There are a lot of things to learn when you become pregnant for the first time. You are bombarded by information from books, the internet, television, and especially other mothers. My mother tells me that I'm lucky, because when she was pregnant they didn't have all of this advanced technology and information. But really, how lucky are we? Ok yes, it is amazing to be able to have a 3D sonogram and see what your little angel looks like inside your womb, to be able to monitor the babies growth and development and test for birth defects. These advances in technology are nothing short of amazing, but when it comes right down to it, does all of this information make us more informed or more paranoid? You can't eat soft cheese or lunch meat or caffine (all rules which I have broken). Are bumpers in the crib safe or not? Natural child birth or epidural? Breast feed or bottle feed? Can I still run? What about sex? Can I still color my hair? Can I get a manicure? Which sleeping position is safe? Can I use the microwave? What about second hand smoke? The list goes on and on and on! I could write thousands of questions, that all have answers by the way, just check out Google. So let me get this straight, my mother lived blissfully unaware of all of the "danger" she was putting her unborn fetus through, while I get to stress over every little thing I do. I turned out just fine, a very healthy baby of 8 lbs, my brother too! So who is the lucky one here? Has anyone done a study about the amount of stress a pregnant women goes through due to the amount of information she is exposed to and has to worry about? I'm no doctor, but my guess is that stress is just as, if not more detrimental to an unborn child than all of these potential hazards.
Now, being a newbie to pregnancy and motherhood leaves you prey to what I like to call the "Not So Silent Killer"...other mothers. Everyone wants to give you their advice and their opinion! They may come across as sweet and caring and compassionate with the best intentions, but I know better. They are trying to kill me! Now of course I don't mean literally, but I am slowly drowning in a sea of "you should do this" and "don't do that" and I am being strangled by their personal horror stories about preganancy, labor and delivery. When you first announce that you are pregnant, your heart is soaring, you can't wipe the smile off of your face, you are elated! Then for some reason, unbeknownst to me, a mother will jump right into her story about how she had a miscarriage right around this time. I'm sorry, truely from the bottom of my heart, that anyone has to ever go through something so horrible, but is now really the time to bring that story up? Honestly, what are you thinking? That is actually quite selfish, in my opinion. Dumping your sad, tragic story on a new mom-to-be because it makes you feel better to talk about it. In turn you have just put newly prego into stress mode and now all she will think about is the possiblity that she may miscarry.
Word of advice to the newbies out there. Take ALL advice from other mothers with a grain of salt. Everyone and I mean everyone has an opinion from what pediatrician to use, right down to what type of laundry detergent is safe for the baby. Your head is going to spin! You are going to stress out, which is not good for that baby. Let it roll off of your back, especially the horror stories.
Now, word of advice for all you veterans out there. Were you not once in our shoes? Were you not newly pregnant and terrified? Oh yeah, you forgot didn't you? Try, really hard, when speaking to a newbie not to tell her traumatic stories about you or your friend, or your friend's friend.
What we do need to hear is "you are going to be a great mother!", "your maternal instincts will kick in", "don't worry, you'll figure it out". Share all of the wonderful things that come along with motherhood and how much love you have for your children and how you were scared the first time, just like us! Just the simple fact that all of these women have been in our place at some point, hence all the advice, makes me wonder why they can't remember how they felt when they were pregnant for the first time. Do you not remember how scared you were, and all of the people telling you what to do? Do you not remember that you were once clueless too and that all of this motherhood stuff was like a foreign language? Next time you decide it's time to share a horror story with a first time mom, think about how it felt when you were in her shoes and tell her a happy story instead!