During my recent weekend getaway with my best pal, I had the privilege of getting a mani/pedi from a really great lady. A mom of two small children herself, she struck up a conversation with me about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. We began chatting about how people love to scare pregnant women and new moms with horror stories. Why do we do this as a society?
(Photo by Alyssa Crawford Photography)
In the past few days as I have reflected on my fears about becoming a mother again in the very near future, I have come to realize most of the anxiety I have comes not from my actual concerns, but from the general negativity of other people.
People cannot wait to warn you how hard everything is going to be. My nail technician told me a story about how the nurse caring for her while she gave birth to her son came rushing into the room and said “We’re so busy tonight! We just sent three new babies to the NICU!” (Not exactly what a soon-to-be mommy needs to hear.)
Although parenting is not without its challenges, few experiences have been as difficult or uncomfortable as people hype them up to be. Before I became a mother I was under the impression that children were perpetually teething and had disgusting blow-outs on a daily basis.
I also realize how important my own words are to new or expectant moms. Maybe I should steer clear of the emergency surgery stories and just say how awesome it is the first time you see your new baby. I can do a better job of leaving out the details of sleepless nights and just mention how amazing it is to watch your little one learn and grow.
After all, most of parenting is really, really great. That’s the little secret I don’t think we share enough.