Pregnancy is about 9 months long, but sometimes it can feel closer to 9 years. The body is going through a ridiculous number of changes, hormones are all over the map, and a woman's mind is probably filled with all sorts of fears and anxieties about what it'll actually be like when the baby is actually born.
Worrying about everything during pregnancy— from how big you're going to get to how good of a parent you're going to be— is perfectly normal and natural. Unfortunately, the people around us can make those worries worse. I've noticed that people fall into two separate camps when it comes to how they relate to expectant parents. You've got your overly optimistic ones, who gush about how you're just going to love every single second of parenthood (somehow seeming to gloss over the sleepless nights and disgustingly dirty diapers). And you've got your Debbie Downers, who seem to take a perverse joy in reminding you that life as you know it as over. The truth, of course, is somewhere in the middle.
Here are 15 lies you always tell a pregnant woman, and why you should take these lines with a grain of salt if you have a bun in the oven yourself.
15 You're All Belly
It's pretty much every pregnant woman's dream to gain a minimal (yet still healthy) amount of weight over the course of 9 months, and for that gain to result in a perfect little basketball belly— as opposed to, say, a suddenly jiggly rear end, love handles, or a few more chins. To be told "you're all belly" is another way of being told that you look amazing, and that is one of the very few judgments it's acceptable to make on a pregnant woman's appearance— unless of course you're okay with risking a hormonal meltdown. Even if it's not necessarily true, it's wonderful to hear to those of us who are feeling a little self-conscious about the new poundage that just absolutely refuses to be confined to our midsection.
14 You Have That Pregnancy Glow
The fabled pregnancy glow is something that every woman wants to achieve. But the secret to many of those who do manage to get the glow is actually kind of gross: we're really just super hot and sweaty literally all the time, and it gives us kind of a sheen. Someone who tells you you're glowing may just be picking up on the fact that you look a bit shiny and flushed because your crazy pregnancy hormones make you feel like the world is a sauna. But still, it's better than being told that you look tired, or even worse, that you look like you're ready to pop (especially when you're only like 5 months pregnant). And god forbid someone tells you you look like you're having twins when you've definitely only got one normal human sized baby in there.
13 Labor Isn't That Bad
Most women probably believe that while labor isn't exactly a walk in the park, it's also not the screaming, cursing, sweaty ordeal we usually see depicted in TV and movies. But the truth is, the reality is somewhere in the middle. The experience of childbirth is often completely unpredictable and no two labors are ever going to be completely the same. It's also hard to accurately gauge your own level of pain tolerance. Even women who are typically calm, cool, and collected might find themselves losing their minds in childbirth, while women who are expecting a horrifying ordeal can come out of thinking it really wasn't that hard. There's really no use in comparing— all you can do is hope for a healthy baby, and effective pain meds (if you want).
12 Of Course You'll Bond Right Away
It would be nice to have a guarantee that you'll fall in love with your baby the moment you lay eyes on them. For many women, that's perfectly true. Some women even bond with the unborn little bump kicking away in their belly. But it's not true for all women— some need a bit more time to get to know this strange little creature, to adjust to the complete and total upheaval of their lives, and perhaps most importantly, for their emotions and hormones to calm down a bit. It's perfectly normal if it takes a little time to bond, so no new mom should ever feel ashamed by it or like they're already messing things up. The feelings will come eventually, and when they do, they'll be so worth the wait.
11 You'll Just Know What To Do
The weeks and months leading up to the birth of a child can be filled with anxiety. If it's your first baby, you might be panicking about your ability to keep a brand new little human happy and healthy every single day for the next couple of decades. If you're a veteran parent, you might be wondering how the heck you're going to find the time and energy (not to mention the money) for another little member of your brood. It would be nice to know that everything will just magically work itself out— that you'll be a pro at feeding and changing and comforting a crying baby from day 1. But like with most things in life, there are inevitably going to be some bumps in the road. Just remember that the hard times will always pass, and the joy will be immeasurable.
10 Breastfeeding Will Come Naturally
Breastfeeding seems so simple in theory, and yet it can be so complicated (not to mention emotionally charged) in reality. There can be a whole host of issues that make it super challenging, and sadly, many women aren't at all prepared for them. Your baby might have trouble figuring out how to latch on properly, which means they won't be able to draw milk out efficiently. You might struggle with low supply that makes it hard to satisfy your baby's hunger, or struggle with an oversupply that leads to painful problems like engorgement or mastitis. Or you may simply not enjoy the thing that you expected to love. While many of these issues can be overcome with time and patience, you should never feel like you have to continue breastfeeding if it's driving you insane.
9 The Baby Weight Will Fall Right Off
If this were true, millions of women all over the world would be rejoicing daily. Some women do claim that their excess weight just melted right off after birth, maybe from breastfeeding or maybe from chasing a couple of kids around the house all day. But many others face an uphill battle in shedding the baby weight. While you usually drop a significant amount of weight shortly after birth, those last few pounds can be incredibly annoying to try and work off. On top of that, it can be hard for busy moms to find the time to eat right and exercise when all of their time and energy is focused on their kids. The good news is this: your family will think you're beautiful just the way you are.
