One thing I’ve noticed since getting pregnant is the amount of “warnings” people give to you surrounding birth, babies, children, etc.
I don’t understand why people automatically “prepare” you for the hardest stages of parenthood and hardly ever talk about the simple and unexplainable pleasure and love that will overflow your heart.
I have felt like I couldn’t simply be excited or even have an ounce of naivety and wonder about how pregnancy, birth and motherhood would be like. I wanted to daydream about the first sweet flutters in my tummy, the powerful, but not-to-be-feared sensation of a contraction, the tender, still moments of nursing your newborn under a bright moon, the incredible moments of hearing your baby call out the perfect sound of: “muummuh” and “dadadaaa”, the head thrown back, toothy, wide smile and all of the moments that make you want to stop time and stay present taking a mental picture while capturing the smell, sound and feeling that resonates through your entire body piercing your heart that screams, “baby, I love you more than everything and I can’t imagine life without you”.
Sadly, for many of us, those moments are at risk of being stolen away when good-willed people say, “it may be good now, but just wait until…”. I don’t care how hard it get or what’s next. I’m his mum and that excites me. I’m sure we can handle it and will be able to find pleasure in our journey even then. But even if it is *that bad*, can you just let me enjoy this moment?
Tom and I were pleasantly surprised when we became pregnant with our beautiful Harvey. We were married for one and a half years before we got pregnant. But we’d only been physically together for six months of it as we had to be in different countries while we were waiting on our marriage visa. We weren’t “planning” or “not planning” to get pregnant… we were just living and enjoying married life.
When we shared the thrilling news of our pregnancy with friends, family and associates, we were surprised with some of the reserved reactions. We were completely unprepared for reactions other than sheer joy and excitement for the new journey we were about to take together that would change our lives for the better!
Several times, the immediate reactions we received were “was it a mistake?”, “was it planned??”, “oh, you know that’s really expensive”, “well this changes everything”, “oh?….”, “your lives will never be the same”…
Thankfully, the overwhelming love, support and excitement from ourselves, each other and those around us completely overshadowed the other responses, but they still bothered us. We just didn’t understand them.
Luckily, I was a bit prepared for the pregnancy and birth warnings since hearing testimonies from clients and friends. I can’t even begin to count the number of times my clients would come into their appointments with tears in their eyes, fear in their throat and a list of “what if” questions that are simply a result of someone else scaring them with their own personal horror stories or stories they’ve read or been told.
There is so much reassurance needed to ease unnecessary fears that shouldn’t have been spewed in the first place. I don’t really see the point of it… I understand that some women are “just concerned”, but it’s really unnecessary and most of the time, does much more harm than good!
And I’m sure you can imagine how many more fear-infused comments I was approached with because of my against-the-grain decisions such as home water birth, non cry-it-out, “gentle”, “attachment”parenting style, favouring natural and immune-boosting health options, etc.
I think there is value in being able to relate to other’s struggles and trials as you’re going through them, but I don’t think you should have to hear about all of the negative possibilities before even going through them. I think when you reach out during a struggle asking for other’s experiences and advice, it’s great to receive that empathy! Empathy definitely helped me throughout my trials thus far! To all the mums that stood beside me cheering me on through the pain- thank you!
When motherhood started *full on* for me after Harvey was born, I loved sharing with others how fascinating, wonderful and incredible Harvey was/is and how much I enjoyed the stage he was/is at. (I also shared my struggles and asked a lot of advice when we were going through tough times.)
But just when I would exclaim of a big achievement for Harvey or myself, most of the responses would be, “just wait…” followed by a negative comment or advice. Why can’t I just be excited? This is great news for us! Let us celebrate!
I remember when I was so enthusiastically helping Harvey learn to roll over, sit up, crawl, stand, and now walk. But each step came with a few responses I’ve grown to expect: “But just wait until…”
“Just wait until they start rolling over. Then you won’t be able to leave them on the couch/changing table/bed or they will fall off. Your days of leaving them still are over”
“Just wait until they start crawling. Then you won’t be able to leave them alone as they’ll be into everything!”
“Just wait until they start walking. They will run circles around you and you’ll be chasing them everywhere. Your days or relaxing are over.”
Each stage in your life comes with mountains and hills and valleys or pros and cons. There is no difference when it comes to motherhood. But I have enjoyed my journey with Harvey every step of the way. I know each stage will have some “drawbacks”, but that’s okay!
[I’ve also noticed a lot of similar “warnings” with marriage as well. Just… don’t. I’m sure everyone knows or can at least imagine how different life will be and that marriage takes work]
People need encouragement and to be cheered on! We need to celebrate with each other and be excited for their new life ventures! Career changes, marriage, parenthood and the like are all exciting times! We will all learn as we go along.
So how about instead of “preparing” us for the trials, just let us celebrate! And why not celebrate with us? It’s much more fun!
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Over to you- I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences and how you respond…