CONFESSIONS OF A PREGNANT KNOW IT ALL

This is pregnant me. I read every parenting book, went to tons of classes, and felt completely confident and prepared to be a mom. I silently criticized parents on the street telling myself I would raise my kid better and thought I was completely ready for motherhood. I was a pregnant know it all. This is I just had a baby and have no idea what I am doing, am totally exhausted, insecure about everything I do,  haven’t showered since before my baby was born, why isn’t everything as easy as it sounded in the parenting books?, and tell me why again I took a birthing/newborn care class from a woman who had never had a baby? ME.

That’s a mouthful I know but it’s the only way I can describe myself in this picture. I am passed out in bed next to a wide awake Princess A. She was way smaller than I imagined and it totally freaked me out.

The point is no matter how many books you read or classes you take nothing can really prepare you for motherhood. Now that I am a mom I never judge parents with screaming children because usually Princess A was the one throwing the temper tantrum earlier that day. Princess A is now a toddler and I haven’t even bought “What to Expect in the Toddler Years” because I already know the only thing I can expect is the unexpected.

That’s why when The Husband and I went to the dentist for a cleaning I said nothing to the pregnant know it all nurse because I was once in her shoes. See usually one of us watches Princess A while the other one is getting their teeth cleaned. There was a scheduling error and they had us getting our teeth cleaned at the same time. The pregnant nurse suggested that the receptionist watch Princess A. I knew this wouldn’t work because Princess A doesn’t like strangers but I decided to go along with it. Of course, Princess A flipped out.

Next the nurse suggested we put Princess A in her car seat so she could watch me get my teeth cleaned. I knew this wouldn’t work because Princess A was antsy from the car ride and I don’t know maybe she would freak out watching her mom get her teeth cleaned. Sure enough the second the dentist started cleaning my teeth she started bawling and screaming “Mommy”. Then the pregnant nurse made some balloons and started dancing in front of her. This made matters much worse and the dentist decided he would change his schedule so that I could watch Princess A while The Husband got his cleaning done and I would get mine done after wards.

When I was watching a calm Princess A in the waiting room I wondered why I had even bothered trying to make something work that I knew would not work? I think the reason why is because I was once the pregnant know it all who thought a one year old could sit silently in her car seat while watching her mom get her teeth cleaned or that a kid would have no problem being watched by a complete stranger. Toddlers are so easy right? I think I had some sympathy for the nurse and didn’t want to burst her bubble. I am sure she went home that day thinking, “Wow, that kid was tough. My baby will be different.”

Since I was so unprepared for labor, delivery, and basically everything mom and baby related I always wonder if I should be brutally honest when a pregnant women tells me her plans for her perfect labor and easy transition into motherhood OR should I just smile and nod. I mean no matter what I say she is going to think I am wrong and really there is nothing anyone can say or write that can prepare a new mom. But then again I wish some one could have told me about the hair loss, bloating, exhaustion, crying, ect. ect. ect. But then again again could I really ever explain it? Is it something you just have to experience?

So I have no answers. What do you think? Should you be completely honest to a pregnant first time mom who asks you questions or should you let them live carefree until the bomb drops?

Stay Glamorous,

Shannon

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40 responses to “CONFESSIONS OF A PREGNANT KNOW IT ALL

  1. Brutally honest. I love the expressions on their faces. But then I am a mean, sadistic bitch. No really, I have always answered as truthfully as possible. Some got upset and insisted their pregnancy, labour, and baby would be different. But the honesty pays off. They always came back to me to answer questions, help them deal with oh, maybe a colic baby, or just whatever, because they knew I would be honest with them and I trully cared about their wellbringing and their babys’. I worked for years with alot of younger women starting families. I am older and been through alot. I don’t sugar coat anything. Not like thier well meaning friends and family. Over the years I have found that the majority appreciated my honesty. The rest, oh well, maybe they will grow up someday.

  2. I am honest and blunt about it and I have to say that I was the been pregnant a few times know it all til I got preggo with my third mom this time around.No one prepared me for scares at 8 and 12 weeks,being on bed rest for a month or a 20 hour labor from hell followed by who knows how many stitches.It was worth it but now if new moms want the honest truth I tell them.

  3. I would have to say you can be honest, but I would doubt that she would listen to you. Just say every child is different and things don’t always work the way you want them to work. Its hard, its the hardest job you will ever have, but it has its moments of rewards. I have 3 kids. All the pregnancies were totally different, their births were different. It’s not easy to explain. But I’m glad that I did it. Would love to do it again to see if I would do things different.

