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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

7 Pregnancy and Newborn Myths

Yesterday's post received a ton of responses. I think I will do a follow-up post with some additional comments/thoughts.

For today however, I'd like to lighten it up a bit with a fun post from my bloggy friend Isabel. Isabel is the wife to Kenneth and old full-time mum to 3 kids: Emma, soon to be 5, Daniel 3 and a half, and Julia 2 and a half. She started her humour-spiced blog, Thrills, Frills and Drills of Motherhood, less than a year ago, to write about her adventures in motherhood and wifehood! She likes to see the funnier side of parenting, which helps her not to lose her mind... not too often that is! Enjoy!

7 Pregnancy and Newborn Myths

Ah! Having a baby!! Isn’t this the best blessing of all? Definitely not an easy and straight forward situation to handle though. I learned that the hard way: three babies in two years five months! However this “full immersion course” in pregnancy and births has taught that many of the things said regarding pregnancy and newborns are pure myths. Here I share some of them with you. This is not an exhaustive list of course and it is based solely on my experience.

Myth 1: Birth preparation - Isn’t this a contradiction in terms? How can you ever be prepared for something like giving birth through a lecture or watching a birth video (with no sound, or with some background instrumental music)? I remember myself going in to give birth to my first baby, telling everyone how calm and unafraid I was. When I got to know that I was pregnant with my third, I couldn’t sleep for three whole nights because of the memory of my previous labour (a mere two and a half months prior) was too vivid in my mind! However I do believe that birth preparation classes have their utility. These classes should prepare the husbands for labour. They should focus on telling the husband not to insist too much on helping the wife to “breath correctly dear," or “you don’t need a painkiller honey." They should fortify the husband not to faint at the crowning part, and also prepare them for any unusual behaviour of the wife. I did hear of a couple of vicious attacks on husbands during labour…; o)

Myth 2: Maternal Instincts - I don’t know why, but everyone seems to believe that maternal instincts come, well instinctively. In my case they didn’t come, at all. I remember coming home with my 2.3 kg baby in my arms, totally and completely devoid of any idea of how this baby will sleep, feed and generally survive. Maybe it was the fact that this baby cried a lot, that I remember this overwhelming feeling of “What am I supposed to do?” I remember asking all my friends, and whoever happened to call about breastfeeding, sleep and why do they think my baby cries so much. I mean can you be more desperate than this? Asking people why they think my baby is crying?? To further illustrate my lack of instincts, (or shall I say common sense?), I used to cradle my baby for almost an hour to sleep. It happened often that half an hour later I used to wake her up for her bottle, because I was supposed to feed her every 4 hours… I could eat my hand remembering this!

Myth 3: Newborns all look alike - Other newborns may look alike but my babies were absolutely the most beautiful newborns ever! Of course when I look at the pictures now I ask myself “How could I say they were beautiful?” But now I surely understand the midwife’s look when I uttered “Oh how beautiful she is” when she first showed her to me.

Myth 4: Babies smell so sweet - Funny huh? Anyone who has ever had the opportunity of spending at least one hour in the proximity of a baby can say how untrue this statement is! Yes babies do smell sweet, up to, say 5 minutes after their bath. After that they either smell of sour milk, or… well you know. I mean how can such a tiny sweet body produce such foul smells?

Myth 5: It’s colic - I have already mentioned how much my first born cried. Well I have lost counts of the number of times I was told by people: “Oh it must be colic”and me, being such an unsure mum, bought into it! What is this thing with colic? Is it a buzz word in newborn jargon? No, it is NOT always colic. Sometimes it’s hunger, sometimes it is tiredness, many times I don’t know what it is but it surely is not colic.

Myth 6: Newborns sleep 18 hours a day - I still have to meet a real newborn who sleeps so much. I am scientifically certain that whoever came up with this statistic did not have any babies. Neither does that wise person who coined the phrase‘sleeping like a baby’. If you think you sleep like a baby you don’t have one because, 1. You don’t really know how babies sleep and 2. If you had a baby you wouldn’t sleep, at all! More advice that cracks me up is “Sleep while your baby sleeps”. Yeah this is great when you have just one baby, but what about when you have other toddlers/ children?

Myth 7: Back to normal soon after birth - Can you EVER get back to normal? I might get back to normal once my kids get married and are gone. Before that time, I don’t think I could ever be normal again! After all, giving birth is relatively easy compared to bringing them up!

Stop by Isabel's blog and give her some comment love!


HeathahLee said...

I still don't have maternal instincts! LOL!!!

Mike said...

Maternal instincts? My thoughts: Believe you have it and you will—like a self-fulfilling prophesy.


Twitter: AboutParenting

Lisa said...

I was reading each one and putting a mental checkmark beside each one. I think every single one applied to me! First of all, an ice cube on the forearm does NOT simulate labor. Whose brilliant idea was it to include THAT in childbirth classes? Ask us to push out a watermelon and they've got it. An ice cube??? Seriously???

My daughter cried a LOT for the first four months, which makes it nothing short of a miracle that we had our son 19 short months later. I didn't think I'd survive it. Still don't know how I did!

I also had non-sleepers. Cat nappers who would only doze if held. My daughter still hates to sleep. I think she's convinced she's missing something when she's asleep! My son gave up naps and it's been a struggle.

And the last one... yep, I agree. Things will never be "normal" again. Once the kids are out on their own, it's a whole new set of worries that I'm not looking forward to having. But then again... I wouldn't want to go back to "normal" for anything in the world!

Blessings, Sarah Mae!

Kasey Hunt said...

Someone told me it takes 3 yrs for your body to recover from a child. Well mine must take longer b/c my stomach still looks like a train wreck no matter how many sit ups I do!! That's been the hardest part for me, is not having my body the same as it was before kids.

Reborn said...

Uhhh... yeah... now I REALLY wanna have kids! lol...

Heather said...

If you are going to have a baby watch "The business of being born"...it is such an eye opener!!! http://www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com/

Sarah said...

Oh how true area all of these things. Babies do smell sweet right out of the tub too though :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving me a sweet comment! Though I'm not planning on having kids anytime soon, I appreciated this post, both the humor and practical advice.


Christy said...

What a wonderful and true post! I had 7 children in 9 years (9 children altogether)

I think I would have to add #8 - "you're having a boy/girl because....your carrying high...carrying low....have heartburn....don't have heartburn, the pencil swung in a circle over your belly....it swung back and forth....your nose looks big....your nose looks small!
Great post!

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

What a great post!! All so true - LOL! Especially the back to normal part - hee,hee!

Dyan said...

Yes, these are true for at least some people some of the time but not everyone has the same experience! My first didn't sleep until God taught me what she needed. My second one was an awesome sleeper! I loved sniffing my babies scalps because not matter what their diapers smelled like, their little noggins always smelled sweet. I was back to normal within 6 weeks after my first one - not so much after my second ;) We're all different but I think a lot of the struggle can be greatly eased by going to God and His word for wisdom and peace - it's the only way I have so many wonderful days with 4 children all under the age of 5! (My own 2 and 2 daycare kids).

Stephanie said...

Babies sleep? Some nights it sure doesn't seem that way. I think whoever came up with that "sleeping like a baby" saying was a sadist.