I’m going to start off by saying that pregnant women will sometimes experience similar things, and a lot of times they won’t. No two women’s pregnancies are the exact same.
I couldn’t stand it when I was pregnant and people would tell me that even though I was already more than halfway along and hadn’t experienced morning sickness (literally none… Zero sickness), they would say, “just you wait, you will.” Guess what ladies… I had absolutely no sickness the entire pregnancy. Yep, that’s right… No pukes whatsoever.
It wasn’t ever a big deal, but it was just irritating that these women who have already had kids thought they would know exactly what I was going through, and what I would go through while I was pregnant. From the moment we announced that we were going to be parents (me for the first time, him again), all these women just knew what I was in for.
Since they have 5 kids and their pregnancies were all the same, they were convinced that every pregnancy was just like theirs… Are people really that naive? Don’t get me wrong, I loved talking to experienced women on the subject since that’s what my whole world was revolving around, but it got to be a little much when they just knew what I was going through. From the amount of weight I gained, to if I was getting sick, to if I had heartburn, to if I had gestational diabetes, to if I was carrying high or low, to what kind of cravings I was having… Literally every symptom I was (or wasn’t) experiencing somehow made these women think they knew what the gender of my baby would be, if my baby would have hair or not, if my baby would come early or late, if I was somehow miserable (or couldn’t possibly be)… (People! That is a peanut butter, banana, honey, and bacon sandwich… Your welcome to any pregnant women craving something but they don’t know what)
They’d say, “Oh, you must be having a girl because I was always sick with my son.” Well, I have a boy. They’d say, “Oh, your baby is going to have a lot of hair since you have heartburn.” Well, my son had some hair when he was born, but it went away as he grew, and was bald forever! He now (at a year and a half) has hair, but it’s still very fine. They’d say, “Oh, you must feel great that you haven’t gained much weight!” Well, no… I was miserable the last month and a half until I had my son. Just because a woman doesn’t gain much weight through pregnancy doesn’t mean she’s feeling wonderful. I was winded all the time, my feet and ankles hurt after walking all day, I couldn’t get comfortable in bed, and my son literally fractured my rib while he was in there (minor, but OUCH!). My back hurt, my boobs hurt, and I was miserable. (Look how big I was… At least my giant belly could be of some use)
In my personal experience, I had absolutely no sickness. I had heartburn only for the last few weeks I was pregnant. I only gained 23 pounds. I didn’t swell anywhere except my ankles/feet after a long shift as a server. My water broke almost 5 weeks early, I was in labor for 4 hours then got an epidural (which slowed everything down), 3 hours later when it was time I pushed 3 times for 13 minutes, and I had a healthy baby boy. He was 5 lbs. 15 oz., 19in. long, and he was perfect.
Everyone would tell me that I would be in labor forever since it was my first baby. Seriously, why would anyone ever tell you anything like this…? I mean, having a baby is a beautiful thing, but labor is scary. I don’t know a single mom who went into labor and wasn’t a little scared. Why would anyone tell you it’s going to take forever? We are already scared that this little baby we’ve bonded with in the womb is going to be here in the world and our responsibility to care for. We don’t need the extra worry of a lengthy and painful labor. (I was on the verge of punching him at this moment…)
I never understood it before (as no one really does until they have their own baby), but I didn’t understand why women would just talk about their pregnancy or birth story any and every chance they got. Prior to being a mom, it was annoying. In my mind I was saying, “Great, you puked a lot… We get it, you were in pain, lots of pain… Gross, I could have lived my whole life without knowing what a mucous plug was… You don’t have to keep saying it, we know you love your baby…” But I will tell you, after going through a pregnancy, after giving birth, after having this adventure of being a mom and feeling the love that only parents can feel, I feel like I didn’t deserve to know what these women were talking about.
It’s like, once you have a baby, you are now in the club. The club of parents. I’ll tell you what, now I’m one of those women who will talk about my pregnancy experience and my birth experience at the drop of a hat if the conversation arises. I’m absolutely positive that the women around me who aren’t in the club yet are probably just as annoyed as I once was, and probably think I’m trying to get attention, but I really don’t care. And now I understand why those women didn’t care either. (Look at that tiny little guy!)
Because we are proud. We grew a life (our most favorite lives) inside of ourselves. We cared for them before they entered the world. We are strong women who endured labor (it’s not fun, but definitely forgettable once you hold that baby). We are fierce in how we will love and protect our innocent children no matter what. We are literally that child’s biggest fan. (There is no other moment quite like this)
That day when you finally bring them home you are thrilled but also nervous. Now real life happens. You won’t have a nurse there to help you. You won’t have experts there to answer your questions and calm your fears and endless “what-if’s.” Everything from that moment on is up to you and your partner to figure out. You might not feel like you can do it. You might not feel like you are ready. You might not feel like you have what it takes. But you are wrong. You had what it took up until this very moment, and you have what it takes as long as you do the best you can. (Look how precious and small he is in that carseat)
My son hasn’t even began saying many words, but every little milestone he hits, I am ecstatic! I want to tell everyone about the funny face he made, or the cute way he brings me all of his toys to hold. I think that he knows that since he is safe with me, so are all of his toys. I radiate with joy every time I would tell people he rolled over, or took his first step, or held a spoon for the first time. My phone is flooded with pictures and videos of him doing absolutely nothing, but I still take them. I still share them. And I’m not sorry.
Obviously these accomplishments will soon be overshadowed by new and bigger milestones, but moms are like elephants. We never forget. We will always be just as proud as that first time we held them. And we will adore them 100% of the time. We have spent hours upon hours, just looking at them. Watching their faces mature before our eyes. Watching them grow from infants to toddlers to little boys and girls. We can’t help but stare, because we know they won’t ever be the same, and we want to absorb all of it.
We are proud of them, we are scared for them, we are excited for them, and everything in between. Emotions get out of control when you love a child. We know how cruel the world can be, and we want to protect them from all of it. We get scared knowing that we can’t always be with them, and the unknown situations terrify us. We are excited to see what kind of person they will grow up to become, and we believe more than anyone that they are capable of great things. It saddens us to know that one day they will leave, and we have to let them go. We want to always be needed.
My message to moms-to-be and new moms (I still consider myself a fairly new mom) would be to not let what other women say to you get underneath your skin. Let it float on by because they can’t help themselves. We all want to share by comparison, so just know that your experience is all your own. Enjoy the fact that you will too, be sharing your experience with newer moms than yourself. Also know that these moms who share will probably be great listeners when you are going through something that you need to talk about.
We may not all have the same experiences throughout our parenthood journey, but we’ve all shared similar (if not the same) emotions. So enjoy the chaos, and welcome to the club!