Pregnancy and Post-Partum Myths and Truths

I recently found out that one of my dearest friends is pregnant. Being in the middle of planning their wedding, this news was not expected. She is over the moon excited, as is her fiancé, but neither one of them truly know what to expect. Which, ironically, I don't believe anyone really does. So, being a veteran who has fought her way through 18 months of pregnancy and five years of mommyhood, I decided to help prepare her with debunking 5 common misconceptions about pregnancy and that first year post-partum.

1. The "Glow"- it is bullshit. You're not glowing, you're sweating. Constantly. I gave birth in January and in March. Know what I wore? Flip-flops. And you should consider yourself lucky if you saw me wearing something other than my nursing gown. There is not a visible emanation of light bounding out of your body, but there is, however, some sweat trickling through your mustache that you have also recently grown since being pregnant.

2. Morning sickness- this is, in a lot of people's experience, a truth. However, the belief that it happens in the morning only is a huge myth. Pregnancy nausea does not discriminate on what time of day it will hit you. So, be prepared. Be VERY prepared.

3. Pregnancy is beautiful- this one is tricky. Logistically and technically speaking, it is pretty damn cool. I mean, there is formation of a LITERAL life happening in your very own body. But, truthfully speaking, it's also barbaric. There's throw up. And heartburn. And suddenly you have caveman hair all over and want to eat sardines with peanut butter. You stop being able to see your feet which means you can't cut your own toenails (thank you, Derek!) and your body has also forgotten how to poop on a normal basis. Your hip bones are being pulled apart like you're a turkey wishbone at Thanksgiving dinner while your cankles become full-blown thighs in what appears to be an anatomical anomaly.

4. Childbirth is beautiful- refer to #3. This part is even more barbaric. First, your lady bits are literally center stage to a room full of strangers. No, let me rephrase- your PREGNANT lady bits... there is a difference.. are center stage. Trust me. Admittedly, you do get over that part quickly. But then there's the pain. And some weird uncontrollable shivering while sweating. None of it makes sense. Then one of the aforementioned strangers places fingers in those pregnant lady bits and tells you to push. Which, since they are the expert, you do... only to find you did NOT indeed birth a child but instead shat in front of, guess who, all those strangers. It's magical.

5. Motherhood is beautiful- refer to #3 and #4. There's even more barbarism. Barbarianism? I couldn't tell you-- that word isn't in the 100 First Words book I read every day. This one is even trickier than #3, though. Because truly, it IS beautiful. If a beauty and a barbarian had a baby, it would be named Motherhood. There is nothing like holding your child for the first time. Or having your baby grab your finger, or having your baby be screaming and only calmed once he/she latches on to nurse (shout out to all my formula mommas, too! #FedIsBest) And then there are the milestones-- SO many milestones. And pride, strength, love, and patience you never knew existed. And then.... Then there is the poop. I will quote my husband the first time our daughter pooped at home, "I feel like I am in a video game... it just keeps coming!" as he pulled diaper after diaper like a magician with handkerchiefs to catch everything. And, one time, my son peed into his ear. Just like that. No wonder he needed tubes for infections... Then cue the sleepless nights. I told my husband one night that I was actually and literally dying from sleep deprivation. I even wrote down my funeral wishes in a book that I still have, because you can never be too safe (see below). And, I was embarrassed to die, because I hadn't showered in what felt like months and had nothing that could possible fit my now sagging, empty baby bump. But, now my kids are older and a little easier, except now I have to navigate tantrums (what do you meant you don't WANT it... you literally JUST asked for it), still poop (my potty trained daughter recently straddled her bed rail after pooping during a nap. She had eaten oranges. Oranges = pulp. Then she went to the potty, touched every handrail, AND opened the door into my bedroom. Guess what was on her hands?! POOP PULP!!), and a lot of unnecessary and awkward questions. I've even said at one time, "No, son... you cannot stick that bath toy in your sister's butt." Barbaric, am I right?

All in all- the learning curve is hard. You have to find a new normal. But ENJOY it on the way. You will find out things about yourself you never knew existed inside. I went from an OCD paranoid first time mom who EXCLUSIVELY breastfed to an "experienced" (is there such a thing) mom who actually put food on the floor for my second born to crawl after and eat. (Full disclosure: I am still OCD. But I will no longer care from which surface my children eat.)

There is no perfect. There are myths. Every single mother/father/parent/child has his or her own norms. Mine happen to be barbaric.... but I love it. I wouldn't change it for the world. But be careful what you Google, because there are TOO many romanticized myths out there about being pregnant and being a mommy. And it just so happens that they're not all true.

Do not judge. 


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