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Why do so many parents try and freak pregnant, first-time-mums out?

(67 Posts)
BabyBumpHopeful Sun 14-Aug-16 04:10:11

I realised today that all I seem to hear from other parents since becoming pregnant is, essentially, how much it sucks to be a parent. Sure, it's hidden as a "joke" or a "funny anecdote" but seriously, quit it.

I hate coffee. A friend, mother of 2, immediately comments about how will I'll need caffeine once that baby is here and that baby sleep deprivation is like no other (I have a sleeping disorder so shitty/no sleep is no stranger to me and I guarantee it's worse because it's unending).

Another friend had to show me a photo of one of the times her kids did something awful (one of many times, her children are being assessed) "aren't you excited you'll get to deal with this soon!" with a laugh.

That's just 2 instances, there are many many more (and it's usually a variation on sleep deprivation or being poor or shitty behaviour). I don't get it because I'm not sure what they're trying to accomplish. Do you think FTMs are stupid and don't realise it's going to be hard? Do you think that telling us the negatives is helpful? It's not, it's a bit like shutting the gate after the horse has bolted. Do you get some sort of perverse joy out of scaring someone who is probably already freaking the frick out as their body changes and they think about their life changes? Is this some sort of parental hazing?

Instead, may I suggest trying constructive negative comments?
- Sometimes the nights might seem hard but their smile makes it worth it.
- If you ever want to talk about anything or need advice, you know where I am
- Don't be afraid to ask someone for help because we were all first timers once!

I want to say this to my friends but of course they'll just claim I'm nuts, or that I took it wrong, or they were trying to be helpful or something so I just grit my teeth but I just want to scream ALL BABIES ARE DIFFERENT AND MILEAGE MAY VARY SO TRYING TO FREAK ME OUT JUST MAKES ME THINK YOU'RE AN ARSEHOLE!

p.s. and yes, I am freaking out so it's really not helping when I'm already genuinely concerned for my risk of PND given my history of depression and I'm trying to remain positive but it's been a weepy week and it's just making it that much worse.

Owlytellsmesecrets Sun 14-Aug-16 04:25:51

This happens because they are experienced patents and they are preparing you for the worst !!!!
Of course we wouldn't change them for the world ..... I'm awake now because DS 7 is awake ... He's disabled and wakes 2am onwards and this is his morning and so mine too. Would I change him or his disabilities... No way !!! This is my DS he is amazing and we love him... Just the way he is!

MoreGilmoreGirls Sun 14-Aug-16 04:31:55

Do these people have more than one child OP? If so it can't have been that bad if they went on to have more. I'm currently up breastfeeding number 2 who is 4 weeks old, number 1 (toddler) is asleep in his cot. Of course it is hard and challenging at times but the love and joy you feel when you hold them or when your toddler grins at you and gives you a sloppy kiss is amazing. Just ignore these people they are prob trying prepare you for the worst. You'll be fine. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy

AnnaMarlowe Sun 14-Aug-16 05:23:34

They don't mean to frighten you. They mean to prepare you.

They're doing it badly, but even so...

One of the most common things that new parents say is "why didn't anyone tell me what it would be like?"

To which the answer is: they did try.

The problem is that having a child is a bit like having sex (bear with me!):

You can read as many books about it as you like; you can watch sex scenes on TV and you can ask all your friends about it, but until you have actually experienced it, you have no idea what you are talking about.

I agree with you, other parents should keep their mouths shut. I do, but it is really, really hard.

Because having a baby can be incredibly shocking. And you want to help your friends avoid that shock.

But you can't because everyone just has to go through it.

The first year two years of our twins' lives were the hardest thing I've ever done. I got to their first birthday genuinely surprised we'd all survived.

And even now they are 8yo being a parent is still a roller coaster.

But, yes, every smile really does makes it all worthwhile.

Best wishes for the rest of your pregnancy.

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Sun 14-Aug-16 05:35:38

I'm a nanny, I've worked with triplets, done night shifts, had sole care of several children for weeks at a time BUT nothing prepared me for having my own child. The tiredness is worse than any other simply because you have to be exhausted whilst looking after another human being who isn't tired and wants you to play/get them food or drink/go for a walk because they are climbing the walls.

Your friends are just trying to prepare you but as a ftm it's annoying to hear and I agree it should be said in a constructive way rather than a negative way.

I can honestly say that no matter how tired I am or how fed up I am my son's smile makes it all worthwhile and the funny things he does or when he gives me a hug make me forget all the crappy bits of parenting.

It can't be that bad ds is 16 months and I'm 14 weeks pregnant 😉

youcantakethegirloutof Sun 14-Aug-16 05:36:01

I remember many similar comments & reading those articles like "10 things I wish I'd known as a FTM" which seemed to 'helpfully' pop up on FB once preggers. I really worried about the first 6 weeks particularly as a result, that I wouldn't enjoy my time with baby, about how I'd cope etc but you know what I loved it!! In fact I've found having a baby in many respects so much easier than being preggers (HATED that!) & definitely easier than I'd expected! Not easy but easier, IMO having a warm snuggly cuddle of love resting on your chest makes everything better! Good luck & enjoy!

