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Advice: Expect the worst, because it WILL happen. Or, you know, not...

(56 Posts)
purrpurr Thu 13-Dec-12 14:13:26

I reeeeeeeeeeeeeally need to get this off my chest or I am going to explode everywhere.

My friends and parents seem to be keen to lead me down a particular conversation path, which goes something like this:

"Ooooh soooo are you prepared for the baby yet?"
"I hope so, I've been - "
"Because you shouldn't expect to be able to breastfeed, I wasn't, I only managed it for 2 minutes/24 hours/3 weeks and I got mastitis and my boobs fell off and there was BLOOD EVERYWHERE and I had milk coming out of my ears and OH MY GOD my boobs were like concrete slabs and oh the PAIN -"
"Right, er, well, thanks, I mean, I'm open to breast feeding and formula, it needs to work for me and the baby, so -"
"Oh and you won't produce enough milk anyway, especially if your baby is horribly premature and you've been unable to deliver after being in labour for THREE WEEKS and you've ended up having a C section, god my scar was terrible -"
"You'll want them to induce you, mark my words. Get that baby out quick smart. Before it dies or you die. God. Bloody dangerous business having children. AND don't think it'll sleep through the night, you didn't sleep at ALL until YOU WERE FIVE..."

WHY are these people so keen for me to be ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED of child birth and being a new mum? Why do they get so angry? Why should I spend the rest of my pregnancy scared shitless? If it is really that bad, why did they have multiple children? Why do people get so angry when I say I want to consider the options available to me, and set out to try to ensure I am fully aware that breastfeeding is IMPOSSIBLE and I might as well go straight to formula? Why do people keep telling me I'll have a 'tiny premature' baby when I'm normal-sized and nothing yet suggests I'm growing something that'll need to go into an incubator? WHY WHY WHY am I not allowed to even HOPE that I might have a fairly normal labour and delivery, and that my baby might actually be healthy, and might like my breastmilk, and that I might be able to breastfeed for longer than five minutes? I KNOW it's hard. Stop ramming it down my throat. PLEASE!

TwitchyTail Thu 13-Dec-12 14:33:41

Ha ha grin and breathe.

Glad it's not just me then. I don't think people are deliberately trying to scare you, but it seems like a badge of honour to have had the worst pregnancy/ delivery possible (birth horror stories seem to confer a particular status). I just swiftly change the subject.

Don't worry. Why do so many people do it a second (and third, and fourth) time if it's really that bad? hmm

kittenskittenskittens Thu 13-Dec-12 14:36:19

Because misery loves company?!
People love bragging with horror stories, if it makes you feel better I had exactly the same view on bf and dd got it within 2 days, I never had any problems even cutting down and stoping, she also slept through from 10wks and I mean from 7-7/8 the next day and has woken in 15 months since then a handful of times ( yes that's one of those breast fed babies who don't sleep!) I went into natural labour early and had a good birth ( nothing eventful anyway- no intervention etc) so while I accept not all children are the same or experiences they are not all bad either! Just aim to piss them off by staying chilled about it as I'm sure that helped me

emeraldgirl1 Thu 13-Dec-12 14:39:16

Purrpurr didn't you know that when you are pregnant EVERYONE you meet is a world renowned obstetrician/ child development psychologist/fetal medicine expert?? smile

StaceymReadyForNumber3 Thu 13-Dec-12 14:39:22

I hear you op. on the flip side I'm sitting with ds2 on my lap, delivered at 38+6, after a 3hr 10min labour, with no stitches. He feeds like a dream and at 5 days old he only woke twice last night.

People tend to only share the horror stories. It the nice ones.

Good luck, and if they keep going on about it shove your fingers in your ears and 'la la la la' as loud as you can. if they don't get the message they'll at least think you're crazy and stay away

PandaWatch Thu 13-Dec-12 14:39:36

I had family members telling us the other day that we need to chuck out our perfectly nice double bed and get a kingsize for reasons varying from I WILL want to co-sleep with the baby (however much I want to I won't for various reasons - I'm set on that) to I'm going to get soooooooooo huge there won't be enough room in the bed for me and DH hmm.

Plus my Mum keeps telilng me about Daily Mail birth horror stories. I really don't see the point! I'm pregnant now so what will be will be!

dinkystinky Thu 13-Dec-12 14:43:59

Ignore the horror stories OP and enjoy your pregnancy and your baby when he/she arrives.

purrpurr Thu 13-Dec-12 14:47:57

Kittens you have made me feel so much better! It's nice to hear the positive side of things. What really, really makes me cross is that I'm normally such a pessimistic person, I'm really making an effort to be positive and allow myself to be excited and optimistic, yet those that know me well are seeing that as a bit of an insult to them, for some reason... I think I'm unintentionally pissing people off by saying wouldn't it be nice if, and I'd like it if things worked out like this, but am willing to consider all options...

I guess if you've had a traumatic experience, choice wouldn't have factored into it. But I'm still not sure how that is my fault.

