Early in December I discovered that I was pregnant. In retrospect their were plenty of symptoms I should have picked up on but having had a nightmarish November they were missed. Nick and I greeted the news of our future child with the usual amount of jubilation and horror. It is easily the scariest real-life thought there is to know that you will be responsible for an entire human. It will be our job to feed, bathe, and teach her everything – and perhaps most importantly not let her grow up to be an asshole person. No pressure…
It’s wonderful when you sort of feel like an adult. You think you have your shit together as you get up and go to work, ensure your bills are paid on time and plan our your nightly meals. There is nothing that will pop your delusions of adulthood like the prospect of a baby. Suddenly you are 17 and unaware of how to do anything. You are stuck wondering how on earth you are supposed to take care of another life when you can barely remember to floss regularly. There must be some mistake, because there is no way I can be someone’s mother. But I will be, and there is a ton of joy that accompanies that knowledge as well.
I read somewhere that a woman becomes a mother the minute she learns she is pregnant. There is nothing on this planet that is more true. Immediately I felt connected to the life growing within me. She instantly became the single most important person in my life. Going to the doctor became exciting as we got to learn her gender, hear her heartbeat, watch her swim around inside me. I find myself looking around our home and wondering how I can make it better and more suitable for my little person. I speculate as to who she will look like and I absolutely melt over my husband speaking to my belly to his “little princess” as he is already wrapped around her finger. I find myself worrying more and more about the state of the world now that I am preparing to bring a person into it. I will spend hours standing around in baby stores wondering how to chose what products will be the best for my child.
There are so many decisions to make and I have this fear that I will somehow screw up, because in some way or another all people seem to feel that their parents screwed them up. Maybe that is just unavoidable – that by trying not to, I inevitably will. Some days I feel bad because of how much I am not enjoying pregnancy. I love my daughter, but being pregnant is not fun. I am tired constantly. I often find myself sick for no reason. My abdomen is covered in stretch marks, and my boobs are always sore. I find it increasingly difficult to bend, or get up, or get comfortable. My legs, feet and hands are always swollen. Most of all I find myself hating women who tell me how wonderful pregnancy is and how much they enjoyed it and I should too. Women who throw shade at you if you are anything less than thrilled with being in pain and sick all of the time.
The very worst part of being pregnant is all of the sanctimonious, opinionated moms out there.
The people who love to explain in detail how their birth plan was the only way to go. How every decision they ever made from the minute their kid came out was 123% right and should you voice an opinion that differs you are clearly unfit to even be pregnant. for example:
Sanctimonious mom- I only breastfed until my child was 31 months. Breastfeeding is the easiest way to raise smart healthy children. Are you going to breastfeed?
Me – Well, I plan on trying it. I’ve heard it doesn’t work for everyone, some moms just can’t. My own mother couldn’t, so I don’t know if its a genetic thing or what. I figure I will give it a shot but if it doesn’t work I’m okay with that too. Also, even if it does work I will probably supplement formula at certain times, since that will hold her over for longer.
Sanctimonious Mom (Looking horrified) – No. You need to breastfeed. People who say they couldn’t just didn’t try hard enough. By not breastfeeding you are depriving yourself and the baby or precious bonding experiences. And you should never ever supplement. Formula is full of things that are terrible for your child and blah blah blah
Generally I do not take to heart the nonsense that people say. Giving your child formula is not a gateway drug to heroine. It will not turn them into a serial killing pervert. I know because, like I said my mother was unable to breastfeed and I, along with my siblings, was bottle fed. We all grew up to be normal to the point of being mundane. Like I said, I will give it a try, but I will not put so much pressure on myself that I end up with Postpartum Depression if I am unable. The bullshit doesn’t end with breastfeeding either. I have already had to endure hours of unsolicited advice from moms who know better than everyone. Women who are downright horrified if your plan doesn’t match their expert advice.
The best advice I have gotten so far was from a friend who said “Fuck everyone’s advice, unless you were seeking it. Do what you think is right and you’ll be fine. Just like every mom since the dawn of time.”
I think that’s the advice I’ll follow.