Saturday, April 18, 2009

It's Called Motherhood. Google It.

Ok, something has just finally gotten to me, and I think it's time to have a mini gripe fest about it. I don't mean this towards any person in particular, but more against a mindset that, in my opinion, is all too popular among "seasoned" parents towards first time pregnant women and moms. And by "seasoned," I generally mean those who have one, maybe 2 kids under the age of 3.

What is it about a women in her first pregnancy making a comment about how she's tired, not sleeping well, or up earlier than she'd really like to be, that makes you think you should immediately respond with sardonic laughter and an "Oh, you just wait. Once that baby comes, you'll really know what no sleep is like." Who the heck asked you?!?!?! And what gives you the right to be anything but happy for someone expecting her first child?

I realize that there are SOME unsuspecting, clueless poor saps out there who somehow have created the mindset that motherhood, especially EARLY motherhood is somehow simple and that all babies do is eat, sleep, and poop. Oh, and I guess they're supposed to eat only between the hours of 8:00am and 10:00pm so Mommy can get her beauty rest. Any takers on that theory? No???? I didn't think so.

Believe it or not, THIS IS WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR!!!!!!! I already know that I won't be getting any sleep once this little girl comes, that she's going to be needing me at her every beck and call, and that I will literally get nothing accomplished for at least the first 4 months of her life. And you know what? I'm ok with it! I actually want what comes with a newborn, and those crazy, terrifying first steps into parenthood. None of this comes as any big surprise to me.

Thing is, right now, I don't have a little baby screaming for me at 3:30 in the morning, 20 minutes after I finally got her back to sleep. I don't have the inability to shower for 5 days at a time, to never eat (the REAL reason why breastfeeding mothers can lose weight so fast, for anyone who was wondering), and to probably be disolved in tears at least half the time my child is. I'm not saying that I'm completely prepared for it psycologically and emotionally, but I do know what's coming.

I'm almost 6 months pregnant, I'm tired, I'm not sleeping well when I do sleep, I wake up at 5:30 in the morning with indigestion that lasts until I finally get to sleep at midnight. Right now, I'm working a job that has me up and out at 7:00am, driving around town all day, chasing after diabetic cats (more on that later this weekend), and IF I have any energy, doing whatever I can and need to around the house during the day before going back out for my final visits at or after 9:00pm.

I enjoy my job, but it's not easy. The schedule is rough some days and I don't always have it in me to run around with what ends up being a 14 hour day when I can't get myself to sleep for a nap during the day. If I'm tired, and want to whine just a little bit about about how I'm not happy to be up before 9:00am, I think I've earned the right. I'm pretty darn confident that any other pregnant women out there felt the exact same way their first time around.

It doesn't take much to either not say anything, or to say, "Sorry you're not sleeping well. I went through that too. I know it's rough." Is that so hard??? What is it about other moms that completely leeches them of any sense of empathy, any sense of happiness on the part of a new mom coming into this weird new world where we could use all the help and encouragement we can get? Saying crap like, "Oh, just you wait," just gets old and after a while, it just pisses us off. Do you not realize how much we're looking to you for guidance? You've walked this path before. You know what's ahead with better awareness than we do. We have a respect for you that can only pass between a first-time pregnant woman and a mother. Do us a kindness and return the favor a little. And don't be such a pain in the ass about it.


Wearing Mascara said...


I am not pregnant but I do know what you mean. Kinda like when I complain about how busy I am and people say things like, "Well, you signed up for graduate school!" or... "Just WAIT till you're a psychologist!". Those bitches. I hear ya - I HATE when people do that and I even hate it more now when they do it to pregnant women after reading your post.

Hang in there and slap those bitches... haha jk... or maybe... hmmm


Rebecca said...

at the same point... i'm a new mom and had all those issues and to be honest, i'm glad they told me... i got the truth from them and it was much better than what i "thought" i knew. sometimes us "seasoned" mom's just think we're helping. so if we're not tell us to our face instead of like this. we won't know we're doing harm unless you tell us. we won't be offended but do deserve to know not to offer advise or witty comments... you'll make it. don't let stuff like this ruin your day.

Visione Bella said...

The thing is, there's a distinct difference between honestly trying to be helpful and saying something like, "Ha! You think THAT's early? Boy aren't you deluding yourself." What's helpful about that? And honestly, it's the only kind of comment I ever have.

They may not call me a clueless idiot right to my face, but the tone and sarcasm are there nonetheless. Advice is great. Wit is also something I'm a fan of. Sarcasm around topics like this is not. Especially when it's all I hear, and I know I'm not the only one.

As I said at the beginning of this post, this was completely and genuinely NOT intended towards any specific person(s). Sometimes, there's no easy way to "say it to my face" when the gripe is about a generalized mindset that appears incredibly widespread.

