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!”