The dirty truths no one likes to share with new moms

standard December 19, 2008 30 responses

“I am so tired.” She said, “why don’t they tell you about this?”
“Bu-uh-ut,” I stammered. “I did tell you.” And I had, over and over again, for at least the last four months of her her pregnancy.
“Oh, I know,” she answered. “I just didn’t realize that no sleep, meant really no sleep.”
I thought back to all the times I’d tried to warn her and I knew I was partially to blame. It’s true. We don’t tell our pregnant friends everything, not because we don’t think they can take it, not because we don’t think they’ll believe us, but because it hurts to relive it and it’s easier to joke about sleepless nights than to go into details about how hard it really is.

So, my dears, here it is, the dirty dirty truth. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

No one tells you that you will stand in the shower day after day and sob because you can’t stand the thought of getting out and facing your baby again. No one tells you that some days you stand in that shower and it takes all your willpower not to curl up into a ball on the ground under the pelting shower stream. You don’t let yourself because you know that you’d never get up again.

No one tells you that with every lost hour of sleep you go slowly a bit more crazy and that the middle of the night is the darkest, scariest, and loneliest time. That you will dread the dusk because it’s the signal that night is coming and you just don’t know if you can survive another night.

No one tells you that you will grow to hate being touched and that some days it will again take all your willpower not to scream when someone places a hand on you, even as a gesture of love and support. By the same token, no one tells you that you will grow to hate sex or even the promise of sex and resent the person requiring it from you. Sex becomes just another chore at the end of a long and tedious day of tending to people’s needs. A chore that requires a lot of touching.

No one tells you that spending all day with a baby is boring. Mindnumbingly boring.

No one tells you that you will feel like half your brain has up and left you. You will forget everything. You will lose the ability to multi-task. You will lose the ability to form a coherent sentence.

No one tells you that you will resent, and even sometimes hate your kids, for many, many things like destroying your body and stealing your brain.

No one tells you that you’re going to lose your hair by the fistful and pee your pants when you sneeze.

No one tells you that you will hate breastfeeding. That it’s going to be the hardest thing you will ever have done. That your nipples will crack and bleed and that you will have to bite down on something, a blanket, your t-shirt, a burp cloth, every time the baby latches on. That you might not produce any milk or that you might produce too much and that you’re going to feel betrayed by your boobs over and over again. And yet you will persevere long beyond what a rational person would endure and yet you won’t be able to articulate why you can’t just quit and admit defeat already.

No one tells you how relieved you will be if you do finally throw in the towel and just focus on enjoying your baby or when miraculously your nursing woes vanish and you suddenly realize that you haven’t needed to bite down on something during the latch in a while.

No one tells you that you will feel like every other mother is doing a much better job and that you know they think you’re a terrible mom.

No one tells you that you will constantly second guess every little parenting decision you make.

No one tells you that you will be sure that your baby secretly hates you.

No one tells you that you’re terrified that your child will love her daycare providers more than you. And they might tell you that it’s not true, but you won’t believe them until you see it for yourself.

No one tells you that you will eventually grow to want sex again. That you’ll want to be hugged and touched again. That you’ll have time to spend with your partner and that you’ll want it that way.

No one tells you that you will fall in love with your baby, maybe not on day one or even on day 30, but on one day, when you will wake up and look into those eyes and understand why people kill to protect their children.

No one tells you just how much your life will change, how much you will change, how much your relationship with others will change. Or how OK you will eventually be with all that, once you make peace with your body’s shortcomings and finally, finally, get some sleep.

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30 responses

  • No one tells you you’ll still be fretting about poop and pee with your kids 5 years after they’ve supposably finished potty training.

  • You have completely captured how I feel right now.

    I’d add: No one tells you it’s just as hard – maybe harder – with number 2.

  • No one tells you that it never ends — even when they are all grown up you will still wake up from nightmares that they have been hit by a car or choked on a hotdog.

    This is the best list I have read in a while… with three, I think I have experienced all of this to some extent. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. Even if you tell people this before they become parents they will still have that “them and not me” attitude until they experience it themselves! LOL

  • I agree with about half of this post. Oh but did I go through a dont touch me stage.

    My add: no one tells you that as a breastfeeding mom how horrible you feel until your milk comes it. I felt like a complete and utter failure the first week. My husband woke up a few nights to me sobbing crying out “I can’t feed my baby! what’s wrong with my boobs?”

    I’ve come to hate my boobs now too.

  • OMG! This is a fantastic post. I’m not a mom – not even female – but to read this, it really shows you the struggles that all of us (especially mothers) endure every day, and sometimes it feels like, “what for?”

