One of my best friends (who shall remain nameless here), recently had her baby boy. She endured months and months of anticipation, excitement and planning. After her little boy was born we went several weeks before connecting again, and we had the most interesting conversation about new mommy-hood. My friend was genuinely a little bit angry, with the pre-natal nursing staff, with me, with moms in general for having lied to her all along about what was to come or how things may go.
So after giving it a great deal of thought, I think I have to agree. We lie to moms all the time, we all do it, me included. Sometimes we lie on purpose, other times we lie by omission. Regardless, we lie lie lie. So I’m here to set the record straight with a few “truths”, for my friend, for myself and anyone else who may be reading this while pregnant thinking all will be roses and unicorns come that little one’s arrival.
(1) The “I’m so in love” lie: We often tell moms that the first time they meet their baby it will be the best day of their lives. This part is true….HOWEVER it will likely be a few months or maybe years before you will look back at your little one’s birth day with fondness and longing. Likely you will be so drugged up from an epidural, or so drained from a natural labour, that you won’t remember much…never mind actually bond with that little baby. Now this may not the case for all, some moms may instantly fall in love, I don’t know know for sure but I’ll give everyone the benefit of the doubt here. I can say for me I felt relieved mainly. Relieve that the baby was alive, and myself also for that matter.
I like to think we tell other mom’s this from a bout of temporary amnesia.
(2) The “breastfeeding is amazing” lie: Breastfeeding can be amazing, and likely will be at some point but not immediately. At first it sucks. It hurts horribly, there may be blood, and this is if you’re lucky enough to have a baby who latches. If you don’t, you’ll likely go through hours of torturous thoughts and worries. You will spend a lot of time researching lactation consultants and frequenting chat rooms for any shred of help and advice someone may give you.
(3) The “it gets better just as soon as…” lie: Oh I think I’m the queen of this lie. I say it all the time, to myself also. “Its ok that he’s not sleeping right now, it gets better as soon as he hits 11lbs”. “Don’t worry that your baby screams every single night starting at 4pm, it gets better as soon as he turns 3mos”…. I could go on. The truth is whatever horrible phase is happening at that exact moment it will pass and it will get better, but likely it will be replaced by an equally horrible phase or maybe even worse…insert teething here.
(4) The “breastfeeding helps you lose weight” lie (see also #2): Breastfeeding DOES NOT HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT. Actually breastfeeding will make you hungrier than you’ve ever been before, including during pregnancy. You will be starving all day long and shovelling food in wherever you can get it. Do yourself a favour and don’t expect a miraculous transformation, because its just not going to happen.
(5) The “don’t worry about what you look like you just had a baby” lie: This is a big one, and its so big that I even say it to myself and believe it. Except that at some point we didn’t JUST have a baby. No. We had a baby 6 months ago, a year ago. Often this lie is then replaced by “it took 9 months to gain the weight it will take that long to lose it”. Its really all just BS at the end of the day. I think we say it not knowing what else to say and not wanting the new or soon to be new mom, to lose all faith and maybe have a nervous breakdown. In truth losing any baby weight is hard, very hard, especially if you’re breastfeeding (see point #4). It can come off BUT it comes off with major diet changes and restrictions, working out and dedication.
So there you have it. If its any consolation we lie because we care. We want to make sure moms are happy first and foremost, so we fib a little to keep those rainbows alive. And if we are level-setting here, your love for your child will far out weight the crap I wrote above, that I can promise is the truth.