Finding out you’re expecting is HUGE news. It is shocking. (if you’re like me and not planning it). It is exciting. It is a ton of emotions wrapped into one. So where do you turn for info on what to expect when you’re expecting? Ding ding ding. “what to expect when you’re expecting”. Yes, that is literally what it is called. I remember the day my significant other & I went to Barnes and noble and I scoured the shelves for self-help pregnancy books (and a book of names to help us decide what we would name our little one). There were not a ton of options, but the one the stuck out the most and was rated all over the web was the most obvious choice, what to expect when you are expecting. Prior to the haul to Barnes & Noble, I did my research and found it is apparently the bible of pregnancy. Some may say this book answered their every concern, but I on the other hand found it to be daunting and somewhat a waste of money. Not to mention it provided info that left me worried and then it didn’t share some info that would certainly have been great to know prior to labor.
Partial Myth #1:
Your baby must kick 10 times within 30 minutes. Of course, you need to make sure your baby is moving throughout the day; however, it scares the sh*t out of you when you’re reading you need to feel your child kick 10 times within 30 minutes or call your doctor immediately. I cannot even begin to explain how many times I literally panicked and called the doctor every time I thought my child had not kicked those tiny little feet (that often feel like someone is “ghetto stompin’ your rib cage) 10 entire times. I would often find myself thinking “was that a kick? Nope. I think that might have been my stomach growling”. “Oh wait, there it was! That was a kick”. “Ugh, nope that was just the vibrations of my surround sound blasting another gunshot watching Chicago PD”.
To feel this constant stress of wondering has your baby notified you 10 times he/she is well and literally “kickin”, is far too much for a mommy-to-be to feel day in and day out. So, stop believing everything you hear or read, because the last thing you want is to put yourself into early labor from feeling stressed that your little one is not kicking enough. Pop a few candies or a glass (or two) of orange juice if you’re feeling concerned, and I promise you will feel your baby doing summer saults and if for some reason after trying these things does not wake your resting baby, then of course it is definitely recommended to call your doctor! As you get further along in your pregnancy you become aware of normalcies for your body and what is the daily normal movement of your baby and you will certainly know when something is not right to you. Even if that means you did not count 10 entire movements.
Partial Myth #2:
Get lots of rest while you can during pregnancy. Rest is essential during and after pregnancy, but from my initial experience of mommy hood, I have realized rest after baby arrives is 100% MORE IMPORTANT than before baby arrives and let me tell you why:
Imagine a night out drinking with your friends, getting two hours of sleep and heading into your 9-5 job and that is how it feels when you have to wake up in the middle of the night to feed your newborn child. I thought I knew what exhaustion was from feeling it for 9 months straight, but until the night after I had my son, I had NO IDEA. I truly began to feel as if I were hallucinating. I began to slur my words. I could hardly keep one eye open, but I had to. I had to feed my new baby. I had to hold him. I had to soothe him to sleep. I had to keep him close. If I could get ONE person to take my advice, it would be the exact opposite of what books/articles tell you. I would advise, stay active during pregnancy! Of course, rest is crucial in developing a healthy child, but I truly believe my willingness to push the limits of being super active lead to an “easier” labor. No, I am not saying labor is easy, because it is the furthest thing from it. All I am saying is, if I laid in bed all the time I found myself feeling worse. More morning sickness. More exhausted. More depressed. More anxious. More impatient. I felt the happiest and most energetic when I was active, getting out of the house and doing anything other than resting. & I can certainly attest to the fact that hiking 5 miles up a mountain at 32 weeks pregnant and walking 10+ miles throughout NYC at almost 35 weeks pregnant, is highly effective when you’re ready for your little one to finally join the fam. I believe my baby arrived approximately 2 weeks later and I believe mommy was so active that baby wanted to join in on all the fun outside of the womb. I remember being out of breath from all the exercising and thought that was true exhaustion, but again, I was wrong until I felt it hit me in the face like a train.
Partial Myth #3:
Epidurals will make labor and delivery pain free and smooth. Wrong. Now, again, I am no doctor, but now that I have had my own child and actually received an epidural, I recommend to not believe everyone that says they have had an epidural and it made labor and delivery “enjoyable”. Not to say that it doesn’t happen, but fun fact that I learned DURING LABOR, apparently, epidurals are not effective 10% of the time and lucky for me, I fell into that statistic and got to feel NATURAL LABOR at its finest.