    Congratulations on writing one of the best blog posts of 2008 in my opinion.

    I’ll be forwarding this to my own mom, as well.

    -Ben Hughes
    @mustbebenhughes

  • You nailed it – and now I am scared as I am weeks away from delivering #2….

  • 100% hit the nail on the head.

    I have to say though, I went through all this more so with my second than with my first….odd, but I think being a working mom (out of the house) helped take the edge off some of the insanity of being a new mom.

    Also, congrats on being listed over at MomDot. I love @momdot, and have been meaning to get on Tricia’s site for a while now…maybe a goal for the New Year. 🙂

  • Absolutely brilliant. I felt this exactly with both my kids but was too brain dead to put it into words (still am, and my kids are 6 and 3)Have shared your link with lots of new mom friends who would love to read this and feel that they are not alone.

  • Boy am I happy that I am a father and not a mother. Whoa.

  • Anonymous

    I have a 6 week old and a friend just sent me this link. Thank you for posting this. I bawled reading this because I can relate to every single item you mentioned. I can’t wait for the days to get better, though I have to say, I already feel all the love in the world for my little one, no matter how tough this mothering gig is.

  • Well said! But you know, if you do try and say this stuff out loud, you may hear a chorus of amateur diagnoses of postnatal depression. It’s not a pathology; it’s a perfectly reasonable reaction to everything you’ve just listed.

  • It’s the sleep thing I really didn’t understand. Pregnant women with their first babies are really on focused only on the birth (at least I was) and really don’t listen to the stories.

    I remember telling some of the women at work (older, with grown children) why they didn’t tell me about STICHES.

  • all so true and much much more..

  • I completely agree with you. Its just part of the job, but yes, it can suck butt.

    trisha

    ps thanks for the linky love

  • I have never seen or heard the touching thing put so very clearly. And so true.

    As wonderful as it is to hug your baby, your body simply is NOT your own. Not until they’re teenagers and no longer want you anywhere near them.

    And the sex thing–husbands JUST DON’T GET IT!They seem to think that we will bounce back into the same young, single women they married. No baggage, ready to go at it any time.

    NOT.

    But why don’t we tell the expectant mothers?

    Because we can’t. They’re so damn happy. Why ruin it?

  • Very true.

    No one tells you that somehow you will forget all of this and have baby #2.

  • No one tells you that you may have a child who has to be held at all times when they’re awake. Then they’re 12 and don’t want anything to do with you!

  • Wow! That is a really intense and heart felt post. Can I offer you a hug? I admit there are moments when I did not know what to do and nursing hurt like hell, but never knew that anyone felt this way about being a new mother. With both my daughters I absolutely loved just about everything. I had a tough (long) birth with the first but the second one seemed to slide on out and we have been grooving ever since. I wonder if there are things that can be done to change this experience for moms who have them. Being a new mother is so wonderful and daunting at the same time. But I never thought for one minute it could be as awful as you describe.
    Peace and Good Luck,
    adiaha

  • Hear. Hear. and AMEN! I seriously think, “My baby hates me.” I think she does. Really. And you are right… she stole my brain, body, and looks all in one fell swoop. Thanks for sharing the dirty truths. P.S. Found this post through Blog Nosh.

  • Yes, yes, and YEEEEEESSSSS!!! Ugh. Motherhood is hard. 🙂

    Found you through Tara’s blog, “What She Really Wants”. I’m a fan now! 🙂

  • I think part of it is that if you try to tell a woman these things before she gives birth, she won’t really believe you or just won’t “get it” (eg- “I didn’t think no sleep really meant no sleep”).

    But I also definitely struggle with how much to tell moms-to-be… I want to warn them so they’re prepared, but not scare them and leave them anxious. It’s hard to know where that balance lies. And it’s hard to say these things publicly, since so few of us are willing to openly admit to feeling this way.

    So, thank you, for doing so.

  • Brought tears to my eyes because my “baby” is just 2 now and he is bringing back all those memories of non-sleeping babies. I am now dealing with that all over again and there are days when I feel like curling up in that shower the same way I felt when I was breastfeeding and my middle child wanted to nurse for what seemed an eternity and I didn’t have a moment to myself.

    Totally hit the core of reality with it all. I didn’t have those troubles with breastfeeding as intensely but recall being sore with my first born nursing her.

    Wow ………. No one tells you that boys seem to be tougher than girls and they will keep you running/on your toes from morning to whenever they finally decide to crash and then back up at dawn to do it all over again with out a loss of breath! WOW .. LOL

    Thanks for this post! I will say the touching part didn’t happen to me but most of the rest for sure!