  4. My way of dealing with know-it-all pregnant women is to smile in a knowing fashion, invariably it pulls them down a bit and they stop to think why I would be smiling… Of course if they ask for advice or tips I tell them if possible talk to their mum, nobody knows better than mum right!? I was lucky that my mum was there for me when my daughter was born (if you remember my partner had been killed a few months earlier) she was my birth partner, she was the first to see my daughter, the first to hug me and the first to tell me to get some sleep when my daughter wouldn’t feed. She was also the person who said ‘this is a bottle baby’ and promptly bought formula – she was right. At every turn I have gone back to her for advice and now my daughter is a young teenager about whom I get daily compliments. You are doing a great job Shannon, smile at the know-it-alls, nod at their book gained knowledge and laugh yourself to tears once out of earshot if they really thought they knew it all and didn’t ask for advice! 😀

  5. I remember “planning” Katie’s birth. I had midwives, I was not having any drugs, I was considering a home birth etc…I planned for minor changes to my plans, but nothing drastic. I definitely didn’t plan to have my blood pressure sky rocket to extremely dangerous levels at 37 weeks, an induction that lasted over 16 hours without a single contraction. Mag sulphate to prevent me having seizures, which also prevented me from being allowed ANYTHING by mouth, including ice chips until 24 hours after the baby was born. The nurses even joked they were throwing everything at me but the kitchen sink. I then had a c-section where my daughter was born with breathing issues and spent 7 days in the PICU on a ventilator. I think it was around this time I realized motherhood isn’t something you can plan for. Babies don’t come with instruction manuals.
    My daughter was a very independent baby, my sister called her the “jolly baby”. She has never met a stranger. My son who is only 19 months younger was my clingy child. He wouldn’t even go to my mom, or my husband. He didn’t sleep through the night until he was 5 years old. He is still more dependent on me than my daughter ever was. I raised them the exact same way, they have the same genetics etc…they are just different kids. If two siblings can be so different then how can anyone realistically think they can write a manual on the perfect way to raise a child?
    I choose not to inform these “know it all” pregnant woman. Even if you do try to tell them they have a million and one excuses why it will be different for them. When I see them post baby I am even nice enough not to say “I told you so!” LOL!

    • Yeah, I really wouldn’t have listened to myself 1 year and a half ago. I never say I told you so when I am right because usually their pride is hurt a little just like mine was when Amelia was born.

  6. Nope, I think the smile and nod approach is best. I had the most calm, perfect labor. Warren was a calm perfect baby. The only problem I had in the hospital was the crappy bottles they gave me, no venting so poor bug had gas like crazy after each bottle. I was SO thankful to get out of there and run to target to get good bottles lol.(I had some of course but suddenly spending the $20 to get four, super awesome venting bottles didn’t seem so silly.) I couldn’t breast feed because of medication I need for my anxiety. It was my health or breast feeding. I think I made the right choice.

    Now, Warren is the usual rambunctious toddler, smart as can be, and been sick only once since he was born. (I love to inform the few self-righteous mom’s who judge me about the fact Warren was formula fed since he was born, of this They’re always shocked. I don’t even bother explaining why I did formula.) I didn’t experience any of the things you did, the hair loss, or insecurity. The exhaustion yes lol. I also flat out made an announcement that every other day I got a half hour break so I could shower. That is my reward to this day, I get a nice hot, un-rushed shower.

    Honestly, I think you did the nurse a favor in the long run. Because after she has her baby and realizes how different every child is, she will hopefully remember that day and feel ok about her own baby. You’re the mom, you know what will and won’t work for your kiddo and that’s ok. Hopefully because you were willing to try those things despite knowing they wouldn’t work, that nurse will realize just how different every kiddo is and will become like you. Not judging other mom’s because you’ve been there and you know how hard it is. Until I became a single mom, I used to judge parents of screaming kids too. Now, I just give them a sympathetic look and move on. I’m thankful Warren is a great shopper and loves to help. He has never had a tantrum in a store, ever. Who knew?? lol.

    • Where were you a year ago when I had to switch to formula????? I felt so guilty because of it. Much of my depression was caused by the guilt I felt from not breast feeding. NYC is a hard place for a formula mom. Anyway, Amelia isn’t over weight, hasn’t ever had an ear infection, and she doesn’t get sick much unless she gets a new tooth. Formula fed since day five of birth!