Tootsiepops Sun 14-Aug-16 05:39:41

No one told me. Or if they did, I wasn't listening properly. Biggest fucking shock of my life. I have a nine month old daughter and I am utterly broken with exhaustion and frustration.

I hated it when I was pregnant and everyone kept telling me to make the most of my sleep, and I was all 'yeah - whatevs'. Ha ha ha! Oh how I wish I had listened to that and really truly appreciated how lovely it was to just go for a nap when I wanted, or sleep an entire night without having to get up, or a lie in. Oh god, I miss a lie in.


BathshebaDarkstone Sun 14-Aug-16 05:44:16

Those snuggles can still happen when your DC is 8 and a huge lump! grin

CatchIt Sun 14-Aug-16 05:54:17

Oh yes, being a mother is so shit hmm

Of course it can be hard and you get tired, but it's not that bad. And you get beautiful moments like this:

Just ignore those people, I think they're just trying to be cool! grin

Strawclutching Sun 14-Aug-16 05:56:27

I agree from the sleep disorder part. It pissed me off when people would say 'you wait till you have your newborn then you you'll really know what it's like to be tired'. Really??? Because the fact I've barely slept for the last 15 years and sometimes go days on end with zero sleep hasn't prepared me for that?? To be honest having a baby (for me) was a huge shock. I was shocked by how stressed and worrying things were, shocked by the lack of control, shocked by the boredom, the love etc. I don't think people mean any harm. I remember it really pissing me off but now I occasionally catch myself saying it! Good luck and congratulations.

BabyBumpHopeful Sun 14-Aug-16 05:57:56

See that's just it, "preparing [me] for the worst", why? Why only negatives? Why aren't they lifting me up with positive stories as well? Why do people assume "the worst" is what I'm going to get the most? (and why do mums get so shirty if I dare suggest my experience might be different?) Is this some sort of pre-emptive "I hope you have it as shitty as I did" solidarity or something? You know how when someone gets a baby that sleeps through the night it's "luck" and not okay to "brag" about it and if you do and then they sleep shit later it's just SO funny. Or the "just wait until they're older" comments. Again, not necessarily!

One has 3 children, one has 2 (one is a newborn). The one with 3 tells me ALL the time that should have stopped at one.

I know it's going to be hard but the negative comments all the time really aren't okay. You're talking from experience, great. But you're also talking from experience of the positives too. So while you're bitching and moaning about how much it sucks (all the while having experienced the amazing parts), I don't have the frame of love reference so I can only hope that I feel enough love that it overrides all the awful things I've been told but because I don't know all I (and probably others) do, is panic.

FWIW I'm totally fine with hearing about experiences, anecdotes, I enjoy learning. For instance my sister's birth experience, her experience with her kids have CMPA and silent reflux. My other friend's episiotomy, sleeping issues etc. That's all fine. It's the holier-than-thou negatives spoken as if they're fact when they might not be.

Ugh. I don't know if I'm explaining this well at all. The long and short being: you know all the wonderful parts, you have those memories and that feeling of love, I do not. So every negative thing I'm told just piles onto the other negative things without that "but that smile..." feeling overriding it. And thus, I panic/freak out.

TheDowagerCuntess Sun 14-Aug-16 06:13:03

I was utterly blindsided, and as Anna says, I wondered why no-one had told me what it was going to be like.

I also think part of the reason people tend to focus on the negatives is actually to reassure you - so that when you find yourself going through it, you don't think you're a totally incapable idiot who's doing it all wrong.

Strawclutching Sun 14-Aug-16 06:29:27

I think the Dowager has nailed it. I think most parents wonder how their friends made it look so easy and as I parent I find it hugely reassuring now to hear someone talking about their terrible toddler or sleepless newborn because you reassure yourself that everyone is going through the same things.

MissedItByThisMuch Sun 14-Aug-16 06:33:00

Because it IS really hard.

Because there's plenty of soppy hearts and flowers stuff about motherhood out there already.

Because going into it with unrealistic expectations about how unendingly wonderful and easy it's all going to be is a recipe for disillusionment at best, depression at worst.

Because as a pp said a common cry from first time mothers is "Why did nobody tell me it was going to be like this??"

They're probably trying to help you prepare in a lighthearted "we're all in this together" kind of way, because sometimes "bitching and moaning" to other parents is what gets you through the day.

WellErrr Sun 14-Aug-16 06:41:00


I blame mummy blogs. All the 'hilarious' 'I need him to get through a day with my children' shite.

Having children is lovely. Personally I find having a newborn far more pleasant and restful than being pregnant. And I say this as someone with 3 under 4, the youngest of whom is nearly 2 weeks, so I'm hardly looking back with rose tinted glasses!

