Attachment Parenting, Motherhood, Pregnancy

Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me? Self-Discoveries of Mothers

14 Comments 22 November 2010

Why didn’t anyone tell me ________?

So much of what we experience as pregnant women, natural birthers and new moms is rarely discussed. Let’s stop that cycle and share some of the insights we discovered on our own.

Why didn’t anyone tell me how much it hurts to have a natural childbirth?

It’s true, at least most of the time. Pushing a child out of your vagina without pain medication hurts like nothing you have ever felt before. Therefore, it’s basically impossible for any of us to have explained how it will feel. It can’t be explained. But we can say this: you’ll live. And the rewards of natural childbirth are life long lasting.

Why didn’t anyone tell me I would still look pregnant two weeks, (or two months) after giving birth?

Your stomach may never really look the same. Not exactly anyway. You will always know that extra skin wasn’t there before, even if everyone tells you look great in your bathing suit. It’s something we have to live with, and we can be proud of if we look at it that way. Speaking of the “still looking pregnant two weeks later,” don’t worry. I promise – you won’t look pregnant forever.

Why didn’t anyone tell me I would be able to fit a quarter in my belly button?!

Oh dear. I remember looking down at my belly button a few hours after giving birth to my daughter. I could have fit a quarter in there! It was huge! But it shrank back. Almost 90%!

Why didn’t anyone tell me I would miss being pregnant?

You were SO over being pregnant. SO ready to meet your baby. Why then, how could you possibly be missing being pregnant now that your little one is here? It’s totally natural to feel that way! Being pregnant is a miraculous thing – to carry a growing life inside of you. It is a time that many women feel proud of their capabilities. It’s hard to let go without mourning a little bit. Let yourself feel whatever you are feeling. If you don’t fight it, you can feel and move on.

Why didn’t anyone tell me I would miss being childless?

Do you ever look back on your life without baby and wish you would have done something you didn’t do? Do you have regrets? I felt that way. I procrastinated on doing things I really wanted to do because I naively thought I’d have the rest of my life to do them. Life really changes when you have a child. Your one main concern isn’t yourself anymore, it’s for your baby. When I thought back on the things I could have done but didn’t, I felt sad. Then I thought of it as an incredible learning experience. Now I don’t hesitate if there is something I really want to pursue.

Why didn’t anyone tell me everybody and their brother would try to give me parenting advice?

I know right? Who do these people think they are? First it was about where and how you were going to give birth. But now, oh now it’s so much harder to take. People ask you how long you’re going to breastfeed, how often you breastfeed, if you’re going to give your child a pacifier, inquire about your sleeping arrangements, vaccinations, circumcision – YOU NAME IT. No topic is safe from often well meaning friends, family members and perfect strangers. How to deal with it? Well…that’s kind of up to you. You could tell them the intimate details of your life, even though it’s really none of their business, or you could politely decline answering…somehow.

Why didn’t anyone tell me being a stay at home mom meant taking on all the household chores?

Now that you’re staying home full time, it’s time to realize what this actually means for you. You’re not just the mother of your child. In some cases, you are now the mother of your partner. Haha! Okay, that may be a bit harsh. But in some lives, it is true. Dad (partner) goes to work all day, which means he’s paying for you to be at home. At home where all you have to do is rest, take care of the baby, do the dishes, laundry, walk the dog, change the little box, plan meals for the week and manage in between it all to shower and shave your legs (not to mention hanky panky). Or do you? If you feel over your head, don’t let it go on and on. You’ll only get more and more resentful of your partner and the situation you’re in. Find a way to communicate feeling overwhelmed, (or just the simple fact that it is unfair for you to take on so many domestic duties) and work out a system.

Why didn’t anyone tell me I would need more help?

Speaking of partner going to work all day, who is going to take care of the new mom? You have to remember to eat and drink plenty of water caring for a newborn. Some of the best advice out there is to “sleep when baby sleeps.” But when does mommy get to eat? Not only is it nearly impossible to cook a meal, eating can get delayed by hours and if the meal has been prepared by someone else, mommy can guarantee eating cold food for a while. What is a new mom to do? Get help. From anyone. Get on the phone and order take out
whether it be from a restaurant or friend. Have no shame.

What didn’t you know about pregnancy, birth or life with a child(ren)? Please share your experiences with us, and solutions too!

