Recently, a friend of mine announced that she was expecting.
It made me think, if I could go back and speak to myself in those
hideous, anxiety-ridden, nauseating thrilling days of early pregnancy, what would I say? What sage snippets of wisdom would I have to impart?
I came up with the answer today while I was walking Piglet home from what has become Mummy’s daily overpriced coffee habit (it’s like crack*, that stuff, honestly. Why else would I walk two miles in the pouring rain to sit in silence staring adoringly at an oversized paper cup for half an hour, allowing Piglet to nap way past his usual time, even though I know that means he won’t sleep until long after Cinderella has left the party. I swear that in years to come coffee will actually be banned. You heard it here first people).
The answer, my friends, was none.
Nope, I have no advice to give. None at all.
Firstly, I have had but one child. One. In scientific circles that would be considered a very small study size. I don’t think my experience is going to be published in any scientific journals on the typical realities of pregnancy, birth and child rearing any time soon.
Secondly, when you have a child, people are literally falling over themselves to offer advice. Let’s see, there was the woman in the library who stopped to help when Piglet, then aged five weeks, was screaming. This help consisted of blowing on his face, and then saying triumphantly after he had stopped screaming for approximately half a nanosecond, “look! They love it, see! Blowing on their faces always works!” Piglet then resumed screaming. We had to leave the library**
Then there was the man on the bus who put an appeal out to the entire collective of passengers to “give him nipple. Somebody give him nipple,” because Piglet, aged seven months, was crying on the bus. He was crying because he was bored, as was I, having to endure one of Wembley’s finest traffic jams, but let’s not allow that fact to get in the way of the fact that I was a terrible mother who was failing to give my child “nipple” on the bus.
Then there was the woman at the station who suggested I pull my coat around Piglet’s feet as he wasn’t wearing a snowsuit, and there was an eclipse happening. And the the man (I sense a public transport theme happening here. Here’s some advice-avoid public transport!) who said Piglet needed a haircut and implied I was one of the Daily Mail’s vilified benefit scroungers.
Yes, people will always be willing to proffer their advice, usually with a massive side order of judgement, all over everything you choose to do. They will advocate never reading a parenting book, then suggest a routine that makes Gina Ford look like a laid back hippy. They will raise their eyebrows when you put the baby in a sling, or in a pram. They will have something to say about breastfeeding, and formula feeding. They will say you should introduce solids at four months, but not until six months. They will suggest purees, but the baby will never eat normal food unless they’re given finger foods only. The spoon is the devil you know.
You simply cannot win. There’s no point in trying.
Just do what you think is best. Oh, and if anyone tell you that the room needs to be eighteen degrees celsius exactly, otherwise the baby will die, you have my permission to punch them in the face.***
*DISCLAIMER: I don’t have any personal experience of ACTUAL crack. No drugs here people. I don’t even know where my vitamins are. Hidden under the sofa along with last season’s prime blueberries and the TV remote, probably.
**OK, there is one, ONE piece of advice I have to give. All that stuff they have in some cultures about not leaving the house for a month-that is there for a reason. Just don’t leave the house for a month, if you can bear it. I thought I had to be back in the local coffee houses showing off my newborn within a week, and wearing my new American Apparel bodycon dress within three weeks. After all, I had paid good money for the blighter in the expectation that I would one day be thin again. I got into the dress, wore it out one day, and underneath my svelte post-baby body (where is are those Daily Mail photographers when you need them?) my C-section scar was bleeding from rubbing against it. You will be able to leave the house again. You will be able to drink wine and look fabulous. Just don’t rush it. Get everyone round. They can look after the baby, and bring you food. If you are breastfeeding then everyone will see your boobs, but you will just get over it,
after all far worse things happen during the birth. Just relax. Don’t do anything.
***Metaphorically speaking. Like, maybe in your head. Violence is not the answer.
Life Love and Dirty Dishes
35 Comments Add yours
Agree completely with being inundated with advice some welcome but majority not.
My advice to myself would be that although my life has changed completely (new baby, breakdown of relationship, being a single parent) and some days will feel like pure hell motherhood IS do able.
Yes, that’s very true. It’s easy to forget that sometimes in the early days.
I have laughed the whole way through this! The ‘give me nipple’ comment had me. Though I do agree about the public transport issues. You always get comments when using a bus or a train. #bestandworst
It was hilarious, although only in retrospect once we were no longer on the packed bus. I wondered if he actually meant “dummy” but didn’t know the English word, as it seemed a bit odd to be demanding that someone-anyone!-could give the poor child nipple.
Where were you when I was having my first child and needed all this advice? lol…you were probably still living it up as mine are now (almost 6) 4, and 3. And it’s so true that everyone thinks they are an expert because they raised a kid. Fact is, I have raised mine how I see fit **looks in living room to see that 3 and 4 year old are zoned out on tv cartoons…cringing that it’s spongebob** But truth is they had a very busy morning at preschool, picked them up bathed in mud, my SUV will never be the same, and so right now I just need to enjoy some reading of blogs while they quietly watch Spongebob. Regardless that I saw on Good Morning America that it actually makes their IQ less. Like who comes up with this shit right? Visiting from #bestandworst
?Trista, Domesticated Momster
I was definitely still living it up back then-although pining for a child and not having any idea about the reality. I do love it though! You are absolutely right, everyone who has ever had a child thinks they are an expert, and quite a few people who haven’t had children too, because after all, they were one once, right?
