Motherhood Questions: Common Misconceptions

I have decided with my vast and lengthy experience of one child and two pregnancies, (in the midst of my second pregnancy) to do some posts about motherhood. Mostly because I have a lot of facebook friends who are either about to be moms, are new moms, or have been moms for EVER. Lots of mom knowledge needs to float around, and I’m here to float it. Even if you’re not a mom, I’m still hilarious, so you can keep reading.

I’ve asked some facebook friends for questions, and I’m going to take a couple of days/posts to answer. I could do it all in one post, (they didn’t ask that many questions) but I like to have room to ramble and be funny (at least, I think I’m funny), so I’ll stretch it out over the next couple of days.

I’d like to start by saying I have practically no experience being a mother and I know it. I mean, my son has only been alive walking the earth for 15 months or so, if you don’t count the keeping him alive whilst a fetus. Which, for the record, I DO. There are other mothers out there with more practical knowledge. I’m going to give you my two cents anyway, because this is my blog, and if there’s one thing having a kid will teach you, it’s that you can amass a HUGE amount of knowledge very quickly. It’s called Immersion Study. Like moving to France to learn French. It’s a “you do it because you have to to survive” sort of thing. Bear with me. And please, remember, take everything with a grain of salt. Salt is good for you.

Today’s topic(s): Misconceptions and False Expectations about Pregnancy/Motherhood.

It took Aaron and I a year and a half (ish) to have Caden. I yearned to be pregnant more than pretty much anyone I have ever met. This brings me to misconception number 1.

Misconception Number One: It’s fun to be pregnant.

No, it is NOT fun to be pregnant. You barf, you get fat, you STRETCH THE HECK OUT. The ATTENTION is fun. The building Human Life is fun. The rest is WORK. Work that, for the most part unless you are supremely genetically gifted, makes you unattractive by most normal standards. Why our society demands we spend our lives being sexually attractive so we can get a man to marry us, then impregnate us, only to decide post-pregnant bodies are icky, is completely beyond me. It’s the weirdest double standard ever. By societies rules, women should be hottest while pregnant and have tons of cute clothing options and be hailed as life-givers. This is sadly not the case. So, when you have gained 40 pounds and your “girls” now need German Engineering to stay up and you want to sleep for the rest of life, remember, pregnancy being fun=huge misconception. Don’t beat yourself up about any of it, and try to remember, You’re Building a Person! (Please note: it’s ok if you are depressed about getting fat. Happens to the best of us when pregnant.)

Misconception Number 2: You will be pregnant FOREVER.
Nope, trust me, it’s the one thing you’ll do that has a time limit. I reccommend having your spouse remind you of this as often as you need. Mine does. Though it will feel like forever, it’s only 10 months. Unless you are me, then it’s more likely 10 months and some weeks. Hate to break it to you, but lots of moms go 42+weeks, especially with their first baby.

Misconception Number 3:
When you’re pregnant you can’t: drink, eat sushi, take baths, eat shellfish, take pain medication, have sex (sorry dad), exercise, drink caffeine, look directly at the sun, be in the sun, dye your hair, eat lunch meat, eat hot dogs, eat anything that tastes good, watch the food heat up in the microwave, use your cell phone too much, go in the hot tub, clean the bathroom, lay on your back, or enjoy life at all.

Some people would like you to take that positive pregnancy test you’re holding, grab some chips and chocolate ice cream, go to your couch, sit down, and not move for the next 40 weeks except to shove “food you are craving” into your face. This is total hooey. At the end of these 40 weeks, you are about to do the hardest physical activity of your life, why would you prep for it by sitting on your can and stuffing your face with fudge covered twinkies?

And, when you DO decide to do something on the above list, like drink CAFFEINATED COFFEE some quack who read an article once will lecture you about it. Trust me, I’ve been lectured about childbirth by men in line at Starbucks. So here’s my advice. Research! Not on wikipedia, but with moms you trust, legitimate medical journals, your caregiver, and your husband. Then, make what you feel is the best informed decision for your pregnancy, and STICK TO YOUR GUNS. Don’t let anyone, even your doctor push you into something you don’t feel right about.

