Have a friend 5 months pregnant, first time mum, visiting this week, shall I tell the truth?(26 Posts)
Hi, bit of advise please. I have a lovely friend who is 5 months pregnant. I have not seen her for a while, so she is calling in this week for a chat. First time mum, wants to know about labour, breastfeeding and all those things you ask first time round. I want to tell her how wonderful being a mum is (she is scared), but also tell her how hard it is too (the sleepless nights, the birth, the sore nipples!), shall I tell her the truth or shall I stay all sweetness and light?
Hmmmm. I would tell her the truth but not in too much gory detail! And make sure you balance it out with lots of positives.
IME you don't really believe any of what you're told about birth/babies/children until it actually happens, so it probably doesn't matter too much. I remember thinking 'Everyone told me I'd have no sleep and be knackered, but I didn't realise that meant I'D HAVE NO SLEEP AND BE KNACKERED!'
I think you have to balance it a bit. Be honest about the sleeplessness and the sore nipples, but maybe gloss over the birth?
THE TRUTH, the whole truth, nothing but the truth! Every time!
My friend, who is seven and a bit months pregnant, was very upset by someone who moaned on and on at her about how much hard work it is and how the next 18 years of her life would be hell.
so be careful.
well, you can only tell her your truth, this is the problem
i had a hideous first birth it must be said, but not everyone does. my second 2 were fantastic
i had sore nipples but only cos my babies were tongue-tied, so again wouldn't apply to everyone.
so, no, i wouldn't tell her that because she may not have that experience at all, and the more positive she is to start with the more likely she is to have a good experience (esp with breastfeeding)
No point telling her much about the birth - hers will almost certainly be different to yours, and it's pretty much inevitable. Plus, IME, people are generally pretty well informed about birth. It's the aftermath (i.e. the rest of your life) that is a bit of a shock.
All babies are different, so whatever you tell her, make sure it's all couched in terms of your experience - some sleep, some don't, some are dream breastfeeders, some aren't. A friend of mine told me that all babies slept a lot during the day, and I foolishly believed her.
The only thing I tell my pregnant friends is that the first few months aren't really a good indication of anything, and it does get easier and more rewarding as they get older (in my experience, obviously ). That, and to buy a lot of muslins.
doesn't matter what you say - even if she believes it it won't live up to the experience.
which is a much less entertaining way of saying exactly what whatfreshhell said.
Oh, also no need to tell her 'and do you know what, when you have that baby you will find it is a completely separate human being and you don't automatically telepatically know what it wants/thinks/feels/needs and it will be AWFUL'. because she won't be listening. la la la.
Tell her the truth in an unscary unconfrontiational way. Give her the wonderful sweetness as well as the tough stuff. She needs to know that there are thorns in the bed of roses, but remember that your ghastly time might not be hers.
The best thing I think any mother can tell a mum-to-be, is that there is no one right way to do things, nothing is fixed in stone, if it works now, fine, you can always change it later. Also that there is no need to be SuperMum. She should prioritise herself after the baby is born - the housework can wait, and she is allowed to spend hours and hours in her own little nest.
She also needs to know that there are plenty of people out there who can help, and that it's fine to ask for help even if she's not cracking up. Breastfeeding support, mother & baby groups, you, etc.
<<climbs off soap box>>
Do not make it too personal: of course your experience of pregnancy/labour/childbirth/life with baby is very likely to be different from hers.
Having said that, I would have found it very helpful is somebody had reassured my that just finding it hard did not mean I was doing anything wrong.
The meaning of the phrase "your life will never be the same again" of course does not sink in until she actually has her baby...
It's a difficult one because much of what you say won't mean diddly until she actually has the baby and realises what you're on about!
Best thing you can say is that it will all be worth it. and also she should trust her instincts and try to remember that everyone's experience and everyone's baby is different. Practical things like taking massive blakc pants, your own pillow and flip flops to hospital are also good. The emotional stuff is much harder to advise about.
I would tell her the following:
1) The birth you have is the luck of the draw. There is no such thing as an easy birth, either it is quick or slow and that is what will decide what level of pain relief or intervention is required. By all means aim to have natural delivery, but do not put pressure on yourself or feel bad if it isn't possible.
2) The lack of sleep is shit, unimaginably shit, but babies are accordingly cute!
By the by, what on earth do people use muslins for? They passed me by entirely...
I vividly remember at about week 3 thinking 'oh, this is what they meant by tired' when I fell asleep standing up waiting for the kettle to boil
If I were you I would just tell her that things will never be the same again. I remember a (male) friend of mine telling me while I was pregnant with DS1 to go out, go out a bit more and then go out until you never want to leave the house again. I didn't listen but wish I had
Don't forget to tell her about the after pains, sore nipples, breast engorgement, cheesy armpits, flakey backs of ears, the first poo, swollen testicles, how utterly useless they are (it really surprised me how they couldn't do ANYTHING, not even look at something properly).
Tell her to look in her babies eyes as soon as she can after birth and not to stop for as long as she can, because this is a moment she will remember forever.
blimey bof, you were lucky, puke, snot, puke, dribble, oh and puke too
I used to chuck muslins over my shoulder when the dds were burping or resting after feeding in case they sicked up.
I now use them for my cleansing and exfoliating routine!
Ok, you got me side tracked now on dribble, my DS dribbles day in day out, wet bibs continually, I was even asked yesterday why my baby had on a bib and it was not dinner time!,(I use the big ones to soak up more dribble) and put off the dog from licking it off - trust she is normal.
Ah, I think I reserved manky teatowels for general snotty pukiness...no class at all, me
What she really needs to know is how to find good support if she runs into difficulties. Make sure she knows how to get help with bf.
And actually I personally think the hardest thing about being a new mum is the feeling that everyone thinks you're doing it wrong (even if they are thinking nothing of the sort), so I think the really important thing is to let her know that you will be accepting of any choices she makes and will listen to her and support her whatever.
Gory details are only useful if they provide useful pointers on how to handle things better imo. Or possibly if they are a way to say that things are that hard for everybody but that it doesn't last very long.
Minky, that is your truth. I disagree entirely, I think that, while you cannot control your labour, you can have some influence over it. I disagree that length of labour is what dictates whether you need PR. Quick births can be very traumatic. There is such a thing as an easy birth, whether when it is actually happening, or in the mum's memory of the birth.
OK, I know what you mean, but I guess I'm saying that she shouldn't give herself a hard time if it isn't how she hopes. I know a lot of people who have felt in some way that they have failed by going the pr/intervention route. I have had three fantastically straightforward deliveries, and each has been quick, I had gas and air for dd2 and ds, but nothing with dd1, now that would have been a very different story had the labour gone on for a very long time, and the fact that it didn't was very much the luck of the draw.
Agree with above suggestion to encourage her go out every day, actively seek a good support network (I am a strong believer in the therapeutic nature of moaning... and chocolate cake ) and to allow herself time to adjust on her new situation.
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