8 You'll Get A Good Sleeper
One of the biggest worries that many moms and dads have prior to the birth of their baby is how they're possibly going to deal with all that sleep deprivation. It would be amazing if we could all get a guarantee that our new little ones would be sleeping through the night in a matter of weeks, but the truth is, it takes some babies months and even years to reach that milestone. Sleep deprivation is seriously torturous, so I suggest squeezing in naps whenever you can (don't waste that precious baby nap time on doing chores or silly things like that), and trade off night duties with your partner so you can get a full night's sleep once a while. And if you're one of the lucky ones to get a good sleeper, try not to brag about it too much.
7 You'll Feel Like Yourself Again In No Time
All the changes that happen to your body over the course of your pregnancy can leave you looking and feeling like a different person. Your shape and your weight change, and your emotions and feelings can, too (you can thank those pregnancy hormones for that). It would be amazing if childbirth flipped a switch and transformed you back into your prebaby self, but it just doesn't work that way. It can take some time for your hormones to level out, and in the meantime you might be dealing with lots of new anxieties and worries thanks to your new baby. Those feelings are super common and very normal, so you shouldn't panic if you're not feeling 100%. If you're feeling so poorly that you can't function or bond with your baby, however, you may want to talk to your doctor about postpartum depression.
6 Your Life Won't Change That Much
For the first few months of a baby's life, they really can't and don't do anything but eat, sleep, and poop. With that being the case, you might be tempted to think that your baby won't affect your lifestyle too much, and that you'll still be able to run errands, socialize, and just relax without too much of a hassle— like your baby is an adorable new accessory that you just happen to be lugging along for the ride. While that is sometimes the case (plenty of moms and dads sneak their sleeping infants into movie theaters, for example), more often than not you'll end up passing on plans way more than you used to. But the good news is, you probably won't miss it as much as you might think. After all, baby snuggles are pretty unbeatable.
5 Your Relationship Will Still Be The Same
It's true that you'll most likely see your partner in a whole new light once your baby comes along. All those postpartum hormones and the new baby bliss might make you feel more madly in love than ever, but the stress and sleep deprivation make it just as likely that you won't be able to stand your partner. Having a baby is the ultimate game changer in a relationship, and even the most solid partnership might suddenly end up on shaky ground. It takes some time to get into a groove as parents and as co-parents, but rest assured that with patience and hard work any couple can get there. In the end, having children could very well make your relationship rock solid, but there will most likely be more than a few bumps along the way.
4 Baby Duty Will Be Split 50/50
No matter what the childcare arrangements are in any given family, I am willing to bet that the mom ends up taking on more of the responsibility. Not to disparage dads at all, but moms just seem to be wired to think about (and possibly stress and obsess over) all the tiny details that go into the care and keeping of a child. No matter how much dad does, mom's still probably the one who's making sure that the laundry gets done and the diapers never run out and the fridge is always stocked with plenty of healthy snacks. It's like the saying goes: if you want something done right, just do it yourself. But do yourself a favor and pass the bucket to dad sometimes, because he's perfectly capable of keeping the ship afloat.
3 You'll Still Have "Me Time"
If by "me time" you mean the ability to pee alone in the bathroom, you might get that every other day or so. Being a mom is a job that never seems to end, and finding time for a break can be extremely difficult. Even if you've convinced dad to keep an eye on the kids or you've gone ahead and hired a babysitter, mom guilt might make it hard for you to truly enjoy time to yourself. But the truth is that when you're happy and making time to care of yourself, you become even better at taking your kids. Your definition of a great relaxing solo day might have to change a bit (from say, a full day at the spa to an extra half an hour in bed in the morning), but making time for yourself is well worth making a priority.
2 You'll Be Able To Balance It All
Welcoming a baby into your life means you're suddenly devoting huge amounts of your time, energy, and money toward them. Since no one has an endless supply of any of those things (unfortunately), you've got to pull them from somewhere. If you're a working mom, it sometimes means stepping back a bit from your career. If you're a stay at home mom, it may mean you suddenly have much less time for socializing or even just for your own self care. You don't have to give up anything completely just because you have a baby, but pretty much everyone will end up needing to make sacrifices and reconfigure their priorities. Though babies demand a lot from us, luckily, the rewards are also pretty huge— those little baby smiles and snuggles make anything easier to deal with.
1 You Won't Always Be So Anxious
Bringing a baby home is enough to make even the calmest person in the world go through fits of anxiety and paranoia. Knowing that your child is dependent on you for survival and will be for many years to come is a very scary thought, and it's easy to fall into the grip of panic wondering if you're doing everything right. It would be nice if those feelings passed after the first few months, but unfortunately, it seems like each new stage of a child's life brings fresh things to obsess about. Thankfully, the fears should get easier to manage as your confidence in parenting skills grows, and you get the ultimate validation just from seeing how wonderful your child is turning out (even if they do still give you some sleepless nights).