First, I must admit that I have a dirty secret. Brace yourself... I love bad reality TV. I love all of it. Real World, Real Housewives, Jerseylicious, ::insert any VH1 bad dating show::, and finally 16 and Pregnant.
I can't explain what sucks me in, but I have also gotten Mike somewhat addicted to 16 and Pregnant. I don't know if it's because I was or was trying to get pregnant when theses shows aired, but we must watch every week. It's like a train wreck sometimes, you know the ending and it's not pretty, but you're still interested in how it happened and all the details.
I think it was 2 weeks ago, there was this straight A, award winning student who got pregnant. There was a scene where she and her 17 year old boyfriend were discussing how life would be after they graduated high school, got married, and moved into married housing at a state college to raise their baby. Their conversation went something like this:
Mom: How do you think it will be when we move into married housing at college?
Dad: I think it will be good.
Mom: Are you nervous about anything? We've never taken care of a baby before, neither of us really know what we're doing.
Dad: I'm sure your maternal instincts will kick in.
::Insert hysterical laughing:: These kids are in for a BIG surprise.
Parenting doesn't really fall under instinct in my book. I had visions of all of my "what the heck am I supposed to do?" moments in these first few weeks. Many which left me covered in poop, pee, or breastmilk - or holding a crying baby while consulting a baby book or a more experienced mother. The same situation could present itself twice in one day, and I'll do the exact opposite the second time. That's the thing with these babies, you don't have any clue what they are trying to tell you when they are screaming - the decisions I make feel more like guesses than instinct.
Not to mention all of the "new" fandangled equipment one must have to raise a baby these days. I don't know if I'd be able to use most of it without an instruction manual. It took me 20 minutes to figure out how to get the baby into my baby carrier - and I had instructions with pictures and everything. I actually started crying at the police station because I couldn't get the car seat out of the base when I was having the installation checked for safety. On voting day, I put the car seat in my Snap n Go backwards in front of a group of onlookers.
My instincts don't seem to lead me in the right directions when it comes to baby equipment.
Now I know I'm probably more of a planner and researcher than most parents, but I check Google or a baby book at least 6 times a day to make sure that I'm doing something "right." If I left everything to maternal instincts I'd be lost or a complete basketcase and my mother would probably have to change her phone number.
So, the lesson that I learned from these 16 year olds is that I'm glad I was 26 and pregnant - and not leaving parenting to my instincts or help from my 17 year old boyfriend. :)