If you feel that hot dogs might turn your child orange, or that watching the food heat up in the microwave might give your baby flippers, then don’t do it! Personally, I drink caffeine (I don’t know how to get thru pregnancy without it!) until about 38 weeks. Then I stop, because drinking caffeine while nursing DID keep Caden awake, the one time I tried. And, I stop at 38 weeks because I don’t want the baby to have withdrawals. I basically take my vitamins, get my sleep, avoid pain meds totally, and take the rest on a case by case basis. So should you, for what feels right. Feel free to ask for specifics on any of the above.

This post is hecka-long. More later. Stay Tuned for More common misconceptions and how to deal with sleep deprivation!

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About Jennifer James

I'm a full time mom who works full time. I'm a painter, a dreamer, and a believer that the most feminist thing you can do is adore your femininity. I say what I think, when it's appropriate for sharing. I write when I feel like I have something to say. I love always.

6 thoughts on “Motherhood Questions: Common Misconceptions

  1. Jess you are definitely the exception to the “get off your keister” rule. We prefer your babies to grow as long as possible. Extra props to moms who have to LAY IN BED for their entire pregnancy, because I bet after a week it gets really old…

  2. Hola-
    I know I’m a few days behind to be commenting, but there were a couple things I’d like to share.

    First, in defense of pregnancy…
    I LOVE being pregnant. Even when I was miserable with nausea and even now working 6 days a week battling fatigue, I’ve never not loved everyday of pregnancy. The effects you mentioned are definitely true, but I truly enjoy the “work” part… or rather, consciously putting forth effort into the development of my baby. It’s hard having vegetarian tendencies and still get enough protein, etc, but I love the challenge. Even sorting through my haywire hormone-induced emotions has made me a more conscientious wife. Pregnancy has also inspired me to exercise more and learn to relax effectively. Unlike you, I didn’t really want to be pregnant yet, and I honestly didn’t think I’d personally be ready for this for a few more years, but boy have I been pleasantly surprised at the joy of giving up my former ideas of who I am/supposed to be, and all my distorted dreams/goals.

    Also, while I’ve seen that most pregnant women do worry too much, there are a couple things you mentioned that are in fact potentially harmful. Too much coffee did cause my brother to be born with very low birth weight. I still drink a moderate amount of it (it’s the only way I can get perky enough for my physically demanding job everyday), but there really is a limit. Also, hot tubs CAN be harmful to the baby because it raises their temperature. That’s why they start kicking like crazy if you stay in there too long.

    Anyway, there’s my 2 cents. Take it or leave it. But I just wanted to share a little of my own perspective. (sorry this was so long)

    • Oh yeah, and I was going to say something about the stretching out part, which I know I haven’t fully experienced yet. I’m fascinated by the changes my body is going through, stretch marks and all (which I thought was some type of blood infection at first because of the look.. pretty funny). The rounder I get, the sexier I feel, and I think Gabriel thinks so too. He’s been my biggest comfort and encouragement, reminding me that I’m more and more beautiful (even with my funny-looking stretch marks and varicose veins), and that I’m doing so well (much thanks to him, though). And after some time to feel halfway human again (I’m aware I’ll be experiencing sleepless nights and zombie mommy), I’m actually looking forward to the challenge of getting back to a “normal” size for me. I know I’ll never look the same, but I’m cool with that. For now, I love my growing maternal look. I don’t think I’ve ever been more beautiful, if I do say so myself. ha ha 🙂

  3. Brianna- Thanks for your two cents! And- like I said with the coffee, it’s fine in moderation. Too much, like more than a cup or so of black coffee day, CAN be harmful, causing things like low birth weight and withdrawals.

    Same goes for hot baths, or hot tubs, they are fine in moderation, if you keep the temp on the low side and get out before you start to sweat.

    I’m glad pregnancy has been kind to you friend, it’s a pretty cool deal, growing a human life and you definitely look fabulous doing it. 🙂

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