Why do mommies feel the need to scare the crap out of each other?

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Congratulations!  You are having a baby!  What wonderful news! Now, let me tell you about how horrible my pregnancy/ birth/ postpartum/ breastfeeding experience was…

How many of us mommies have experienced something similar to this?  I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way, after the obligatory congrats and hugs, we decided to start scaring the crap out of each other.

I know that most of us are anxious to share our negative experiences to help these ‘newbies’ in the mom club avoid the same pitfalls.  A lot of those anecdotes begin with, “If I could do things all over again, I would…” or “If you would’ve told me how hard natural childbirth/ breastfeeding/ co-sleeping/ ferberizing/ baby-wearing/ going back to work/ having SEX was, I never would have attempted it!”

The other side of the coin is all of the (ahem) ‘helpful’ information we bombard these sweet, excited, well-rested new recruits with.  We are so anxious to be helpful that we love to give our opinions on all the things they should be doing, thinking about, and planning for the next 20 years.  While, I am sure that starting a college fund for your sweet little bundle of joy is something that you will want to address, maybe it can wait a couple of months?

This amazing moment, the moment when we discover that our daughter/ sister/ niece/ cherished friend/ co-worker/ distant relative/ frenemy/ accountant’s 3rd cousin twice removed is joining the Mom Squad should be treasured by our doe-eyed loved one.  Instead our comments can leave the poor soul feeling nervous and overwhelmed.  She’ll have the rest of her life to feel nervous and overwhelmed!  (Oh, maybe I shouldn’t have let that little cat out of the bag!)

The wonderful thing about all of us women being so intricately and uniquely designed is that we experience all things differently.  We all have areas of pregnancy and motherhood that our bodies and personality are hard-wired for.  I cannot get pregnant on my own, but I have wonderfully easy pregnancies.  My sweet friend can get pregnant on a whim, but it is 40ish weeks of nausea, vomiting, and pre-term labor.  I could nurse a small army with the amount of breast milk I produce from the beginning, but my darling sister had supply issues with every baby.

My point is, just because you struggled, does not mean that the woman in front of you will.  I know we mean well, but there will be time to swap battle stories later.  I promise!

Maybe, when we hear the exciting news, maybe, just maybe we can just say, “Congratulations!  How are you feeling?  If you ever have any questions, or just want to talk about ANYthing, let me know!”

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When I First Witnessed a Miracle.

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When I was 13 years old my big sister became a mother.  Two things happened to me on that day:  I became an auntie to the most beautiful baby boy, and I got to bear witness to the most amazingly beautiful thing I had ever seen.  I got to see a woman find the strength to embrace the pain she was experiencing in order to bring new life into our family.  It was magical.  It changed me.

From that day forward I took any opportunity I could to again be there for those brief magical moments in a woman’s life.  Luckily, my sister is the mother of five, so I got a few opportunities!

I began working in the medical field when I was 21 years old, always with the goal in mind to work with laboring moms.  I eventually found my place with the amazing staff at Clovis Community Hospital working as an Obstetric Tech.  Those were glorious days for me.  Everyday I got to be an integral part of the business of making families.  I loved every minute, until I loved something more.

After six years of dealing with infertility we were given the most amazing gift.  Our son, Maxwell was born through another woman’s womb, but fit just perfectly into my arms.

Two weeks later I found out I was pregnant!  I drank in every experience.  Every kick, hiccup and stretch was relished.  Every queasy stomach, steep mood swing, and pain of my ligaments making room for my infant brought me that much closer to meeting our second child.  None of it was lost on me.

When my contractions began, I was giddy with excitement.  I knew that I was just hours away from unwrapping one of my most amazing gifts.  As I began to labor in earnest I began to look for strength in the people I had surrounded myself with.  My husband was my rock.  I literally hung off of him as I swayed that baby down.  Thankfully, I also had my dear friend as my Doula.  She knew the words that would both encourage me to keep going and give me permission to be honest with what I was experiencing.

I felt strong, until I was utterly exhausted.  I felt in control, until my very body would no longer obey me.  I felt calm, until I was nearly panting with fear.  As my people surrounded me and leant me their strength, I willed my body to bring my second son into our life.  Never have I been so utterly spent and so utterly euphoric at the same time.  My people cheered, we all cried, and I nursed my newborn child surrounded by love and joy.

I am so very grateful that I was able to move from observer of birth to bearer of birth.  It was magical.  It changed me.

Now, my children are growing and I get to help other women create that safe space as they bring new life into our world.  What an honor.  It is magical.  It changes me.

MaxNewbornAnnaMayer