that will require vast subsidies into perpetuity. And then there are sports, which can require, if the little bundle is any good, thousands annually spent on equipment, summer camps and coaches, from age 7 or so, not to mention thousands of miles traveling to events and  losing weekends and vacations so that their daughter or son can get a scholarship to go to college.  If it is a girl, the dictates of fashion will add another 20 thousand or so.  Uggs are expensive! So are highlights.

And we haven’t even gotten to graduate school.

Under no circumstances must your Patient and her husband view their child primarily as a gift to enjoy simply because being a family is a wonderful thing. The fact that the amount of love in a family often tends to exponentially multiply with each new addition is something Our Father hates and wishes to prevent at all costs. More children also mean more chaos, at least in the early years, and the revelation that it is ultimately impossible to control your life, which undermines our work. Have you noticed, for example, that the size and frequency of poop explosions directly correlates to the cost of the outfit and how late a patient happens to be running?

On the large family note, I wish all copies of “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids” could be removed from bookshelves. Although the “selfish” in the title does invoke one of Our Father’s favorite philosophers, Ayn Rand, the book is a virtual debunking of all the myths we find so useful in convincing people to worry needlessly about all the alleged things that they must do in order to raise a baby into a high functioning adult that contributes to society.

We don’t want people to know most of how children turn out is encoded in their DNA, something the author harps about incessantly. We want them to think how their children turn out has everything to do with their work!

Of course, the book could be taken to mean that a child could spend the equivalent of days each week plastered in front of video games without consequence, which is fine by us. But most of it stresses how

parents should spend more time being with their children than planning their lives for them in a manner that will make retirement financially impossible for the parents.

I’ve found the best book to prepare young mothers is “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” It goes over in quite graphic detail everything that could go wrong and frequently causes high anxiety about things that likely will never happen to her body or her child. The fear mongering doesn’t usually work the second time around, but it can incite hypochondria and obsessive eating habits during the first pregnancy. If you’ve found some new manual that produces the same results, go for it. But that is a classic.

Your affectionate aunt,



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