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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Holy Crap! Stop Trying to Scare Pregnant Women about these 5 Things.



Something about the human condition seems to make us want to out-miserable each other. "You had a rough day? Well, my handbag got caught in a subway door and I was dragged through 8 miles of tunnels until it finally occurred to me that I could let go. And then a mugger stole it." We can't be happy when we're happy, and we certainly can't be happy when other people are happy.

This seems to be doubly true for pregnancy and parenting. No one wants to tell you about how their baby slept through the night at 6 weeks, or toilet-trained himself at 22 months. Instead there's some kind of unofficial competition going on among the parents of the world to see who had it worst. And if that's not sad enough, they need to make sure you're scared witless about it as well. 

One of us. One of us.

All you fear mongers out there need to stop doing this. Because, in addition to the fact that you're needlessly scaring women worldwide into believing they'll give birth to minions of Satan, you and every other parent on the planet are telling your pregnant friends the SAME DAMN STORIES. At least be original. 

So, for reference, here are 5 things we're already both petrified of and sick to death of hearing about:

1. No. Sleep. Ever. 
Yeah yeah yeah, babies are on a mission to turn their parents into sleep-deprived zombies. I may as well sell my bed on Craigslist and resign myself to 5 minute cat naps in the living room arm chair from now until baby goes to college. 
Here's the thing: you survived. My parents survived. Everyone I know with a kid survived, and while they still may not get a solid 8-hours, none of them have tried to eat my brain or accidentally set the baby to brine in the fridge instead of the holiday turkey, so they're all reasonably well-functioning. 
Not to mention, I'm already up twice a night to pee, and numerous times to adjust/curse the body-pillow-the-size-of-Texas I now sleep with to alleviate hip/back pain; I haven't been sleeping well for months, and at least with a newborn, I won't have to go to work or otherwise be a productive, contributing member of society on 3 hours' sleep.

2. Poo
Poo-splosions. Blowouts. Poo on the walls. Poo on the ceiling. Poo.
We get it. Babies poo. It's gross. It's messy. It will fill a silo just like Spiderpig. 
It's also temporary.
Enough with the poo. If there's something that even most clueless parent-to-be knows, it's that babies poo, and you just have to deal. The constant reminders are unnecessary (and also, we don't need a visual; keep that shit--literally--off Facebook).

3. Assorted nipple-related disasters.
While it's true that society often glosses over the difficulties that can be associated with breastfeeding, leaving us all to believe it's a happy-go-lucky walk through the park, you really do not need to be the one to address this oversight with personal horror stories. Terrifying your friend with all the possible tragedies that could befall her breasts isn't helpful. She'll psych herself out before she starts. If you have actual advice, to be offered to someone who is actually having a difficult time, go for it. Otherwise, shut the hell up.

4. The pseudo-single parent.
Men are less than useless with babies, and will spend those newborn months whining about the lack of sex. Moms are left to do absolutely everything. It's so hard! Sniff.
It's really too bad you decided to marry a complete jackass, but just because you made a poor choice doesn't mean we all did. What exactly do you get out of scaring your pregnant friends into assuming their husbands will be, for all intents and purposes, second babies? Scrape your loaf of a hubby off the couch and into a therapist's office, and let the rest of us figure out our own parenting dynamic. Thanks.

5. Tearing.
Shudder.
Tearing and other childbirth horror stories might be the most useless anecdotes in the history of time. My assumption is that my doctor/midwife/whomever will tell me what I need to know be prepared for childbirth. You don't need to fill in all the gory details so that I have a terrifying compendium of every childbirth disaster that could possibly befall me at my disposal.
Childbirth will happen, and whatever physical ailments result, your pregnant friends will address them accordingly. Creating nightmare scenarios in our heads, helped along by the excessive and unnecessary details you shared about your experience, to be re-imagined over and over in the weeks before birth, is just adding to our stress levels. 

Save these stories to share with your friends that already have kids, during one of your spirited rounds of "my-life-sucks-more-than-yours."

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