      • I absolutely HATE the fact that mom’s feeding their kids formula get so much crap. Yes there are some women who simply don’t wish to or chose not to breast feed, and that’s fine. That’s their choice. But I think the majority of mom’s want to at at least try. If I had, my son would have been getting my medication, I didn’t feel right about that. But man the looks I got when I pulled out my container of formula, it took a little while but I eventually shrugged it off. I could not believe the judgement! There was only one time where I did give a woman hell for it, and that’s because she had the audacity to call me a bad mother. I looked at her and lost it. I just asked her simple questions like, “Oh so I was supposed to just stop taking medication I need so I can breast feed?” She stumbled and said something like well no. “Oh so you want me to give my son that medication through my milk?” Another, well no.. “Exactly, so don’t you dare judge any mom who pulls out formula, you do not know anything about her. So screw off” She walked away so embarrassed and I didn’t feel the least bit bad. It took everything in me to not actually swear at her. LOL I would hate to be the mom who passed on horrible words to another kids child lol.

      • Jess, you did the right thing. When people judge me I go into my long story about how the hospital messed up and I got sick… they usually regret even talking to me because it is such a long involved story!

      • errr mom’s child lol. When will I learn I can’t talk to someone and type at the same time?

  7. you are very beautiful in this picture. You’re absolutely right, to trying to be a good mom, it is better prepare. I see you are an excellent mother to Princess A.

  8. I think that if asked a question from a mom-to-be, I would be honest about my experience and not try to make it seem like I’m speeking for all moms. I believe that it’s nice to hear different opinions because some might help. But, just because I’ve done things a certain way or had things happen a certain way, it doesn’t mean that will be the case for everyone. I would also feel really bad about bursting the mothers bubble. It’s stressful enough being pregnant and being a new mom on top of it.

  9. Smile and nod. There’s no reason to be brutally honest unless they’re openly criticizing you, in my opinion. Or unless a pregnant woman specifically asks a question regarding labor and/or parenting. But when someone’s offering “advice,” no matter how ill-advised, I just smile and nod.

    My policy is never to tell a labor and delivery story to a pregnant woman. I HATED how every mother I knew suddenly decided my growing belly was an excuse to tell me their horror stories. The questions I had, I asked my doctor, mother, sister, or a very close friend, I never wanted advice or input from casual friends or strangers on the street. Women would walk up to me at baseball games and say “Oh when are you due?” and then launch into “Well I hope it goes better than mine…” It didn’t. Not the first two times anyway, they were terrible deliveries that somehow miraculously resulted in healthy babies. But to be honest, even when a pregnant woman asks me what it was like, I just say “Oh it had its moments, but every delivery is different.”

    I completely agree with Jess that you did a favor by showing her how a normal child acts and that you didn’t freak out or anything over it, just calmly handled it. She doesn’t know now, but eventually she will, and she’ll know that it’s normal.

    Sorry to make this longer, but on a side point, I’m not sure what’s worse, pregnant women telling moms how to handle situations, or women who’ve had years of mothering and grandmothering experience insisting another mother handle it their way. There’s a grandmother at church who constantly told me all I had to do was firmly tell my child “Sh!” and they’d be quiet through the entire mass.

    • I don’t know what is worse either. Old women tell me on the street almost every day I shouldn’t let my daughter wear blue because it makes her look like a boy. BTW I got your package today!

      • Oh good! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂

        I think one of my favorite “worst” comments was with my second. I had a lot of people mouthing off on how awful it was to be due on Christmas Eve, but one woman very seriously told me the baby would hate me forever for having a Christmas birthday. As it turns out he was born on 12/6 but wishes his birthday was closer to Christmas. *lol*

  10. I believe in being honest without being pushy or aggressive. If you can also include humor it makes it seem more like sharing experiences instead of being a known it all. My daughter never threw a temper tantrum – probably because I held her constantly – played with her sang to her – rode in the back seat with her till she was 8 – basically I was with her almost every minute of every day – and when my husband came home he filled in where I needed him to. Everyone tried to tell me I needed time for myself – except those closest me. I guess they didn’t want to seem like they were being know it alls – but it was their opinions that would have mattered most.
    So I guess we should just play it by ear give advice or an opinion in a light hearted positive manner and hope it is received that way.

  11. I am SO glad you posted this. I was the same way. Plus I was 19 so I was naive to the brim. I read the books religiously, looked everything up that I wanted to know, kept track of my pregnancy week by week, and stocked up on everything I’d need in the coming months for when she was born. But once the ball was rolling, none of it mattered. The books didn’t matter, the advise didn’t matter, it wouldn’t have mattered if I had enough diapers to last me a year. Once you enter motherhood with a real live baby, you’re in a whole other world. I had planned everything out. How I was going to parent, the decisions I was going to make for her and myself, and everything was going to be perfect. Then I had a scary labor, a newborn that couldn’t seem to breastfeed, 55lbs that didn’t disappear, and a body that was not bouncing back so well after labor and delivery. I couldn’t eat (which made it difficult to produce enough milk to pump), couldn’t sleep, I had no idea what I was doing and definitely didn’t expect to be handling such a tiny 6lb human, and I was doing it alone. But now that it’s rolling up on the 2 year mark, I’ve realized no one can ever prepare for parenthood. Every child is an original and completely unique. And as their parents we learn and form to fit them. We become so attuned to their specific needs and come to know them like the back of our hands. No one can take our place for them, and vice versa. Parenthood is kind of this beautiful ironic thing that only the luckiest of us get to experience. And that’s really the only way you can figure such a conclusion: experience.