Your Comments

14 Comments so far

  1. Kateisfun says:

    Love this, all very true! Mine to add:
    Why didn’t anyone tell me about the crazy hormonal swing 3-4 days after giving birth?! I knew I would be emotional. I didn’t know I would lie on the floor clutching my baby drowning in my own snot and tears, unable to speak to my midwife about my breastfeeding issues because I was convinced the world was going to end. We all survived, though! :-)

  2. ecomomma says:

    why didn’t anyone tell me that nursing is something you have to learn to do?

    the number one thing i tell all of my new momma friends is to GET HELP with nursing whenever they feel like they need it. i naively thought i would know what to do by instict. when things weren’t working, i gave in and switched to formula- not knowing that there is a vast network of women out there that would have helped me master nursing and avoid so much unneeded stress and disappointment.

    • bringbirthhome says:

      Thank you for sharing this comment EcoMomma. We will be talking about this very issue on a upcoming guest blog post.

  3. Meg says:

    Why didn’t anyone tell me I would actually grieve the end of giving birth. Actually feel so sad it was all over…no matter how much it hurt!:) The thing I waited years to experience, planned with such care, and stayed up nights wondering how the story would go was now complete. The story was told. On one hand I felt such accomplishment, and on the other hand I felt so sad it was all done. It was a total emptiness inside, yet excitement it had happened. I still miss my birth and think of it everyday. It was the most profound experience I will ever have. OF COURSE I MISS IT!

  4. Why didn’t anyone tell me that giving birth flat on your back is the most difficult? Why didn’t anyone tell me that natural birth is NOT necessarily the most painful thing you’ll ever experience, and that that kidney infection was way worse? But also, why did nobody mention that postpartum uterine contractions can be really painful, and that they might get worse with every child?

    Thank you for sharing this – some great stuff, and very thought provoking!


  5. Cassandra says:

    Said guest post will be done by the end of the week :)

    Why didn’t anyone tell me that those lovely ligament-stretching hormones would stick around and continue to make my hips hurt?

  6. Rebecca says:

    I totally agree with the breastfeeding comment. I had numerous difficulties with my first, many of which could have been avoided with some guidance.

    Why didn’t anyone tell me that 3 years later my episiotomy would still be causing issues for me? Maybe that isn’t a natural childbirth issue though. I had asked that one not be performed for dd1 (hosp birth) unless absolutely necessary. I guess it depends on the doc’s definition of absol. necessary.

    And why didn’t anyone tell me about hemmoroids the size of texas!? =)

  7. Kathy says:

    Why didn’t anyone tell me that the day after birth I would have achey muscles all over?! I was surprised. Pushing is hard work, and you give it everything you’ve got! oMy neck and shoulders ached. and then, constantly looking down at my beautiful babe, I got a stiff neck! :-) It passes, of course, but if I had expected it, it wouldn’t have bothered me as much.

  8. Why did no one tell me that even with home birth and breastfeeding and baby wearing and co-sleeping I could still get post-partum depression?

    Furthermore, I knew I was pregnant but why didn’t anyone tell me I was going to have a BABY? :o )

  9. mamapoekie says:

    I don’t agree with the first one. I think we are told all too much that it hurts, even by people who never experienced it. The simple fact that we think it will hurt makes it hurt. I don’t think it hurt all that much. I have had several things in life hurt way more, and I don’t even think it should be described as pain. Yes it’s intense. But perpetuating the myth and fear of pain is something I wouldn’t have expected form this site

    • Jen says:

      I agree. The pitocin-induced contractions hurt like nobody’s business (blasted hospital transfer), but actually pushing her out felt AMAZING. And even though I tore, that bit didn’t hurt at all.

      (Also, EVERYone told me birth would be excruciating and that I was nuts to plan a home birth with no drugs available.)

  10. Ebony says:

    I also wonder why nobody told me about afterbirth pains and that not even ibuprofen would help. I still wonder if anything does help…maybe a heating pad. Yeah, I’ll try next time.

    Also, why didn’t anyone tell me that it’s possible to overstimulate your nipples in the first few days. On day one of engorgement I pumped to relieve it, but it only came back 200% worse. By day three I was ready to hack of my breasts with a butcher knife seriously.


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