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Every team form pushed under my nose for a signature nowadays includes an Anti-Hazing Policy: No imposition of strenuous, often humiliating tasks, risking emotional and physical harm, in an erroneous effort to create team unity. Zero Tolerance. No exceptions. And I completely agree. I’m 100% on board. There’s absolutely no place for hazing in a civilized society!
I wish someone would tell that to my newborns.
Including the pregnancy, my newborns haze me the better part of two years. Something about esprit de corps…I’m not sure anymore. Its’ been a while since I’ve slept.
Pregnancy is only the first phase in rushing. The word “rush” feels ironic because nine months never lasted so long. They make you buy all new, ill-fitting clothes, humiliate you with 24/7 compression socks, and compromise your bladder just because they can.
Their soirees are top notch. They literally shower you with gifts so cute, so darling, soooo sooooft, you’ll be drinking the Kool-Aid in no time. (You can only hope the Kool-Aid is spiked with MyraLax.)
As for phase two, well…I needn’t go into the details of labor and delivery except to return to the original definition of hazing: strenuous, often humiliating tasks, risking emotional and physical harm. Check, check and check.
Even after all the blinding pain of heavy labor, all the indignities you’ll suffer, full-fledged membership isn’t handed out so easily. Your newborn has a few more tricks up his folded over cuff to ensure you’re really “all in.” More hazing is on the horizon cute mama! No exceptions.
I watched the miniseries “Hornblower” during my first pregnancy. During Horatio Hornblower’s initiation as a midshipmen in the Royal British Navy, he was roused from sleep every 30 minutes during the night to teach him a lesson. How cruel! My baby was taking notes. Three months of no REM sleep is amateur hour. Don’t take it personally. She just needs to know if you’ll be able to handle staying up all night when her cough sounds like a barking seal, or if you can wait up for her on prom night, and still look refreshed in the morning.
Newborns wait until you are somewhere public with no easy, viable exits before they wail and scream and watch your milk let down in excess. Ha-ha, very funny. Don’t worry, they are just checking for resourcefulness. Is your diaper bag planned for every contingency? They need to know you’ll always have both a plan B and C for the early days of toilet training so neither of you ever misses a pool party, or a connecting flight.
During that first year of life, he’ll roll over unexpectedly to check your reflexes. She’ll descend stairs for the first time solo, just to see how you’ll react in a crisis. Any and all food will get pushed off the highchair tray simply to verify you’re the kind of woman who follows through on her word. All this so your baby is certainbeyond any doubt you can keep your cool when he forgets his science project, crashes the car, or be patient enough when she’s not ready to talk yet and simply needs a hug.
This is not mean-spirited hazing for the sake of a laugh at your expense. If that baby doesn’t have you completely bought in to keeping her alive and happy, then how will she feel safe vomiting in your bed in another five years?
Around the first birthday, if all goes well, you’re in. The secret snuggle, the whole bit. You’ll have shown you’re a team player, worthy of trust. There will be no question you are willing to die for this cause. The hazing will indeed subside. (Unless, of course, that adorable cherub can sell you on another go.)
But, believe it or not, you’re still only rank and file in the sisterhood. To earn the coveted status in the upper echelons of the organization, that baby will need to have a baby of her own. Seems fair. After all, we are civilized.