    • I love what you wrote. Honestly I don’t think age matters much. I had Amelia at age 27 which is young by NYC standards. Most of the first time moms I meet are in the 40s and were just as clueless as me lol

  12. Ahhhh – it was SO GOOD to read that, thank you so much for sharing 😀 !!!!!
    It reminds me of my classes and training for the birth when we then went into an emergency caesarian, hahaha. Better should have spent that money on a massage! NOTHING prepares you for that! Because, you know, even if it was that in your case, honestly, ehm, I AM DIFFERENT!!! Hehe.

  13. I would go w/the smile and nod approach. Not every pregnancy is carefree either. For instance, when planning to get pregnant – I thought I would LOVE being pregnant – that’s what most moms told me, that they loved every second of it. Now, I’m a gestational diabetic – I was eating fine prior to even being diagnosed – it’s something that’s in my genes, and I’m adopted so I didn’t even know that to start with. I have to deal w/people always asking if there’s only one baby in my belly because my son is measuring very large. I was not expecting to carry a large baby at all, I was 5’1.5″ & 114.5lbs prior to pregnancy and was a small baby and the discomfort w/a large baby can be unreal (I have rods for scoliosis in my back too). Plus, you become a high-risk pregnancy so you feel like you spend more time w/doctors than you do w/most if not all other people & you have a consistent worry about something going wrong.

    That’s not to say I’ve hated every moment though either – I love feeling him move, even now, when it’s 110% uncomfortable due to his size. I actually somewhat enjoy the non-stress tests most of the time because you get to hear the baby’s heartbeat for 15 – 45 minutes. Ultrasounds can be fun if he’s behaving and not moving 1230490385x, ha 🙂

    I did work in daycare for awhile, which while 100% different from being a parent, you do get to see babies/children w/strep throat and their behavior with it or babies/toddlers up all night w/teething or diaper rashes. You basically see the start or aftermath of quite a few things. Not so pretty, at all.

    I don’t think any labor can be planned – as of right now, I refused to do a birth plan because depending on his size, I may need a c-section. And if I do deliver “naturally” I plan on following what the docs/nurses tell me since it’s a complicated pregnancy. I stopped reading expecting books because my pregnancy turned out anything but what was expected, lol – and I’ve had parents tell me not to read first years or toddler books either unless using it as a reference to look up something…

    Just figured it’d be interesting to throw a pregnant perspective out there 🙂

    • that is my pet peeve! people asking if you are having twins!!!!! Don’t feel bad though they are the dumb ones. Amelia was a 7 pound average sized baby and people even asked me if I was having triplets. I started to believe them and bought huge clothes for Amelia… she had nothing to wear when we got home from the hospital lol

    • Anyone who comments on a pregnant woman’s size bothers me, whether it’s “oh you’re huge, how many are in there!” or “but you’re so tiny!” I’m 4’11” and my whole life everyone said when I got pregnant I’d be nothing but belly. Well, it didn’t happen. My uterus grew into my body rather than outward. It was so awful to hear the “are you sure you’re almost due?” comments, like they were telling me I was failing to grow a baby properly.

      Best of luck with the GD . I had it with my first son, and like you, I grew to like the NSTs, but not most of the other things that went with it. Although I found seeing doctors so much soothing, they were very good at keeping any worries at bay. I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes as smoothly as it can, and good thoughts to a healthy delivery!

  14. I’m “brutally” honest … But I always tell them that everybody feels differently about pregnancy and labour …
    I hated being pregnant almost every minute of it
    I’ve loved my baby since I found out I was expecting but hated the hole pregnancy thing… It even made me rethink having a second baby… And my pregnancy was a dream everything was absolutely fine from beginning to end …. It is such a taboo in our society not to be a happy pregnant women … People look at you funny and tell you ” you don’t really mean it” well sorry but I do and won’t lie about it !
    Tell the truth even if it hurts !!
    Btw you look gorgeous on the pic 🙂

    • thank u! It’s also taboo to admit you weren’t an completely happy new mom. I have always loved Amelia and taken care of her well but I didn’t feel completely bonded to her or that I enjoyed being a mom until she was about 4 months old… maybe it was because she had colic and screamed for 5 hours a day lol but now Amelia is the world to me!

