Monday, February 24th, 2020

Birthing And Pregnancy Truths From A Mom Who Has Been There

Published on August 21, 2009 by   ·   29 Comments Pin It

I can, and will, write at length about all the things friends, doctors, family members and strangers on the street tell you about pregnancy, childbirth and newborns. But here’s a quick and dirty list of just a few of the totally false things I was told when I embarked on this journey of motherhood. Don’t worry, I will expand on all of these in due time…

  • You have to eat a lot when you get pregnant.

Um, no. Yes you should be healthy and not eat a lot of junk, but there’s no reason to suddenly double your caloric intake or pig out. You will naturally be hungrier, so just continue eating good food and don’t drive yourself crazy. But yes, drink lots of water.

  • Sleep now because once baby arrives you won’t get any rest.

And yes in the first trimester you will be narcoleptic and fall asleep everywhere (at your desk at work, in yoga, at home at 5pm for the night), but in the 3rd trimester forget it, you will simply be too uncomfortable to sleep well. You will have bouts of insomnia, your whole sleep schedule will be upended. And yes, you will want to strangle every person that chimes in with that dumb sleep now advice. Yeah, I get it, but it’s not going to happen, so shut up already.

  • If you get an epidural, you won’t feel any pain.

Yes, I’m a scaredy cat, and thought my labor would go something   like this: feel a few pangs or pre-labor, nothing serious, call my Hubby and mosey over to the hospital where I get my pain relief, then coast through until the little one pops out. No one bothered to burst this bubble of fiction for me, so I was very pissed, to put it mildly, when not only did I have to wait an hour to be admitted and receive the injection into my spine (all the while feeling serious contractions that made me cry, moan like a wild animal, and almost made my husband pass out from witnessing all this), but then when I was fully dilated and had to start pushing, the epidural stopped working.   No, there was nothing wrong with the drip, no technical difficulty, but they TURNED IT OFF!!! Other moms have told me the same happened to them, something about needing you to be able to feel everything in order to effectively push the baby out. This makes sense I guess, but couldn’t they have warned me?!

  • Getting induced is no big deal.

Mark my words – make sure you get an epidural BEFORE the pitocin, trust me.

  • Breastfeeding is a natural thing that will come easily to new moms.

While it would be great to think so, and there is some element of truth to this, um, no. NO. Unfortunately breastfeeding isn’t this super easy process by which women just coax the newborn toward the nipple and voil , he suckles seamlessly. There are techniques, different positions, right ways and wrong ways to do it. And while my son had no problem feeding right after birth in the hospital bed, it was afterward that he decided to make tartare of my nipples. So by all means, go to a support group or a lactation consultant if you have difficulty.

  • The first 3 months are hard, but by then baby will be sleeping through the night and you’ll be fine.

Um, again no. Try the first 6 months are super tough, and THEN your baby MAY sleep through the night, and no promises with that. And can we talk about the definition of “sleep through the night?” To me this should mean that I sleep through the night, not just baby. So when people tell me their babies are sleeping through but by this they mean only 5 hours from 8p to 1am, I say hell no. When your kid falls asleep and doesn’t wake up until 6am or after, THAT, my friends, is sleeping through the night.

We’ve polled you gals, and we know many of you are Hot Mommy’s or Mommys-to-be, so we’d like to welcome “Upper East Side Mom” Diana Nikkhah Harfouche who will be blogging with us regularly.   Gorgeous Diana is a journalist living on New York City’s Upper East Side, trying her best to navigate this thing that is “both a terrifying black hole and life’s greatest pleasure: Motherhood.” She is mom to adorable Jean-Luc, whose “future unfortunately will probably include a few angst-ridden years on a therapist’s couch, thanks to her.”   What we love most about our very own “Upper East Side Mom” is she won’t feed you any bullshit.   She will be frank with you (childbirth hurts) and honest (stop stuffing your face with cookies) and you will appreciate every glorious, sisterly truth.   Here she debunks some of the biggest myths.

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Readers Comments (29)

  1. Rhea Parsons Riker says:

    Great information! Cute baby :)

  2. elaine says:

    OH, I could SO blog about motherhood (done that three times). It’s the biggest challenge ever, and it only STARTS with the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth! In the end, the simple moments keep you going (kid crawling, kid losing teeth, kid writing first sentence, etc.). But, oh, I so sympathize with the pissed-off feeling that goes with the realities of childbirth, breastfeeding, and sleep deprivation. :)

    On my third try, I got it “right” (at least right for me): I got an epidural at about 7 centimeters and it lasted through the birth, though I still felt some pain. But hey — some pain is a lot more endurable than the whole shebang.

    Congratulations Diana!

  3. jenni says:

    LOVE this! I must say though: I had pitocin without an epidural and gave birth to an 11 lbs. baby. I think it’s definitely a possibility. But it takes breathing, relaxation, meditation and SUPPORT! Great blog! xoxo

  4. Kate says:

    Great tips!!

  5. Great post! Although I’m not yet ready to do the knocked up thing, I’ve really been reading a lot about it.

    I highly recommend the Ricky Lake documentary “The Business of Being Born”, it talks a lot about pitocin and epidurals.

  6. JB says:

    I find it sad that a whiny, negative take on childbirth is the writer’s angle GirlieGirl Army has chosen to cover childbirth & motherhood. Yeah, it hurts, but that’s not everything. It’s unfortunate that we’re given yet more advice to numb ourselves out of the experience instead of other CHOICES, like some ways to cope with the pain and get through it.