Great post and so well written and sooo true! I’m lucky not to have had much experience of unwanted advice from strangers. You must have a nice face! It must be so annoying as MUm does know best and you just do what works. Total minefield at the start! Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst xx
Haha, I don’t know about a nice face-more likely I just look like I have no idea what I’m doing and am one lack of snowsuit short of a social services referral!
I think as soon as you get pregnant from thereafter you are open to everyone’s crazy advice and it just carries on as soon as your child is born. Particularly when I was pregnant – you’re having twins – I can assure you I’m not – used to drive me mad!
Yes, as if they can see into your uterus with their amazing X-ray specs, lol!
The whole world has a right to comment when you have kids. Why is it we don’t have the right to punch them in the face? Great post. 🙂 Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics
I remembered my boy was having a tantrum on the floor when I was heavily pregnant with me second. Passers by shouted at me – “Just Fucking pick him up!” Wow! I really felt like punching him in the face – if only I had some energy at the time. Great post again. Thank you for linking up with us at #FabFridayPost xx
OMG that’s awful! I particularly hate people passing judgement on parents of toddlers having tantrums. Have their memories completely failed them? I can remember having my own tantrums as a wee one and even I know they were unreasonable!
Love this refreshingly honest post! thanks for writing!
You are quite right, people can’t wait to give advice, as for staying home for a month, I actually went to a friends child’s birthday party with my boys and my new born…. born that morning, slightly mad, then I wondered why I felt a bit faint! #KCACOLS
Wow you are hardcore! I was in hospital for 5 days and could barely walk for what seemed like ages. I did have an emergency section though, unfortunately.
As somebody who doesn’t have children, so not qualified even a tiny bit to give advice, mine would be every baby is different. There’s no such thing as a text book baby. And most importantly, trust your instincts.
As for strangers offering unasked for advice, I would have some advice for them that wouldn’t be suitable for baby’s ears! Although the one about covering the feet due to an eclipse may have made me laugh too hard to be mad lol 🙂 #KCACOLS
Well, that is pretty good advice! Thanks for commenting.
The worst thing about having a baby is that I can no longer wear headphones on public transport. I had really big colourful ones too, just to ensure all the old people knew I couldn’t hear them and wouldn’t be answering questions. But now I have to be alert to the baby and people take it as a sign to strike up conversation. That is not what public transport is about! Lol. #KCACOLS
That’s very true. I hadn’t thought of that, but I always used to have my headphones in as well, and part of the reason for that was so that randoms couldn’t talk to me. Ha!
It’s a shame sometimes that punching people in the face isn’t an opinion as anyone who says stuff like that guy on the bus deserves it! In some cultures not only does the new mum not leave the house, her family move in to look after her. Although the desirability of this depends on your actual family, as an idea it’s brilliant. Someone else does the worst bit so your body can concentrate on recovering from the previous nine months.
That’s great and, actually it’s not that different to how it was for me as although I was desperate to leave the house and felt like I had to get back to “normal,” I was at least staying with my mum and she did help out a lot, so I can’t complain.
I love this post – everyone and their dog wants to dish out advice when you are pregnant or have a child/children. It’s pretty insane. They all think they YOUR child better than you. Countless times I was asked if I was having twins when I was pregnant with my first or told I was huge – yes thanks for noticing!!! And then the advice from old ladies when you are out and about and not forgetting the time I was on a long haul flight to Hong Kong and was told to give my child whisky to stop him from crying!!! Utter madness!
Do what you think is best is the best advice I have ever heard – wish someone told me that before I had children!
Thanks so much for linking up to #KCACOLS and I hope to see you back again next Sunday x
That’s hilarious about the whisky. Someone once suggested that to me in a restaurant when my son was about three months old. I wasn’t sure if he was joking or not! Thank you for commenting. x
Fantastic post hon. I was really shocked when I read about the lady in the library. In fact my jaw literally dropped upon reading that. *Heck* I think I would have decked her there and then lol. Isn’t it just funny how strangers can’t help but force their unwanted advice on you. Thanks for a great and oddly kinda funny read!xx #KCACOLS
Tell me about it. I think we’ve all been there!
Ah, yes. The advice. The hoards of never-ending advice. Honestly, as soon as you start sprouting a bump it all comes flooding in. ‘Don’t ever give them a dummy!’ ‘Give them a dummy or you’ll go insane.’ ‘Do controlled crying, it’s easy.’ ‘Make sure you get out of the house every day.’ (Alright so that last one is kind of a good point, but as you say, not until at least four weeks later!
It sounds obvious to follow your instincts but it’s hard when your whole world has been tipped upside down. I, too, felt the pressure to be out and about (and dressed in my pre-pregnancy clothes) almost immediately. Got dressed up, went out, felt like I was crumbling apart inside and wanted to hide in a corner and cry. It was so overwhelming. If I have another one I plan to go into hibernation! x
Me too-good plan. I reckon a second one would be easier though, once you know what you’re letting yourself in for, although….how do people manage with TWO OF THEM? x
I was feeling like I wanted to write about something similar along these lines, but you have written it far better than I had planned in my head! ???✌?️
Great writing and brilliant points!