6/30/09

What Nobody Tells New Moms

I read a lot of books by and for new moms and moms-to-be. A LOT. Here are some of the ones I’ve read. And here’s a list of some new ones I haven’t read yet. I even tried to write one myself. Here’s how that went.

In my intensive study of the genre of new-mom nonfiction, I’ve noticed a recurring theme. It’s the “what no one ever tells you” theme. Why didn’t anyone ever TELL me about hemorrhoids the size of Montana/the horrors of breastfeeding/how you’ll never want to have sex again/that my baby might look like a monkey with acne/etc.??

OK, first of all, I’m sure someone did. You really mean to tell me that in this day and age of blogs, the Internet, reality shows, and general TMI, you REALLY didn’t know that pregnant women often get hemorrhoids? Right.

Second of all, maybe there’s a REASON people don’t tell you that stuff. Like, say, wanting to protect the future of the human race by ensuring that naive people with no fear of episiotomies continue to populate the Earth? Or, more realistically, because people don’t want to come off as hugely annoying and negative pains in the ass.

Now, I’ve been at plenty of baby showers where the childbirth horror stories flowed like punch. I used to think the people that told these stories were obnoxious kill-joys and would pointedly change the subject the first chance I got: “So aren’t those tiny pink socks the cutest things you’ve EVER SEEN??” Now, of course, I join right in with my own horror stories.

But seriously, can you imagine if people starting going around the room saying things like, “You may have to push so hard that you burst blood vessels in your eyes” and “nursing will make your nipples feel like they’ve been attacked with an industrial sander”? In my book I don’t consider that a helpful heads-up from my gal pals. I consider that provoking needless anxiety in a likely already stressed out and terrified mom-to-be.

Besides, as I’ve pointed out before, every mom’s experience is so different no one can possibly tell you what yours will be like. For every 10 moms out there whose bodies were ravaged by pregnancy and birth, there’s one who looks better than she did before she had kids. Kate Gosselin comes to mind.

Sure, it’s good to know that breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally to everyone, but it does to some. And there’s really nothing you can do about it in advance, anyway.

My philosophy about sharing information with new or expectant moms is “humor over horror.” On that note, here are my answers to New Moms’ FAQ’s. And here are McMommy’s 10 Things You Need to Know Before You Have Your First Kid.

By the way, did you know that once you’re done breastfeeding a couple of babies, your boobs will look like ... of course you did.

QUOTE O' THE WEEK: “For nine months I grew a human being inside my belly and then pushed it out of my vagina. Afterward I fed it with my boob. Biology is so f***ing weird. I just really needed to point that out.”

– Heather B. Armstrong in It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita

FLICK O' THE WEEK: My boobs gave me a 3-hour window to go see "Away We Go" with my mom this weekend. So glad we did. We both loved it. I'm still laughing about the scene with Maggie Gyllenhaal ...

7 comments:

Kimberly said...

Great post! And thanks for the useful links. I completely agree about the humor over horror. Every where I turn in reading or in conversation with other moms I mostly get the horror stories. Not that I wanted to be ignorant during my pregnancies, but I wanted to focus on the positive stories and the realistic ones. The horror stories I heard were about certain issues that only occur with a small percentage of women. These stories fascinated me and also made me worry much more than I needed to or should have during the pregnancy.

But now that I have a newborn I am hearing the stories of post-pregnancy body issues! It never ends :)

Melinda Leigh said...

don't forget that Kate got a free tummy tuck- that could go a long way to helping us all look like that.

Tiffany @ Lattes And Life said...

Ah yes...but Kate got a tummy tuck for free. Somehow I'm thinking she'd rather have passed on the tuck and reality show if it would have saved her marriage....I'm just sayin...

Mom2Miles said...

yeah, maybe Kate's a bad example. Even so, though, that's one skilled surgeon given her "before" belly!

Sadly, there are parts of my post-baby anatomy that even plastic surgery can't fix ... good thing I'm not on national TV, huh?

Loukia said...

What a great post! I was never told much by anyone before I had my first child... it's a good, thing, too! I was told that my body would not be what it was before, and I laughed at that person who said that, convinced I would leave the hospital in my pre-pregnancy jeans. Oh, wow, I was totally brought back to reality after I had my baby! I still looked many monthts pregnant!

Kelli @ writing the waves said...

Humor over horror...good philosophy! Reminds me of my 100th post awhile back - 100 Things Nobody Told Me About Motherhood - from mustard poop to breast buds. (Did your babies have those?) And of course, never getting a good night's sleep ever again. :P

There are definitely A LOT of surprises!

McMommy said...

Humor over horror any day...I agree!! (Although I blab my horror story to anyone within ear shot!! ha!)

p.s. A magazine pointed out how Kate's belly button is oddly high up in the center of her stomach....and now that's all I can stare at when I see that pic!! Supposedly has something to do with the tummy tuck.

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