Twitchy, you are absolutely right. I think I might need to learn how to change the subject. A small, wicked part of me wants to just start saying, "Well that was YOUR experience. Thanks for sharing. Again. I don't really want to hear about it again though, particularly not in such graphic detail. If you continue to repeat it, I will have to ask you to leave..."

purrpurr Thu 13-Dec-12 14:54:58

Oh my dear god Panda! WHY do people insist upon behaving as though they are psychic/can see the future/know better than everyone else?! Emerald Aren't they just? And they all seem so keen for me to follow the pattern that their own pregnancies and subsequent parenthood did. According to the men in our family, post-birth my priorities must be as follows:

1) Cease to exist ("Once you've had the baby it's NOT ABOUT YOU EVER AGAIN"). This ceasing to exist MUST begin as soon as the baby has come from my body, regardless of whether they need to stitch my foof or my belly. I must lower my head, let my insides hang out and get to scrubbing mine floors.

2) Lose all the pregnancy weight overnight, otherwise my husband will be disappointed that I haven't regained my figure - this being my most important attribute obviously.

Now, luckily for me, not existing should hopefully translate to some sort of ethereal slimness only normally obtained by celebrities with armies of chefs and personal trainers behind them. Yay.

CrackleMauve Thu 13-Dec-12 15:12:16

Ah the birth stories. I think you either get the HORROR or the "well unless you serenely hypnobirth in a pool while your husband chants and whale music plays then it just isn't good enough" camps.

There is a middle camp. I had a perfectly nice labour in a hospital with some lovely lovely gas and air. Breastfeeding was a bit tricky to start with, but I saw a helpful counsellor and got that fixed fine. My baby didn't sleep brilliantly, but we coped ok. It was all really kind of fine. And having a baby is quite lovely.

emeraldgirl1 Thu 13-Dec-12 15:15:04

Purrpurr grin

You are so right. I have also (as am sure you have) repeatedly been told by people (usually much older women as it happens) that I had better enjoy my evenings/days out now because I will NEVER HAVE ONE AGAIN; that I had better enjoy the second trimester because the third trimester WILL be awful; that I should sleep while I can because I will literally never ever get a wink of sleep for the next half-decade.

People mean well (er - I think...) but I don't understand the mentality that goes "here is a person who is about to enter a new phase of their life and who may be already just a little apprehensive about it - I know, I'll add in my two-pence worth and make absolutely certain it's nothing but utter doom and gloom!"

Do you think it would be a good way to stop it if, next time, you pulled a Macaulay Culkin-in-Home-Alone face and screamed, "Jesus, why did nobody warn me before I got pregnant?! Now my only option is to leave my child on the slopes of a mountain and hope they get eaten by wild cougars."

TwitchyTail Thu 13-Dec-12 15:21:45

TwitchyTail's masterclass on how to change the subject:

Doom-mongerer: and after I got the fourth degree tear and was being being sewn up with dirty twine by diseased leprechauns-

You: "Oh, what's that over there?" (pointing behind them)

Doom-mongerer: "What?"

You: "I thought I saw a guinea pig, right there!"

Doom-mongerer: hmm

You: "Anyway, gosh, hasn't the weather really turned recently? I need to pick up more de-icer after work. I heard it might snow this weekend."

EldritchCleavage Thu 13-Dec-12 15:23:14

It's all so unhelpful. What might be helpful is saying, e.g. : breastfeeding could be anything from easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy to awful. (I've done both.) Just have your local breastfeeding counsellor's number to hand and make full use of her if you need to. Not giving you horror stories which are no guide to what will happen to you anyway.

It is dressed up as advice, but actually people just want to trot out their favourite pregnancy/childbirth/parenting anecdotes. And remember, it is all completely irrelevant, because they are not you, and their babies aren't your child.

emeraldgirl1 Thu 13-Dec-12 15:24:05

'sewn up with dirty twine by diseased leprechauns' has just made my entire week grin

CrackleMauve Thu 13-Dec-12 15:26:56

And remember that those older women who say you'll never go out again probably have useless husbands who have no idea how to look after a baby. I have no problem going out by myself, and the brilliant thing about going out after a baby is you get drunk after about 2 glasses of wine. And you feel a bit like a teenager again because it's all that much more exciting rather than just being yet another night out.

lostinindia Thu 13-Dec-12 15:27:01

ha ha ha because it's mostly true. Sorry but you did ask. It's worth it though.

dontcarehow Thu 13-Dec-12 15:34:49

I know I get the same thing. "you will NEVER EVER be able to do anything you enjoy EVER AGAIN", "You will NEVER get your figure back", and such like. I half think that sometimes its women who struggled with their birth and early years who feel better if they suggest that its normal for things to be really bad. I think that happens especially with breastfeeding because if it doesn't work immediately, I think its far too easy these days with all the formula available to just give up. I take it all with a pinch of salt, nobody knows how they will cope with these things before they happen so the best thing is to just go into it open minded. yeah it can all go badly, but its equally likely that it will all go swimmingly!

Teladi Thu 13-Dec-12 15:48:39

I agree with most of what has been said on this thread. I didn't find pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding or year 1 easy at all but I don't think my experiences are common at all and certainly would not be sharing them with first-time pregnant women!! That is not how it will work out for you, everyone is different!