  15. I think honesty with a touch of concern when people ask is the best way. Totally unsolicited advice usually makes people throw up a wall and they don’t hear anything. I hated hearing horror stories of birth while pregnant. I knew it wasn’t going to be rainbows and sunshine… I read the books and online posts and even took a class. I worked as a mother-baby nurse for 2 years and PICU nurse for 2 years… I was constantly told “you’ll be awesome, you’ll know exactly what to do. you’re going to have it so easy.” I always said back -“I know how to take care of the first 3 days of life before I send them home… I only took care of them 12 hours and most of that time they spent with their parents then I went home to a quiet house. Or when I did PICU they were so sick they couldn’t cry or talk or eat.”

    The best advice I find is to wish someone a smooth pregnancy and delivery by just saying “hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Pregnancy and motherhood is the unknown… anything could happen. Both my children’s births and infanthood have been different.”

    I do tend to tell my friends to avoid crazy birth plans like “absolutely no drugs or only the father should be present or no IV, etc.” As a nurse I saw so many of these plans and I swear a good 75% get totally blown over with an emergency c-section and baby to NICU. We can only prepare so much. Life throws curveballs… sometimes it’s best to just fly by the seat of your pants. And I always warn them that they need to pack pregnancy clothes for the hospital and that they’re likely to poop on the bed during pushing.

    (and to the people that hate pregnancy…. I hated the first one. HATED it. I was sore and itchy and swollen and bitchy. The 2nd was a completely different story- not as bad.)

  16. I just saw your reply on breastfeeding. I hate that women put so much pressure on each other and themselves. Along with my “perfect” birth I was going to breastfeed too. I couldn’t breastfeed Katie and had to use formula. She was a very healthy baby/child (other than her issues right at birth). I did successfully breastfeed David for 16 months. He never had formula. He had more health issues than Katie ever did. With him it was always something. Honestly what is best for baby is a Mom who puts the needs and wants of her child ahead of what “everyone” says is best. I had guilt over not successfully breastfeeding Katie. I was fortunate though that I had the full support of my Mom and sister (who had my nephew 12 days before I had Katie and she can’t breastfeed due to her medications for Lupus).
    I think the best advice you can give a new Mom is to be ready for anything, and to realize you can only do the best you can with what you have. You will make mistakes because lets be honest we are only human. It is okay to make mistakes, you pick yourself up and move on. Guess what, the baby doesn’t know if you made a mistake and he/she will love you anyway!
    I am sorry you had such a difficult time in the beginning. Being a Mom is the hardest but most rewarding job on earth. Sadly we make it harder on ourselves and each other by judging everything people say or do.

  17. When I was pregnant with Andrew I found out that pregnant women debate EVERYTHING! I joined babycenter and got on the birth club boards. Silly me, I always just assumed that everyone was entitled to make their own decisions regarding their kids. Imagine my shock when I had people telling me I was basically guilty of mutilating my son’s genitals because I had him circumcised or how I was poisoning him by giving him formula when breastfeeding didn’t work out. You never realize how much mothers are judged on every decision that they make. Even my grandmother sat there telling me I was starving my baby because I had to watch how much baby food I gave him due to his acid reflex (yea, that one actually made me cry!). This time around I learned to just not discuss my parenting with ANYONE. If people ask for advice I will give it but if someone questions how I parent my sons I’m telling them to mind their own freakin business (Yep, even grandma… she’s very judgmental for such an old woman!). It’s funny, the books get you ready for labor, delivery, what to expect during pregnancy, and what to dread in postpartum. Yet none of them tell you how to deal with the judgement and criticism that you will inevitably face from everyone for every choice you make.

    • I actually had to stop looking at sites like babycenter because they upset me so much. We had too watch how much Amelia ate as well because of reflux so I sympathize with you.

      • Yea I’m definitely glad Andrew outgrew the reflux. I’m worried Connor will have it too. It was horrible with Drew. They had me mixing rice cereal with the pumped breastmilk and later with the formula because even the formula with the rice cereal already in it wasn’t thick enough to stay down. Now he can eat anything without getting sick which is good because he’s the only 2 year old I know who loves salsa and chips. LOL! I still go on babycenter but I definitely don’t post as much as I once did. People just freak out on you over everything… especially since the ladies on my birthclub board are all now 8/9 months pregnant, hormonal and miserable.

      • Crazy… Princess A had horrible reflux and now her fav food is tomatoes.

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