Kids Health

Watch: Breaking the silence around parenting taboos

While parenting is challenging, nobody prepares you for the sense of isolation and loneliness that can come with it. This funny and honest talk lifts the silence around some parenting taboos.

Parenting is nothing like what it’s portrayed to be in picture perfect spreads in glossy magazines. Parents to three boys, Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman, who run the website Babble, expose facts that parents never admit to in this funny and moving TED Talk.

Volkman recalls being swamped by a feeling of loneliness soon after giving birth the first time and asking her sister, a mother of three kids, why she hadn’t warned her about the feelings of isolation she experienced. She tells us, “And she said — I’ll never forget – ‘It’s just not something you want to say to a mother that’s having a baby for the first time’.” It can be lonely having a baby and that’s one taboo no one talks about, according to the couple.

Another taboo is about expecting to fall in love with your baby at first sight, but nobody prepares you for when that doesn’t happen. They have charted their feelings for their children over time, they tell us. Says Griscom, “was overwhelmed with love and affection for my wife, with deep, deep gratitude that we had what appeared to be a healthy child. And it was also, of course, surreal. …But what I felt towards the child at that moment was deep affection, but nothing like what I feel for him now, five years later.”

The couple also address the taboo against talking about miscarriage. Griscom informs us that “15 to 20 percent of all pregnancies result in miscarriage, and I find this astounding. In a survey, 74 percent of women said that miscarriage, they felt, was partly their fault, which is awful. And astoundingly, 22 percent said they would hide a miscarriage from their spouse.”

Talking about her personal experience, Volkman shared, “I really wanted to crawl into a hole, and I didn’t really know how I was going to work my way back into my surrounding community.” She talked about stumbling into this “secret society” of women whose stories she came across. “And I think, miscarriage is an invisible loss. There’s not really a lot of community support around it. There’s really no ceremony, rituals, or rites. And I think, with a death, you have a funeral, you celebrate the life, and there’s a lot of community support, and it’s something women don’t have with miscarriage.”

Go ahead and listen to the enlightening talk that breaks parenting taboos!

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