Honestly, it hurt. REALLY BAD. EXTREMLY BAD. Like a thousand knives were stabbing you in the gut and lady parts over. and over. and over. What hurt and was even more uncomfortable, the catheter. Forewarning to all mothers-to-be, something else the doctor failed to mention prior to labor, you must get a catheter when you request an epidural. Don’t get me wrong. It worked at first. I felt only what seemed like period cramps that were extreme. But when it was time to push, that sucker wore off immediately and it was too late for the doc to adjust and re-do. It has been 6 months since my labor and still to this day I have back pain on occasion in the exact spot that I received my epidural. I can honestly say if and when baby #2 comes, I will not request an epidural, as the likelihood of it failing again is very high.
Give it two months and you will forget what the pain even felt like in the first place. All the more reason to go el natural! Plus, you will gain bragging rights, as your significant other will see just how much of a bada*s you really are! I am not sure if it were the screams, my facial expressions or a combination of both, but my fiancé finally admitted I am tougher than he ever imagined. It is nice to remind your significant other every day who the BOSS is and WHY we are the boss. (Imma boss, imma boss babe niki minaj voice).
See me inserting a cool rap lyric to revert back to 15 years from now to show my son, I’m not a regular parent, I am a cool parent!
Partial Myth #4:
Co Sleeping is a No No. Yes, this is true, partially. Before I was a parent, I always said I will NEVER let my child sleep in my bed. Honestly, my child has been the best sleeper since the day he came home from the hospital, that was up until recently. He suddenly decided he did not like to be put down or off of mommy/daddys chest. We refused to put him in the “bed” with us and tried multiple times to let him “cry it out”. Frist off, if you are a parent, how can you stand to hear your baby scream? For one, it is ANNOYING, if you say otherwise, you might be crazier than the rest of us. Two, it is heartbreaking. You feel terrible and just want to make your baby feel better. After many nights of pure exhaustion, I picked my son up, put him on my chest in bed and went to sleep. Guess what? The sleep gods spoke good sleep into existence & my son slept more peaceful than he had in weeks! It was the next day I finally realized why some parents do co-sleep. They do it for their own sanity. They do it because how can anyone expect you to take care of not only yourself, but a tiny new human if you’re falling asleep during a 3am feeding. There is certainly a truth of when I think co-sleeping is a big NO. For instance, in the first 4 months of life when your baby cannot lift their head, or roll from belly to back, I would be scared to death to put my baby on my chest or in bed, but once they are able to lift their heads and roll over, I do not see the harm. (As long as you’re sleeping safely with him in between you, & have built a replica of the great wall of china to ensure he cannot roll into the padded pillow floor you have now created in your room). In the few nights that we have co-slept with our little one, I believe neither I, nor my fiancé truly fell into a deep sleep for the simple fact our son in our king size bed took up more room than the two of us, our full size golden retriever and small labradoodle ever did in the months prior to his arrival. One may ask how such a tiny human can take up so much space, but it is SO TRUE.
There are many more partial myths I could go on and on about that you may read up on when learning of what to expect when you’re expecting, but if there is one truth that the books and articles should put at the beginning it is this:
“Our suggestions are subject to change based on each situation as it is different and unique for each pregnancy, parent and child. We recommend you to test different methods and select the best options for YOURSELF, have a child first and then get back to us with feedback to create additional advice for parents to be. All the while remembering that it is important to ensure you remember that in order to successfully take care of another human, you must take care of yourself as well”
We parents are constantly judged. I will be the first to admit, I judged peoples parenting choices prior to actually being a parent myself. I judge parents who seemed to have a social life when they had children. I judged parents who would pick up their child and put them in bed with them and often thought to myself they were taking the easy way out. I judged parents who were “overthinking” their babies’ well-being throughout their pregnancy. Then something happened. I became a pregnant and concerned because of everything I have read or heard. I then became a parent myself and throughout the journey I have realized doctors, friends, family and irrelevant people are constantly telling you how and how not to do things with your children or your body. What to expect when you’re expecting, what not to expect when you’re expecting. Suggesting epidurals to help with pain, or suggesting no epidurals to do things the natural way. In the midst of it all, no one tells you to RELAX. Take a breather and prepare to be unprepared. Do things YOUR WAY. How you see fit! Even if you feel “ready” for a child, you will never truly be prepared for the challenges you will face and the duties of raising and nurturing a human. Or the fact that you have to re-learn every normal function about your body all over again within the duration of 9 long months. It is a learning experience that along the way is full of some myths and bullsh*t articles from professionals that only tell you the half of what you’re soon to expect.
Pregnancy and becoming a parent is a beautiful journey filled with unexpected turns and twists. The important part of the journey is to just ENJOY IT. LEARN FROM YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES. YOUR OWN BODY. And parent however the hell you see fit. After all, you only have 9 months to enjoy growing a tiny human in your body, and the next 1000 years to raise that same tiny human.
Until Next Time……