This morning while finishing-up my whole grain Cream of Wheat and blueberry bran muffin (yep, no constipation with this pregnant lady) a Huggies' commercial came across my television screen. A female actress comes running out of what I presume is the bathroom holding a white stick in her hand waving it crazily in the air while screaming to her actor husband who is standing outside of the house, "Honey, we're pregnant." The man comes running into the house hastily grabbing his wife while they shriek with excitement about the new addition coming to their family. I just laughed at the commercial. That was SO not me when I found out I was pregnant.
I spent the first fourteen weeks sulking in agony over the all-day sickness I was having and wallowing in self-pity over every aspect of the life I knew and loved that was going to end when this child I was carrying arrived into the world. I made a decision I would not share our news over any social media site...EVER! My growing belly and expanding waistline, my anger over the pregnancy and the fear of potential miscarriage all lead to a life of misery for the first trimester. In addition, I decided I would not read one blog about becoming a Mom and would absolutely NOT buy "What to Expect When You're Expecting" or any other pregnancy book for that matter. I'm old now, which by default means many women have gone before me on this journey, so I decided to rely on my friends to give me the information I wanted to know once the pregnancy sunk in.
In mid-September I had a meeting in Beaver Creek, CO, where one of my favorite customers told me she read "What To Expect..." front to back and had the whole book memorized by the time her son was born and highly recommended it. That's about the time I felt the baby move for the first time and was able to accept we were going to be parents and truth be known, was actually very excited. At that point I decided to rethink my first trimester boycott on pregnancy materials and devoured everything I could get my hands on...Mommy blogs, Jenny McCarthy's books, Vicki Iovine's "The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy," “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” and I asked every mom I knew what she thought I should know about pregnancy and motherhood. Perhaps this is where I went wrong...
By in large, everything I've read or have been told are horror stories of being pregnant, giving birth and how incredibly "awful" the first part of motherhood really is. What people will say either in conversation or put into writing always begins with, "Let me tell you how it really is..." or “I wish someone would have told me…” If I had a dollar for how many times I've read or heard how someone's husband is a complete "asshole" I would be a millionaire. REALLY? I wouldn't call my husband that name even in our worst argument (after all he is the father of my child and the man I chose to spend my life with). I'm sure some men are unhelpful, especially during the first weeks postpartum, but isn't he trying to adjust to the new life with the child like I am? I would hate to think Gayland is with his friends or typing blogs calling me a “bitch” all the time.
I also keep reading or being told, "Your life will never be the same" or "Breastfeeding is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life" and "The sleep deprivation will just about kill you"...OK! I get it! My life is about to be absolute hell on earth! My bosoms are going to hurt like hell when the milk comes in, sleeping in two hour increments is torturous, the baby is going to cry all the time, etc., etc, etc...shall I continue?
Imagine if, while we were preparing for our trip to New York, all I heard from those that had gone before us was horror stories about the city like.... everything is so expensive, the tables in restaurants are on top of each other, public transportation is scary, the weather is unpredictable, lines at tourist locations are long and unreasonable, New Yorkers are rude and obnoxious, everyone smokes and OH, by the way, you're going to go into labor while you're there, your child will almost die, you will spend the majority of your savings on a 2.5 month extended vacation and be forced to go on bed rest...Yea, we would have really looked forward to that trip! In some cases, ignorance is bliss.
I've spent the last three weeks in my counseling sessions agonizing about all of the negativity I've read and am being told about what is coming our way in the next few weeks! I want to SCREAM from the rooftops, "Can someone PLEASE just tell me what is good about not only childbirth but also this little life that is about to be part of our family?" For those that have paved the path before us on the journey to parenthood, my gosh, tread lightly with all the stories! It's good to tell pregnant women some of the challenges facing us but it's equally important to relay all of the great things that you've encountered with your child/children as well. We (first-time pregos) will read all about how it "really is" in books, blogs, birthing/lactations classes and through our medical professionals. Dang, if it’s that bad why on earth would any body want to have a family? I can hear the naysayers now, “Man, she is so naïve.” GOOD! There’s nothing wrong with a little naivety if things are truly as bad as everyone says they will be.
May I make a recommendation, please? As friends, let the pregos asking the questions know that yes, things will be hard a first but the joy you see when looking into your child's eyes far out weighs all the trials and tribulations you faced. Your kind words might just make this journey a little more enjoyable for those of us still going through it. And for those few women that have told me how great it is to be a Mom, THANK YOU…your kind words are what I hold on to while the rest of the world tells me my life is about to end.