Ah, to be pregnant for the first time. I was never around children or babies very much, and any time I was, I would pick apart the parents and decide that I would be, like SO WAY BETTER than them. Riiiight. All of us mommies have been there I’m sure. You are pregnant so that makes you an expert. Of course, it’s great to have ideas and things that are important to you. These are the things that I romanticized about pregnancy and parenthood.
1. I want a natural childbirth please, no drugs because I can so take the pain! And sure, I probably could have taken the pain. But it was really, really terrible, and I promise you that literally nothing on this earth can prepare you for it. It feels like nothing else. I was so set on the fact that I would not need an epidural. I had done my “research” which basically meant I had read a ton of books on natural, drug free births. The books make childbirth seem like this magical rite of passage that you’ll just get through because, hey, it’s magic. They don’t tell you that your blood pressure might be through the roof, which mine was of course. As soon as I got my epidural it went down to a normal range, and I’m so glad that I got it. If your blood pressure remains high for an extended period of time, you could have to get a C section, which I definitely did not want. The epidural was truly AH-MAZING. I didn’t feel them break my water with the knitting needle thing that looks horrible, and then actually pushing her out just felt like a really huge poo you can’t get out, which you have a lot of practice with during pregnancy anyway.
2. Pushing her out won’t be that hard. I mean, birth is so natural, it’s what we are meant to do! WRONG. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. More difficult, I’m sure, than running a marathon, though I can’t be sure on that because I’m way too lazy to ever run a marathon. I pushed for about two hours if I’m not mistaken, and it was so exhausting. And then the baby comes and you get no sleep.
3. Breastfeeding will be so easy for me. People make it out to be worse than it is. No. No. No. They make it out to be what it is, which is TERRIBLE. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. The LLL book, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, made me feel like it would be a piece of cake, that baby shoots outta ya, and ya stick her on yer boob! And she just eats! And while it did seem super easy at first, then it started to hurt. And your nipples bleed. And then your boobs get porn star huge and sore and you wish you didn’t even have boobs in the first place. And then your baby is like, “um there isn’t enough food in these puppies so I’m just going to go ahead and lose a whole pound of my body weight in three days, okay?” So then you have to supplement with formula. And then you discover your baby likes the bottle nipples a lot and she doesn’t want to use your flat actual nipples anymore, sorry! All the while you’re all bloody and crusty and you dread every time she has to eat (which is every two hours or less.) It all just felt so hopeless. And I never made enough milk so I had to switch to formula, which brings me to my next point.
4. Moms who feed their babies formula are terrible and don’t care about their babies! Your baby is still getting all of her nutrients, so really what is the big deal? All the literature and doctors and even the formula can try to guilt you for doing what you have to do to feed your kid. But I will tell you, it’s nothing to lose any sleep over. Trust me, Hazel was much happier to have a full belly than to be hungry because my body physically could not keep up with her.
5. I will never sleep with my baby. I tried having her sleep in a bassinet. But what I didn’t realize, was newborns make a lot of noise! I knew that if I didn’t try bed sharing, that I would never be able to sleep again. She slept like an angel curled up next to me! And it did make it slightly easier to feed her in the middle of the night. David slept in another room, and by the time she was four weeks old, she was sleeping on her own in the crib. Now of course, you want to do your research on this topic, but at the end of the day, it’s what works best for you and your family.
What were you delusional about before you were a mom? There are probably a million more things, but this is a solid list to look back on when I’m ready for baby number two!
Here is a hospital pic for your viewing pleasure:
© Carli Garrison and cllgarrison, 2014.