  • Anonymous

    Wow .. either you have gone insane or you REALLY hate being a mother.

    Way to go. Not every new mom goes through this. Only the ones who hate motherhood and are selfish to think about only themselves. Nuff said.

  • Anonymous

    It’s really heartbreaking that motherhood has been such a negative experience for you. I’m sorry that you seem to have missed out on what could and should be the most beautiful time and experience of your life. New moms and Moms-to-be: it isn’t like this for everyone. Mine are 10 and 13 now and motherhood has been everything I ever expected and more. It’s been the best experience of my life. These have been the best years of my life. Embrace them, enjoy them, and don’t be so darned self-centered. They’re only yours for a short time and then they’re off on their way in the world without you. Cherish every minute. It will pass by more quickly than you could ever imagine.

  • It’s all true, all of it! I have had 5 children and experienced all of the above. Postpartum depression is something I NEVER dreamed would happen to me, and it happened with my 4th and 5th deliveries. I think before we’ve had children, we have this Superwoman thing going on that we think, “That will never happen to me, not my baby, It’ll be different for me, etc.” I know I thought that with the first and oh my, was I wrong!!! Way to put it into words!

  • ruthie

    An amazing post which really touches on the ‘hidden side’ of being a mom ive had three children and can relate to this post but its true its soon forgotten and no 2 makes their way into the world

  • I wish I would have seen this back in 2008, I had my son on October 23, 2008. I tried breastfeeding, tried as soon as he was born, no milk, felt terrible, then 2 days later, finally some came out. Then we went home, and I kept trying, and the child would eat constantly. I was up every 2 hours feeding him for 3 months, I felt like a horrible mother between being exhausted and wondering why he would cry every night for hours until we both finally fell asleep.

    I finally gave up trying to breastfeed after 3 months, he went on soy formula, he was lactose intolerant and he slept through the night.

    I remember those nights crying for hours and he was crying right along with me. I felt like the biggest failure as soon as the sun went down.

    Motherhood has to be the most wonderful/horrible gig out there.

    You feel helpless and superhuman sometimes in all the same day.

    This is a great post for mothers whether you feel this way or not.
    Thank you.

  • No one tells you that sex will hurt. Like really hurt. It will feel like a giant rod wrapped in sand paper trying to go through a straw.

    No one tells you that you will bleed for over a month, lots of gross stuff that makes you feel like you are dying.

    No one tells you that your ribs and hips will hurt from having to go back into position. No one tells you that your stomach and insides feel like they have been tossed in a bowl and that you fear they might just fall out all together. (both for vaginal and c-secs)

    No one tells you that when you go to get up at night that your back will make you want to scream and your legs will want to give way under you but you keep going because you know the baby needs you.

    No one tells you that you might not connect on the first day. They all say it’s instant and amazing but sometimes you just look at the tiny stranger in your arms and wonder “who ARE you?”.

    No one tells you that you will come to HATE being in public because everyone will say “what a sweet baby!” and try to touch him and you will want to cut their arms off because how dare they think they can touch your baby. You will hate old women because they will say things like “If you take that baby out without socks he will get colic” and “why aren’t you using a bottle yet?” and “You hold your baby too much” As if we wanted your opinion.

    No one tells you that you will cry in the middle of the night for your own Mommy because you just want to be taken care of.

    No one tells you that you will be so scared of breaking your baby but at the same time you won’t understand how they could possibly be so strong that you can’t put a diaper on them.

    No one tells you that every. little. thing. the baby does makes you wonder “is that normal, is he ok?”

    No one tells you that you will get mad at your baby and yell at him because you just don’t know what he wants and you just want to make him happy. And then you will feel terrible because you yelled at your baby.

    No one tells you either that one day, you will look at your baby and wonder “how did I ever live without you?”
    One day it gets better and for some reason, it seems like all those dark places have just vanished.
    I have two kids, ages 22 months and 6 months. Those dark nights are slowly fading. I know I have more to come and I’ve only just begun but I love my boys and I hope one day they will understand just what their wives went through to bring them their babies.

  • Anonymous

    I am surprised at all the people who agree with you whole-heartedly. I didn’t have a lot of those particular negative feelings. I am a single mom even. I breastfed for almost 2 years and mostly enjoyed the experience. I’m not saying you don’t love your kids, but to me, the love I felt was enough to do it, and keep me wanting to do everything I did for my baby. My whole pregnancy was very alone and sad. I guess having my baby was finally something to do, a purpose for my life, and the much needed company and love. Still, I agree, no one realizeds how hard it is. But how could they?

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