Propaganda – Francesca Cassavetti’s The Most Natural Thing In The World
The Most Natural Thing In The World # 1 – 4
by Francesca Cassavetti.
The most natural thing in the world is, of course, having children. But what I always thought when I became a father is that if it’s so bloody natural why is it so bloody difficult to do right? Why is there so much to remember and why, oh why, is there always at least two conflicting views on any problem you may have? But I never had The Most Natural Thing In The World where Francesca Cassavetti takes us, in the space of four short self published comics, through every stage of early parenthood, from first meetings to pregnancy, birth and the subsequent misery and horror of becoming first time parents.
This is far better than any self help guide. Think of it as an essential Rough Guide to having a baby. There’s none of the rubbish normally associated with the whole thing, none of this talk of the wonder of being parents, none of the joys of preganancy and childbirth. This is a parents 101 with all the terrible and important details left in.
(The moment it all starts. A chance encounter that will completely mess up your life. From The Most Natural Thing In The World by Francesca Cassavetti.)
Issue 1 is all about the terrible time once you decide that having a baby is what you are going to do, when sex suddenly becomes a chore and all you really want is a night off without ovulation charts. Of course, as we find out in issue 2, once you are pregnant there’s the trauma of getting ready for the event and trying to prepare yourself. And then there’s the incredible excitement of being new parents. This lasts until just after you get home and shut the door. The realisation that you and you alone have to look after this little thing is absolutely horrifying. But cope you do, you must.
(Francesca and baby. A complete blank, all yours. The tentative “Hello” capturing that moment of terrifying realisation perfectly)
Through all four issues Francesca nails it all perfectly, every emotion, every fear. You don’t have to be a parent to appreciate this comic, but it certainly helps – I can remember doing so many of the things in here for myself, whether it was the ante-natal classes with the pushy dads or taking baby home and being terrified that you just cannot cope or that moment, late at night when you lie completely silent waiting for baby to breathe. Babies seem to have an inate sense of timing hen it comes to this. They can deliberately breathe very quietly and erratically just so new parents start panicking. Poking baby does prove they’re still breathing but does ruin a good night’s rest.
But eventually, after many, many horrible moments, an ability to wear vomit like it’s a new fashion trend, complete lack of sleep and a feeling that you are about to lose your mind everything suddenly becomes easier, the world makes sense once more and you achieve some sort of parental nirvana where everything in your household is at one. Or perhaps not. Maybe, you feel just like 99% of us that something has gone terribly wrong and you’re just not in control anymore:
Of course, I’d hate to leave you thinking there’s nothing to be gained by having children. It is, of course, not only the most natural thing, but also the most wonderful thing in the world. I love my little girl dearly, always have, always will. But that doesn’t mean I’m blind to the utter horror of those early days. And neither is Francesca. In these comics she manages to give every new and prospective parent very important lessons in what to do (and what not to do). And at the end of it all, the message is simple, keep going, keep going, it does get better and it is worth it.
The Most Natural Thing In The World is a lovely, informative and downright funny look at those most difficult times. Perfect reading for those 4am moments when little one has decided that they want you awake desperately trying to figure out what it is that they want. And although any book of this kind has obvious parallels to Andi Watson’s Little Star it’s nice to get a uniquely female perspective upon the whole mess that is parenthood.