You Can’t Say They Didn’t Tell You


It’s great to have someone to blame when stuff hits the fan…when they didn’t warn us about the fact that there was even stuff or a fan in the first place.

They, am I right? Group eye roll toward they.

What do they even do with their time if they are not spending it informing us about the things we should know? I bet they are on some beach right now, sipping mimosas and cackling over all of the details about child rearing that they maliciously left out of all of those conversations we never had. They probably see themselves as the cool kids that we say we couldn’t “care less about,” but oh how we think we need them to complete us, to answer all of our questions, to prepare us for the weird and the wild.

We here at MDB want us to lessen our dependency and therefore our anger toward them (them are they’s cousins who we are also mad at). They don’t deserve our time and energy anymore. This is our effort to TAKE BACK OUR LIVES from the miscommunicated and under-informed states that they left us in regarding pregnancy, labor, and postpartum.

Here are (at least some of) the things that they never told you…but we did.

 

Pregnancy:

Sometime during (or before) the third trimester, your belly will get so big that you’ll be unable to see the cup that the OBGYN office makes you pee in…every…time. You will pee on your hand. Accept it. 

-Second and third trimester heartburn can feel like fire is reaching up from within to commandeer your tonsils. Milk makes this worse even if it feels like it is offering some relief for a minute or two. Some natural remedies like wearing loser clothes, taking in some ginger, or eating smaller meals more frequently can do it for some folks. And for the rest of us, things like prevacid are the only saving grace. Oh, and don’t forget to try and get sleep on your left side–we’d explain why this helps but we’re not scientists.

-Epsom salt baths and Berts Bee’s “Mama Bee Belly Butter.” They don’t fix all the foot-swelling or stretch-mark problems but they sure do help.

Can we say, “Hello libido!” The way youth directors used to speak to the raging hormones of fourteen year olds may very well become your personal inner-dialogue during the second trimester. This can be accompanied by all sorts of dreams. Don’t freak out, your body is trying to not implode while it does all sorts of new things to make a human. 

 

Labor:

-“Oh, YOU’LL KNOW” they say. “You’ll know when you’re in labor.” Guess what, folks? If you’ve never been in labor before, ya might not know. Especially if you’re prepared for the onset of labor to cause tension/pain/contractions in the front of your body, and you’re hit with back labor. *Raises hand* For anyone who thinks it is absurd that someone could not know they were in labor, denial is truly common to experience during the early stages, so do not just rely on your instinct to “just know.” And do not feel silly if you’re unsure.

-The saying goes that “A woman becomes a mother when she conceives; a man becomes a father when he holds his child for the first time.” I am here to tell you that when our kid was brought to us all new and swollen, my husband and I both thought, “That one? Is ours?” Sometimes motherhood feels innate and fast and ever-present (or so we’re told). And sometimes it just takes a while (weeks? months?) to feel like a mom (or, mom-ish). As motherhood grows you, motherhood grows in you. You just may not be the “feel-it-from-conception” kind of gal, and you’re in good company.

-Labor is a time warp. Some hours seem like they go buy in seconds, some feel like years. And all of them feel like a blur. Also, everything has changed and there’s no way to understand that. Let yourself off the hook from trying to work it out in your feelings all at once.

-When your midwife or labor-class nurse reads you the statistics about how many women quit breastfeeding within the first few weeks, it’s normal for it not to register that this could be you. Breastfeeding (if that is your hope) is an art/a practice that doesn’t always come naturally. Take advantage of any class or consultant that is made available to you. Make them stay with you, explain things in detail to you, answer all of your questions and concerns. 

Postpartum:

-You may get in your car for the first time after having a baby and notice 4 songs in a row you’ve never heard playing on the radio. You may at this point feel like you’ve been disconnected from the rest of the world and feel a strong desire to be let back in. And you will, my friend. You will be back in action and on the town running errands and other casual adult things soon enough. Do not let yourself believe that your current foggy 24/7 newborn caretaker role is permanent. You’ll soon learn none of this is.

-Some babies just do not care for the rocker at first. We couldn’t recommend registering for an exercise ball more. Both of our households lived on these things for months.

-We’ve polled the audience, and AS IT TURNS OUT, lots of women in early-postpartum wake up in the thick of a panicked “baby in the sheets” dream. Whether you’re co-sleeping or your babe is tucked into the crib/cradle/pack-n-play that is no where near your bedding, many a mom has been known to shoot straight up and begin fumbling around “looking for the baby,” only to find them safe and sound right where they’re supposed to be. So strange. So common.

-Baby eczema/dry skin looks like ring worm; and when the heavy spit-up and drool start, more than likely, that “weird smell” is coming from a “stinky neck.” Coconut oil helps both. Also, coconut oil helps with any keratosis polaris (tiny raised bumps on mom’s arms) that may accompany breast feeding. What we’re trying to say is…what windex is to the dad on My Big Fat Greek Wedding, coconut oil can be for you. 

You may think you’re prepared to be responsible for taking care of a teeny tiny vagina/penis, but then change your mind once faced with the task of cleaning one. Breathe. You’ve got this, champ.

-It will seem as if it will take years for your baby to ever fit in those 9-month footed pajamas that you bought too eagerly in month 2 of pregnancy. And then one day, you need them. And you wonder why it ever seemed like it would be a long-process in the first place.

 

Of course this only scratches the surface on the things for which we find ourselves unprepared. But if we would be willing to jot down the strange and/or untold occurrences and eagerly pass them on to one another (in a way that doesn’t invoke unnecessary anxiety) maybe we can leave them to their beachside shenanigans and have fewer panicked moments in the day-to-days. It’s quite the balance to find between not stirring up fear (since every story is different), not imposing opinions (because there are plenty of those), and not keeping quiet as to play it safe (because, that’s what they do). Let’s try to find it together.

Feel free to comment below with the good, the bad, and the weird that you wish they would have shared!

 

Katie & Britney
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3 Comments

Annie
Reply November 17, 2015

ANNIE

Reply November 17, 2015
I wish they would've told me that breastfeeding hurts like a son of a gun. Yeah, they're all about, "It's best for the baby.. it's natural..," But they left out the teeth gnashing pain you suffer through when he latches on the first few hundred times while your nipples are "toughening up."
I also wish they would've told me that when it's time to nurse, the time is NOW. No five minute delays allowed. Ready or not, here it comes, and if he's just about to latch on, but you're still fumbling around trying to master the football hold, it will shoot him right in the eye.

JCFRYER
Reply November 17, 2015

Another I'd add to the post-partum section: NIGHT SWEATS! (Good gosh the night sweats)

Alice'
Reply November 18, 2015

Yes to the weird dreams about rolling onto the baby. Our little one didn't sleep in our bed and I still had these nightmares
I have some to add:
1- didn't know that pregnancy was 10 months, not "nine" as they say.
2- didn't know that breastfeeding would take an hour each time for the first 3859294949939 weeks
3- didn't know how much it would hurt my feelings that you count the start of the feeding and not the end of the feeding as "last time fed" ... So when baby nurses a whole hour and then eats every 2-2.5 hours.... It means you have maybe an hour to... I don't know... Shower, eat, use the bathroom, clean, do anything at all!

Thanks, THEY!

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