WellErrr Sun 14-Aug-16 06:41:35

*need gin!

bearleftmonkeyright Sun 14-Aug-16 06:46:29

Hi op. I kind of get what you say but I've just got this one point to make. I have three and I can remember acutely being a new mum, bringing my DD home and feeling utterly overwhelmed by the responsibility. I think it's really important to acknowledge that feeling. Because if everyone tells you constantly how wonderful it is and once you've had your baby and maybe you find things difficult you will find it hard to talk about how you are really finding parenting and access support if you need it. There are plenty of people who will give you crap advice and everyones experience is different. But I can remember feeling pretty down afterwards for a long time. And that's OK to feel like that if that's your reality of parenting. All parents need support. Good luck op, your in for the biggest ride of your life smile

EmzDisco Sun 14-Aug-16 06:49:12

I think there's also an element of "it's just what you say", making kind of self depreciating jokes about your raucous child, or why your sleep deprived brain can't string a sentence together. People said it to your friends when they were pregnant too, and so it continues!

While annoying I wouldn't give it too much thought, you'll soon be experiencing it all for yourself, no doubt making your own jokes about it and maybe giving unwanted advice to the next pregnant person to come along wink

mypropertea Sun 14-Aug-16 06:54:30

I pointed out "lots of people do it lore than once, and they can't all be idiots". That tends to shut people up.... And could be why I have no friends at work lol

SleepFreeZone Sun 14-Aug-16 07:00:04

Because it's fucking hard work. I'm now 6 months into a stream of broken nights and my god, what I would give for some undisturbed sleep. Perhaps some of these parents are just slightly jaded and knackered and hear you talking about nursery themes or ickle baby grows and think you haven't a clue what's going to hit you.

Andromache77 Sun 14-Aug-16 07:06:27

I used to get a lot of "wait till she arrives and then you'll see", "you don't know what's going to hit you, your life is so free and you're not used to having children around" prophecies of doom, mostly from my family.
Frankly, the first three months were quite bad but I coped just fine, even with next to zero sleep and a baby that wouldn't rest anywhere but on me, and not much even then. And you know why? Because even on the worst days we had a few moments of peace and contentment and also because no one really dies out of exhaustion. And because I had no expectations whatsoever, I just went along.
Most days I ate the first shitty thing that I could warm up one-armed and getting a shower was like a military operation, with a very unhappy baby resting on a hammock/rocking thingy right outside (and woe betide me if I closed the curtains) but hey, I had my baby, she was happy and she would grow up eventually. And NO ONE DIES OUT OF THIS.
So when someone else is pregnant, I'm always positive. My baby was difficult with sleep, still is a bit at 2, but not all are. And even if your baby isn't on an eat-sleep-repeat schedule, hey, you'll be ok. It's the unrealistic expectations that make your life hell.
Also, be warned that these comments don't stop when they're born, they just evolve. You'll get things like: Oh, your baby isn't sleeping through/crawling/walking/playing Mozart yet? Nope, but she'll get there eventually (except the Mozart part, maybe she'll prefer heavy metal). Ignore ignore ignore. And enjoy your baby/endure the shitty parts. You'll be fine.

Suzietwo Sun 14-Aug-16 07:37:46

Because it makes them feel better than you. They know something you don't and they like being in that position.

Also because they want to rub in how hard their life is and how you justdidntunderstand before.

They're basically twats

bakingcupcakes Sun 14-Aug-16 07:51:49

I wanted to say that I worried about PND (history of depression/anxiety) but I needn't have. I found having DS as a baby much easier than now (toddler) and it was nowhere near as 'bad' as I was expecting.

You just find a way that works for you. And I didn't object to night wakings so much when I didn't have to get up for work/be anywhere in the day. After all the fear and anxiety in pregnancy I became quite content once he was here.

Phineyj Sun 14-Aug-16 08:00:18

I don't know, I was thoroughly freaked out but in the event it was mostly all fine! My theory is that people who find it straightforward don't talk about it so as not to disrespect those who find/found it terribly difficult. My DSis was hit like a ton of bricks both times and used to rant at me that I couldn't possibly understand. Now I do have a DC she doesn't seem to think I understand anything now either. It has really strained our relationship.

There is a large element of luck.

If you are thinking actively about avoiding depression that will help. Simple things like getting out every day.

JasperDamerel Sun 14-Aug-16 08:15:49

I agree about the wishing that they'd been warned. There are so many depictions of maternal love and snuggles and family days out etc, and new first time mothers tend to put on a brave face for the first few months because they see the perfectly normal struggles of parenting as some sort of failure. By around 6 months in, my group of mum friends were mostly honest about the ups and downs, but for first few months we were struggling alone.

I don't have a bad sleep disorder, but I do get insomnia, and for me the huge difference is the immense frustration when you are utterly exhausted and you could go to sleep but the baby won't let you, and also that your non-sleeping time isn't "free" time - you can't up and do stuff in the same way.

But the snuggles are fabulous, and you get to make a new person which is amazing, and I've made some wonderful friends through my kids.

And most importantly, it's hard because you are working really hard all the time to learn new skill and focus intensely on doing a good job of raising your child.

I always recommend the book "What Mothers Do (Even when it looks like nothing)" by Naomi Stadlen because it realistic about the shock of new motherhood, but in a beautiful and positive way.

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