I do think that dontcarehow's comment about breastfeeding is an equally unhelpful generalisation though. Like EldritchCleavage points out above, breastfeeding can be easy peasy or awful, or anywhere in the middle, and it is not a case of just giving up because formula is available. Infant feeding can be a deeply emotional issue for many women, as you'll probably find from looking at the breast and bottlefeeding section on here.

I hope your pregnancies and births are wonderful experiences and feeding works out how you hope. Arm yourself with the information that you need, and then go into it all with a positive outlook!

HappySurfWidow Thu 13-Dec-12 16:02:09

Yes, some women LOVE to play up the bad side of having children, no doubt to make themselves feel better about what they've been through... Goodness knows!

I remember people going ON and ON about the lack of sleep... But I LOVED getting up every 2 hours to breastfeed my baby; I literally skipped out of bed for months as it was such a special precious moment between just the two of us. It was once he was weaned and sleeping mostly through the night (and all my bf hormones had left me, that I struggled with the occasional nights of interrupted sleep).

I'm about to "pop" out number two and now everyone delights to tell me how HARD it is to manage two children... One is apparently a piece of pie in comparison.

Personally, I take it all with a pinch of salt. I am confident in my natural mothering abilities and don't feel other people's experiences having any bearing on my own. Block it all out, trust your body and your own mind... You'll be fine. Congratulations on your pregnancy!

MJP1 Thu 13-Dec-12 16:07:35

enjoyed this thread yes women LOVE telling horror stories of birth/children just do what I do, Smile nod and say oh well everyones different and it cant be that bad or women would have stopped getting pregnant a very long time ago wouldnt they.

My theory is yes its going to hurt but OMG I cannot wait to meet my baby girl xxx

rainrainandmorerain Thu 13-Dec-12 16:10:25

i think, after having 1 dc and another on the way, it is because having a baby and the changes it brings comes as a huge shock to a lot of people.

There's a big difference between knowing something on an intellectual level and actually experiencing it. So - even with a lot of 'prep' it can still be a big shock.

i also think some parents are actually not happy with the choices they made or the situations they found themselves in with perhaps no choice (financial, physical etc) and this makes them a bit bitter tbh. If ever you say anything positive, they come back with 'Just you wait until [insert random doomy development]' - as if any joy you have must be shattered round the corner!

I think how women experience early motherhood depends on their personality, their partner, family and social network, and their baby - they are different, some are 'easier' than others! and that's luck of the draw, imo.

People do use your pregnancy to talk through their own history and ishoos though. Breastfeeding is a good example. People also want confirmation of their own choices and behaviour by persuading you to do the same as them - the 'routine queen' will feel more secure if you do things her way, the co-sleeper likewise. That doesn't stop after you have the baby, is the bad news - but you will get a thicker skin/become an expert of your own!

Shallishanti Thu 13-Dec-12 16:25:39

OP you are right to ignore all this nonsense as everyone has said other peoples bad experiences don't predict yours- it's possible you might learn something but not likely, and the reason I think is this-

women tell these stories as a kind of therapy, to come to terms with their own bad experiences. It's not very kind, or helpful, but they don't see that because they are still 'stuck' with their own feelings, so can't see how their story sounds to someone in your position.

BUT, I do think they're right about the sleep grin
but as someone has said you will be amazed how you cope

Dogsmom Thu 13-Dec-12 16:33:13

Ahh the old verbal diarrhoea towards pregnant women.

I had read about becoming public property on here but never imagined it'd be so grating, I've had it from the moment I announced my pregnancy, the very first customer I told said "congratulations, did you hear about my daughter? she had a miscarriage this week, it's very common you know".

I've since heard sooo many horrible stories that often include copious amounts of blood and the word 'excruciating' then on the flip side I have my DM who tells me that childbirth is no worse than toothache/earache and that she can't understand why women make so much noise in labour. hmm

GozerTheGozerian Thu 13-Dec-12 16:39:01

I know I've told my pg friends both good and bad experiences I've had, but only after checking if they actually wanted to know. Thing is, birth and having a young baby is probably the most dramatic and life altering thing that's happened to most people so it is natural they want to talk about it because it just makes such a deep and fundamental impact on you. And the great bits are just wonderful - but the bad bits can be traumatic.

i definitely wanted to know everything so was keen to hear the range of people's experiences. When i have shared stuff with friends it has been because i wish someone had told me.

I think people in general mean well but I do remember it being annoying if it was unsolicited!!

surfingbabies Thu 13-Dec-12 16:45:16

Your thread really made me laugh.......some people LOVE misery, they're not happy unless they're telling a horror story & worrying people!! I know someone just like this, never a positive but there's always a negative!!!
Stay positive and I'm pretty sure you'll be just fine!
I'm on number 4 so it can't be that bad & I've given birth to twins smile all my pregnancy have been wonderful, I've had two natural births...home the same day and I breastfed all my children till they were about 3 even my twins who even my health visitor told me I wouldn't have enough milk!!! I ignore every negative opinion about this pregnancy as it is the one sure thing in one can tell what any pregnancy or labour will be like in advance! You enjoy it & good luck smile

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