  7. Krissy says:

    That is adorable. After reading about all the agony that cute little guy makes it all seem worth it!

  8. Melissa says:

    I find this pretty offensive. I don’t know anyone who thinks that childbirth will not hurt. Was that only a joke or is this woman for real? We as women need to be educating ourselves about how to proactively AVOID pitocin intervention, for our own health and safety as well as for babies’ health. I agree with JB’s disappointment that this is GirlieGirl Army-sponsored writing about motherhood and childbirth. I would so much rather read an adult, intelligent discussion of what childbirth pain _means_, how to _cope_ with it and what it’s _for_. I will make sure to avoid this woman’s writing in the future because it made me feel icky.

    Unfortunately, this blog post reinforces all my worst stereotypes that the Upper East Side is another planet.

  9. Vanessa says:

    Thank God you broke the conspiracy! My epidural was turned off as well (without warning) because my contractions were irregular. Damn. It hurt. But we got her out and then on to the challenge of breastfeeding…but all worth it!

  10. Trish says:

    I’m disappointed! I agree with the previous comments, this was offensive! The assumption that all women need and/or WANT an epidural and pitocin induced labor. I was really hoping for a more natural-birth orientated writer, who had POSITIVE things to say about breastfeeding, not just negative BS.

    This article was depressing, offensive, and against EVERYTHING I thought GirlyGirl Army stood for.

  11. Chloe Jo says:

    I so understand many of your concern with this Western-medicine themed article… but we have blogged extensively on how much we advise and admire those who have NATURAL childbirth, and wrote an entire blog on how much of a must-see THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN is. A few members on staff are preggers and doing everything entirely holistically and naturally.. HOWEVER, many of our readers (pregnant and with kids) have requested input from the other side.. ie those who don’t have the balls (or insanity, depends on your perspective) to go natural.
    Whatever your perspective, it’s always good to hear from someone who has done it… getting lots of opinions is key. Take what you need… and ignore the rest. MANY articles on entirely natural childbirth, herbal first trimester remedies, doulas, and more to come! Please keep giving us your opinions so we know what you love.. and more importantly… what you hate.
    Love, kale, and babies…

  12. UESmom says:

    Hi Ladies, I echo Chloe’s sentiments. My blog is only one person’s perspective on motherhood – mine. I completely respect and admire the decision to have natural childbirth, I was simply too scared to go there, wasn’t for me. I plan many future posts on a range of topics, including natural and holistic options for pregnancy and delivery (yes, there ARE crunchy moms on the UES, believe it or not). I’m about 35% crunchy, so if you want a blog that will simply reinforce all your own beliefs and mores, mine is not for you. If you want to read about how shit really goes down in the world of motherhood, the way I see it, please log on.

  13. Chrissie Eden Vazquez says:

    Some of these comments are sounding a little judgmental, no? The purpose of this blog was to share a different viewpoint that some people may have in common with the writer. As women, we should be SUPPORTING one another’s choices and sharing information, not wagging fingers and saying “you shoulda done it this way, that’s how I would’ve done it.” My aunt delivered all 3 of her children in under 5 hours, easy breezy. My 98 lb. mom struggled and screamed and cursed through 19 hours with me alone. Pointing a finger at another person and telling them what you think they should do when you’re not shouldering any of the weight of their decision is a little tacky.

    This is a relaying of the author’s PERSONAL experience. I don’t feel her bit on breast feeding was negative BS. It is a fact some women have difficulty breast feeding and may have an experience that is less than your perfect one. She struggled as a first time mom, and she wasn’t afraid to speak out and say so, which I applaud her for. How can you be offended by that? She never said it wasn’t a beautiful, important bonding experience, she never said it was icky or anything silly or fluffy. She said it was difficult. I think she’s allowed that much.

    I don’t think it’s at all offensive, depressing, or insulting to my intelligence that she chose to be induced or that she wanted an epidural, nor did I feel at all that her expressed viewpoint assumed that all women wanted or needed an epidural. She was just speaking to those who might because SHE wanted one, which is her (reproductive) choice, the same way birth control is a choice, and abortion is a choice!

    I think as a guest writer on a blog that caters to classy, educated, feminist, and **open minded** women, she would reasonably expect not to be judged for her choices. This is not an exclusive club where only the crunchiest of the earthy crunchy may hang out and speak freely.

    I hate PeTa. I’m not convinced about felines. Sometimes, I like a regular old $5 milkshake instead of a nutrition packed smoothie. I may or may not have an epidural when I give birth. Because! Maybe I’m not what you think the standard should be. But I don’t think that disqualifies me from being a part of what I feel GirlieGirl stands for.

    We may have similar interests that draw us here, but there is no membership qualification to be a GirlieGirl devotee. The beauty of that is that we are that much better when we can share information and exchange ideas openly and without judgment.

    I’m with Chloe–take what you need and leave the rest.

  14. jenni says:

    As a mama who desperately wanted an all-natural birth experience, complete with a birthing tub, I experienced firsthand that things don’t always go as planned. I think it’s important to understand all your options and respect other women’s birthing choices. Birth is a highly sensitive topic and often we have little control of the outcome. We can plan for the drug free homebirth of our dreams (doula included) but sometimes fate deals us a different card. Kudos to mamas who speak up about their experiences! I love and respect all mamas with a killer sense of humor and cute ass kids! ;-)

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