I was given so much advice while I was pregnant that I get morning sickness just thinking about it. Most of it was meant well, although most of it was also unsolicited. There were times where I could have sworn I saw a little twinkle in the eyes of mothers passing on their tales, working up horrific stories of how my life would change with a baby around. According to many of them, my own hopes and dreams would end in the delivery room, carried out by the cleaning woman and never seen again.
Obviously, life goes on for me, and I’ve learned the difference between some of the stories I heard and the truth. I’d like to share a few with you, if only to encourage you from all the parents out there who may tell you otherwise.
The myth: You cannot understand love until you’ve had a child.
The reality: Silliness. Everyone is capable of love. It’s definitely another kind of love, however, just as loving a spouse is different from loving a parent. I think what people mean by this is you can understand the depth of love your parents had for you, because you can fully realize what they went through every day for several years. It also means there is one more person on this earth who you would give up your life for in a heartbeat.
The myth: You won’t mind changing diapers as much when they’re your baby’s diapers.
The reality: Poop stinks. (You may quote me.) It does not matter if it’s my daughter’s or a complete stranger’s; dirty diapers are gross and I have not enjoyed changing a single one.
The myth: The first baby means going through a long, painful labor. Be very, very afraid.
The reality: Labor is generally longer with the firstborn, but “long” could mean 2 hours or 24 hours- there’s no rule that says you will be in labor for days on end. People like to tell you how they survived months of childbirth, but it’s usually just an event, not a week-long process. It hurts, and I’d rather not do it every day. But people have several children because the few hours of pain is worth having a beautiful child to add to their family.
The myth: You forget how painful labor was for you.
The reality: Nope. As I said, people go through it again because it’s worth it. I cannot lie and say that it was all a blur, however. That’s a pretty memorable experience to forget as if it didn’t happen.
The myth: You can’t say what you would or wouldn’t do until you have kids. Don’t judge before you are a parent.
The reality: I do not need to be a mother to know what is socially acceptable and what isn’t. My opinions on the way I currently raise my daughter and how I plan to raise her in the future have not changed one iota since I first contemplated having children. I previously groaned and rolled my eyes at the mom in Wal-mart who cusses at their baby and screams louder than the child is screaming. I groan and roll my eyes now, too.
The myth: You will become a mom. This cancels out your identity as anything else but a mother.
The reality: I am definitely a mom. I’m also a wife. I’m a woman with a passion for writing and photography. Some days I fill one of those roles more than another, but there is no reason to give up my identity. In fact, giving my daughter a strong woman to admire is a very important goal for me. To lose myself would let her down.
The myth: You think it’s bad when you can’t sleep during pregnancy, but just wait. You won’t sleep for an entire six months once the child is born.
The reality: Okay…that last one is pretty accurate.