Many people spend life fearing parenthood – whether they will be up to the task of suddenly becoming a perfect, selfless being or, more likely, they will often find themselves falling short.
Giving birth doesn’t automatically make you a good parent, after all. It merely marks the moment that you find yourself, child in tow, trying to suss out which way is up and which way is down.
New mothers who doubt themselves may find solace in Amy Schumer’s example – the comedian appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers, shrugging off that she considers herself not to be an “instinctive parent”. When Seth Meyers asked Schumer if she was a good parent, she responded: “actually, no,” before detailing how Natalie Portman once reassured her not to worry, saying her parenting instinct would soon kick in.
Unfortunately, the moment doesn’t seem to have happened yet. “What I am realizing now is Natalie Portman is a huge liar,” joked Schumer. “All of my instincts are just dead wrong.”
And then Schumer joked about that unforgettable moment when, last summer, she admitted to having almost called her child “genital”. Luckily – in an unseen-before case of trolls doing something good for the world – she quickly realized her mistake when, after happily introducing “Gene Attell” to the world, she was laughed at by an internet stranger for naming her kid after a sex organ.
Schumer and her husband had given their son the middle name Attell, after the comedian David Attell, but didn’t realize its likeness to the part of the human anatomy until they said it out loud. “Why didn’t you just name him ballsack weiner?” laughs Schumer, recounting the incident. (Gene’s middle name is now, perhaps more appropriately, David.)
Schumer went on to explain on Late Night that she and her husband sneak out of the house when leaving their baby with the nanny, so as not to scare him – which she now realizes isn’t advisable. “Page one of this [parenting] book is literally like, ‘Whatever you do, don’t sneak out. That’s really bad for your child,’” she said.
“My instincts are really poor, but you just have to live and learn,” she explains – recounting other lessons she wishes she had learned earlier, like how her child melting down in the middle of the playground would soon become behavior she would be desensitized to. Luckily, she is also able to lean on her friends for support. Hopefully she will call them to check before naming any future children, too.
Good on you, Amy. Not just for being honest about the difficulties of parenthood – one in seven women experience mood disorders after giving birth – but proving to everyone out there that instinct is overrated, and skills can always be learned. Even if you call your children “genital” by accident.