Maybe you moms don't realize that you're all singing in 4-part harmony, but at the end of the day, you're all saying the same thing. And with the number of moms I know, I've heard it at least 10 times... just in the last week.

I promise, day not ruined. But sometimes you need to just be able to vent and explode a little, and for me, the blog world is perfect for that. At least this way, I feel comfortable being really out there with how I feel about a subject. It's not so easy to accomplish that in repeated conversations with every human who has unintentionally peeved you. I'd be at it for months if I tried.

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Heidi said...

Hey Irene, I'm not pregnant either but I know what you mean. Strangely, I've experienced something similar with my chronic health issues of the past few years. The fatigue I've experienced from my thyroid and adrenal problems is INSANE. Waking up ten times a night? Check. But then I've had these women who have young kids say things like, "Oh, you won't REALLY know what tired is until you have a baby." I DO want to slap them. They have NO idea the difference between a) being tired because of lack of sleep and b) being tired NO MATTER HOW MUCH SLEEP YOU GET. (b) is infinitely harder to deal with and infinitely more depressing. Believe me, I'd MUCH rather wake up several times a night to rock and feed a beautiful baby than to merely get up to pee and then toss and turn for awhile. Sometimes I think a lot of moms with young kids (not all!) are wusses. Maybe they DO go into it having an over-idealistic mindset of how easy it's going to be...then it's enormously they feel like it's their personal mission to make sure no one else has those "ridiculous ideals." I had a friend who really complained that she couldn't do laundry and get the house clean when her daughter was THREE WEEKS OLD! I was like, girl, for the next three months you need to do nothing and be okay with it!

I've also seen parents with young kids who make choices that MAKE their lives harder than it needs to be. Creating an artificial schedule for your infant and then stressing out when they don't keep to it seems completely unnecessary. Deciding that a day old infant who has spent the last 9 months cuddled up to you, feeling your heartbeat, swimming in a nice watery pool, now has to sleep on a hard cold mattress down the hall from you seems cruel...and listening to them "cry it out" also unnecessarily stressful. Believe it or not I've seen parents of young kids who are NOT stressed all the time. Tired, yes, but constantly complaining about how hard everything

Anyway, all that to say...yes. Your rant is justified. There are a lot of weird attitudes out there - of married people to engaged people, people with one kid to people with no kids, people with three kids to people with one's like everyone somehow has to pick a group of people who has a little less life experience than they do and lord it over them and make them feel bad. There are people who just offer advice and like you said, that IS welcome! But the people who are condescending really do seem out to just...lord it over you.

Good luck with the last three months of your pregnancy. I for one think that a lot of the tiredness experienced in pregnancy has got to be worse than the baby tiredness, because it's often more hormonal than related to lack of sleep, and like I said - nothing is as stressful as exhaustion that is not curbed by sleep.


nanc said...

I think there is a lot of one upsmenship out there among moms. You know, they are more tired than you, they are busier than you, have smarter children than you, 2 year olds reading, etc. Good luck with your pregnancy.

Abby said...

I can't say that I get a whole lot of the "Oh just wait" comments from people because I'm from such a big family, and also because I used to volunteer for the fire department and was up all night taking care of people who really, honestly, had nothing wrong with them other than they wanted the attention... However, what frustrates me is that every time I see a couple certain people(who I won't name here) all they can seem to say to me is that I'm not eating right because I don't buy grass fed beef, and how because I don't I'm going to get high blood pressure... Or if I would just drink raw milk I wouldn't get UTI's anymore... And my Dr. isn't going to honor my birth plan at all, even if there aren't any complications, because that's what Dr.s do and I should just pay a couple thousand dollars for the use of a midwife and have a home birth(when I'm paying nothing at the moment for the great care I'm getting and will pay very little for the hospital stay). When I've tried to tell them that I like my Dr. and don't want to switch to a midwife and have a home birth because, quite frankly, this is my first baby and I'm scared out of my mind that something could(and, or, will) go wrong and I don't want to be at home, not knowing what to expect, when it does happen. I know midwives have their place, but I don't feel comfortable using one this go 'round... I know they mean well, but what they tell me is just sssooooo very far out there that I can't even begin to take it to heart, and can't seem to get my point across to them that I don't think the same way they do and probably never will!!! All this is as frustrating to me as people saying to you "oh you just wait!!" and isn't helpful to me at all!!! I mean if they want to tell me something that I can use they should tell me what exactly I can expect when I have the baby and what I can do with the least amount of medical intervention to get past some unforeseen complications.... And that's what I think a lot of parents don't see that we first-time mothers need the most. Advice not criticism is the key here!

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