Giuliana Rancic outraged mothers this week when she made the controversial statement that she puts her marriage ahead of her nine month old son Duke.
She stated that she feels her husband Bill may be a better father than her and that kids do better in homes with happy parents, so she makes her marriage her first priority.
A lot of women stated that Rancic, who was famously open about her struggles to conceive (Duke was delivered by gestational surrogate), should be more grateful for her son, and that she should be the world’s most doting mom and shouldn’t have any struggles to bond, etc. This reminded me of when my best friend got pregnant with her son after years of struggles to conceive. While sitting with me and another friend, she said she couldn’t wait for her son to be born because she hated being pregnant. Once she left, the other friend said how my best friend was “sick” for not revelling in the pregnancy that she had longed for and if it were HER having the baby, she would relish every second that she was carrying her little one.
This begs the question; are parenting struggles reserved for women who can conceive easily? I can freely admit that I hated every single second that I was pregnant. From the moment I peed on that stick from the moment that each of my daughters were born, I loathed being pregnant. I was tired, sore, I barfed a lot and often ended up on bedrest. It wasn’t fun. My best friend struggled to gain weight, had horrible morning sickness and food aversions. She was pregnant throughout a hot summer in a house with no air conditioning. It wasn’t terribly fun.
Rancic’s admission that she currently feels that her husband has bonded to their son more is honest. She mentioned that as Duke grows, it may be different. However, we need to stop putting pressure on women who struggle to become mothers and try to make them perfect mothers. We’re all human. Moms who have a child via IVF are just as prone to PPD. Moms who have a child via surrogate may suffer from the same anxiety that people who adopt have; the idea that it’s harder to bond because they didn’t have the “joy” of carrying him or her. Rancic’s point that children fare better in homes where parents have a happy marriage is true. Could she have worded it better? Absolutely. But, the Rancics are committed to keeping their relationship together for each other and for Duke and that should be commended.
However a child comes into the world, parenting a child full time is still a hard job. It’s not always easy and it’s not always exactly as you imagined and sometimes your co-parent might handle a certain age or stage better than you. There’s no shame in being honest about these things. Just because it was harder to create the child, doesn’t mean you are obligated to somehow parent flawlessly, with no qualms, concerns, or anxiety. That’s just silly.