I hate advice. I’ve even gone out of my way to do the opposite of whatever advice I’ve been given. I once painted our kitchen BLUE because a loved one tried to talk me out of it. Suddenly I HAD to use that color, because I’m just so dang stubborn and GAH I know how colors work, dammit! Yeah, three years later, we painted it Reasonable Adult Grey. Because I got bored with blue, of course. Not because blue was a giant mistake or anything…
Almost the minute your pregnancy goes public, you are inundated with advice. Hand-me-downs. Doomsday parenthood warnings.
The Classic: You’ll never sleep again.
The Oddball: Make sure your belly gets a lot of sun! (Huh?)
The False Compliment: You’re too small to push a baby out.
The Man-splanation: That ball chair will make you go into early labor.
The Old Wives Tale: Spicy food will make Baby angry!
Naturally, I filed these away as Things to Contradict Out of Spite. I’ll sit on this ball chair and eat Thai food Every. Damn. Day. I’ll do every random thing I read about to prepare for a natural birth. Prenatal belly dancing? Hypnobabies? Eating dates for 2 months? Check check check. I’M going to be Different.
I was obsessively over prepared for birth. I still have 48 “labor popsicles” in my icebox to prove it. And of course I was delusionally “prepared” for the whole motherhood part. Obviously I’ll cloth diaper. Obviously I’ll breastfeed. I can totally home school. We’ll never watch TV. BIRTH was the hurdle, and everything after would be easy in comparison. Right? I couldn’t wait for my 3 months of cute PJ’s, sewing projects, and cleaning the house while wearing my baby in a sling.
Just kidding. I never fantasize about cleaning.
So, despite my inability to fart cinnamon & sunshine (just ask my husband), I had the birth I wanted. It was freaking awesome, and yes I’m still proud of myself. I know, no one cares. People only want to hear your birth story if it was a hot mess. If it makes you feel better, yes I pooped. And I looked like a bedraggled cat lady:
The End, right? Hooray, I won, where can I pick up my Awesome Mom trophy?
Ha. No. After 2 days at home, my son spent 4 days in NICU with severe jaundice, & I burst into hysterical tears when a nurse told me to “Go home & rest”. Less than 2 months later I went through THREE Mastitis surgeries. The L&D nurse that commented on how calmly I labored, wasn’t there to hear me screaming expletives when a surgeon cut into my BOOB.
Aside from those anomalies, I just wasn’t prepared for how…nonstop motherhood is. I know that sounds ridiculous. But there are no breaks! My son nursed constantly. If he wasn’t nursing he was pooping. I ate a lot of microwaved frozen meals in the beginning. I did wear cute PJ’s…but for 3 days in a row. And I did more laundry than I ever thought possible.
How did my delusions work out? So-so. I do mostly cloth diaper. I did breastfeed for a year, despite Mother Nature’s psychotic attempts to discourage me (See? Still stubborn). But I’ve (mostly) given up my home school fantasy. And I do let him watch TV sometimes. Because it buys me 20 minutes to make dinner, or go to the bathroom alone, or to just cuddle with him and doze off a little. I DID sleep again. But it’s still different, and sometimes in unexpected places.
Guess what? You WILL be different! Just not the way you think. Lots of things WILL go as planned. But other things won’t. And things you never thought of will come out of left field. There are little failures almost every day. But it doesn’t really matter. You’ll have a baby, and it’ll be chaos, but it’ll also be totally awesome. Any “plans” you think you’re making will be thwarted by a tiny little person who is now your whole world.
So don’t get hung up on plans. Don’t take things too seriously. You look beautiful. It’s going to be so, so great. That’s pregnancy advice even I can handle.