Mama’s “real” truth about pregnancy

I have a bone to pick with modern-day mom blogs and advice-givers. Thankfully, I now have a sassy soapbox on which to stand, so I’m certain millions will flock to the sound of my typing.

And I will now pick the bone that is pregnancy advice. As, after birthing two children, I am clearly an expert of medical-level prowess.

Before I had George, I was a writer at our local university. I wrote stories about fancy alumni in the hopes they would feel nostalgic about their college days and give money. It was a glamorous life that I led…from a dark, dingy cubicle. I had cool coworkers and some interesting stories and events to cover, so those were the light in my cubicle cave. However, because we had to treat our fancy story subjects with kid gloves (in case they were offended by anything and stopped donating! heavens!), my stories were very few and far between. Therefore, Mama had hours, days, weeks “pretending” to work very diligently on a story that wasn’t due for…weeks or months. (Dear former boss, if you happen to read this, I sincerely thank you for the paycheck!)

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Aww, sweet baby Mama and Dada. Brace yourselves! George is a’comin’!

I soon decided that as long as I finished my work (and finished it reasonably well), the rest of the time was my own. I tried not to stray too far on the internet, but when I found myself pregnant (and sneak-binging ginger ale and saltines), I started consuming mom blogs to prepare myself for pending childbirth and kid raisin’.

What soon-to-be mom can resist a click-bait article about the “real truth” behind pregnancy? Or “23 moms share the truth about childbirth!” Not me! I gave many, many mom blogs and women’s websites clicks and stat bumps as I rubbernecked other women’s horrifying experiences. I quit working the week before George was born, so I spent nine months (actually 10 months, as all moms know) absorbing baby info like a sweet, naive sponge.

And do you know the result?

I learned supposedly everyone used to sugar-coat pregnancy with joy and rainbows, but now we’re more modern and all-knowing and honest, so we’ll share every dirty, ugly, or terrifying detail of our bodies, our pregnancies, and our childbirths.

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Why are you outside? Zika-laden mosquitoes are lurking!

I began taking in all of this information with a growing sense of apprehension and dismay. Was I about to go through H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks to bring a baby into the world? Would my epidural cause paralysis? Would all of my hair fall out? Was I destined to get hemorrhoids? If I get stung by the wrong mosquito, would I get Zika and have a baby with an unformed skull? (Y’all. I live in Florida. The mosquitoes were bound to track me down at some point.) Terrifying, scary, worrisome.

But everything was presented with such authority, such know-it-all-ness. I didn’t know what to take seriously. If it was all so ugly, why did anyone ever have a baby?

And, inevitably, the “articles” (I think this term is too “official” for blog posts. Please don’t reference any of my posts with “I read in an article…” as that gives Mama too much authority) would trash and bash the husbands, who clearly couldn’t have a clue what their baby mamas were experiencing. It was all so very self-centered and negative.

Here’s an abbreviated list of things I was expected to expect during my baby-growing saga:

  1. My husband would become an out-of-touch moron.
  2. Complete strangers would touch me in weird, inappropriate ways.
  3. Other strangers would give offensive, unwelcome advice.
  4. I should take offense if anyone EVER presumed to assume that I was pregnant, even when I began rivaling the size of a small farm animal.
  5. I would be sick 24/7.
  6. I will be a psychotic, hormonal hot mess.
  7. My body would be changed forever…for the worse.
  8. “Just wait” because everything would be 100 times worse when the baby actually arrived.

I get it, y’all. I like to be funny too (and my mom thinks I’m funny, so there’s that). It’s fun being the “older sister” who gets to share vast amounts of wisdom with terrified, deer-in-headlights newbie moms.

B.U.T.

Dear goodness.

Can we please tone it down?

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This took a lot of “George! Show Dada your belly button!”

Yes, obviously, your pregnancy and childbirth can go terribly wrong. They rarely, if ever, go according to your perfectly laid out plan. But, in the end, you get a baby.

I feel like this is such an obvious statement, but it’s brushed over or left out completely in many “tell-all,” f-bomb-filled pregnancy rants.

Ladies. You have the unique gift of bearing a child. I’m not going to tell you it’s all jellybeans and roses, but what an incomprehensible event! I’ve given birth twice and breastfed 1.5 times, and I still have no idea what happened and how it happened. I make my biologist husband explain the finer points periodically to try to grasp the miracle. A separate human (who vaguely looks like me) grew inside my body (who knew there was room?) and came out whole. I believe 100% that God created each speck of that process, and I will forever be in awe.

I was fortunate in both of my pregnancies, as I didn’t have months of nausea or other complications and childbirth was fairly routine. With Olivia, I had pubic symphysis dysfunction (it’s super sexy–look it up), and I had low milk supply with both babies. Yes, those were both problems, but still! Still.

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Wait. Where did you come from?

In other news, I routinely feel a deep sense of relief and comment to my husband how thrilled I am that I’m not currently pregnant and dreading the impending childbirth. Childbirth is, by far, the most painful and worst thing that has ever happened to my body. I swap childbirth stories with other women as if we were in war together. I get it. It’s tough, and I like proving that I’m a strong woman (who accidentally had natural childbirth with Olivia because I didn’t get to the hospital soon enough. Again–NOT THE PLAN).

I’m just tired of everyone screaming about how scary and horrifying it is. That might not be your story. It definitely wasn’t mine. Yes, talk to your doctor about possible issues you could have. Yes, talk to your girlfriends about their experiences, but take everything with a grain of salt. Your experience will be unique, as will each of your pregnancies and labors. If we all go around glooming and dooming and terrifying the sweet, panicked moms-to-be, what’s the point of that?

*Steps off soapbox and plans next post to be about innocuous board books and nursery rhymes*

I’d love to hear your feedback. Did the “dark side of pregnancy” posts help you? Did they make you feel more nervous?

Mama is now on Twitter! Come follow me as I figure out some tweetin’ or Instagrammin’.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Erin says:

    Great post—full of so much truth. I think that more than anything, other people had stories that made me (more) nervous. … stories of epidurals making legs numb for days, stories of pushing for four hours…I was not any more prepared from listening to what happened to other people. Thankfully neither of my birth stories had anything too exciting or terrible. But I wasted a lot of time worrying about all the “what if’s”! I think we’ve now crossed the fine line between not sharing enough to sharing too much, sometimes. Not sure if I think it’s good or bad.

    Like

  2. K says:

    I get where you are coming from and pregnancy truly is a beautiful thing. At the same time, the gloss over articles are what bother me most. My “easy labors” we’re still hard labors. I just spent nearly 3 months recovering from an epidural injury and during that period of time my newborn had to have surgery. I was sick as a dog for the first 17.5 weeks then had pubic symphasis dysfunction. I don’t think the problem is that people share the dark side of pregnancy. The problem is people reading about it freak out. It’s smart to go into pregnancy knowing how hard it can be while at the same time being in awe of the miraclulous beauty that is pregnancy, labor, and delivery. I think every mom will agree that in the end it’s beyond worth it to have a precious baby. But there is no shame is admitting that your experience getting there wasn’t rainbows and sunshine

    Liked by 1 person

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