During my pregnancy, my husband and I took a birth class, a CPR class, a breastfeeding class, and an infant care class. I wasn’t even showing so much (I was only 4 months pregnant), which led to curious looks from others in the class. My husband and I read parenting books, interviewed doulas, meditated, and frequently talked about our birth plan and parenting philosophy. By my due date, I felt confident and prepared.
Despite all my preparations, the birth of my daughter caught me by a complete surprise. It was the steepest growing curve, the toughest on-the-job training, the hardest thing I have ever done! A rude awakening. A shock to the system. Despite being madly in love with my daughter, I was not at all prepared for the facts that there would never be any downtime for me (forget meditation), that weekends would lose their appeal (I’ll be just as busy and tired as on weekdays), and that I would never ever relax (even on romantic dates with hubby). Friends kept saying “this month is tough, but it gets easier when they are three/six/nine [insert your answer] months”.
It did eventually get easier – or I simply got used to it. But I kept thinking: Why did nobody tell me? And then I remembered rolling my eyes when friends said things like “oh you think you are tired now, wait till that baby is born” or “enjoy your life now, you won’t have time for it later”.
I decided to use my experience to help others, but to my surprise my pregnant friends avoided me like a plague. They wanted to hear none of it. I got a feeling they found it uncomfortable, like seeing a meltdown in public. Perhaps they thought that I was a bad mom. Or maybe they simply didn’t know how to respond. Whatever the case, I failed to help them prepare, just as my friends failed to help me prepare.
It must be that the way we did it was wrong. We need to learn how to talk to pregnant women. I’m still working on it.