Full disclosure: I never actively wanted to become a mom. The fact that I ended up pregnant in the first place was a total surprise. Of course, I wouldn’t trade my kid in for anything else in the world. However, before I became pregnant for the first time (and even in those first few months after I got knocked up), I said a lot of stupid things about pregnancy. Before I knew better, I had zero compassion or empathy for the pregnant mothers of the world and now, well, I stand corrected and very much humbled.
It’s kind of easy to mouth off about something you know nothing about, and that’s basically what I did prior to having kids. I hated the idea of pregnancy, thought the entire process was gross and wondered why people chose to live that way. Yes, I was an insufferable judgmental person, no question about it. However, I still think my pre-pregnant judgmental self wasn't as bad as the person I became when I did get pregnant, and tried to become an uber-perfect mom. I swore up and down that all those things that happen to other pregnant moms would never, ever happen to me. I was so sure of myself. Man, was I wrong.
These days, I am much slower to speak out about things I know nothing about. But if you’re wondering just how bad it was before I had a baby of my own, here’s a list of many — if not all — of the totally ridiculous things I said about pregnancy once upon a (very smug) time.
"Why Would Anyone Want To Do This To Themselves?"
Actively trying to get pregnant and actively wanting to become a mother were two things that just seemed so extremely bizarre to me, in my younger years. I knew children would totally change my life around, and back then I wasn’t really prepared or willing to go through with it.
Let’s face it, though; I just sounded like a grade-A jerk.
"Why Would Anyone NOT Get An Epidural?"
After hearing numerous horror stories from acquaintances with kids, I truly wondered why on earth anyone would turn down an epidural.
At this point, I was about 95 percent sure I would never bear children. However, I had decided then and there that if I did have to have a baby, that I would have an epidural and be done with the pain. We have ibuprofen for headaches, why not go for what works when you're pushing another human being out of your body?
"Why Would Anyone GET An Epidural?"
Funny story: deep into my second trimester with my son, I became really fixated on the idea of “natural childbirth." I was terrified of interventions and while some of my fears were founded, I also became completely anti-hospital, anti-intervention, and as a result inadvertently started shaming moms whose choices were different from my own. Not cool. It’s OK to choose not to get an epidural, but it's never OK to shame others.
"I’m Only Going To Eat Super Healthy Food While Pregnant..."
This goes hand-in-hand with my promise to myself that I would make all of my son’s baby foods and that he would never eat fast-food. Maybe some people can do it. Maybe they were raised eating healthy and nutritious foods and were taught how to do this for their babies. I wasn’t. So, I’d be lying if I said I never ate Taco Bell while pregnant.
"...And I’m Definitely Going To Exercise The Whole Time"
Want to know how many prenatal yoga classes I attended during my pregnancy? Two. How many walks did I go on? Probably about the same number. Pregnancy and exercise may go together for some folks, but I’m not one of them.
"I’ll Totally Still Go To Concerts And Be The 'Cool Pregnant Chick' That Everyone Adores"
You know that scene in Knocked Up when Katherine Heigl’s character and Leslie Mann’s character try to go to a club, but Heigl is pregnant and Mann is, well, older? And the bouncer tells them they need to go home because, well, they're pregnant and old? Yeah I thought I would be cool enough to avoid such a conversation, but in the end I never even had the energy to go out. So much for being “cool.”
"I’m Never Going To Get Stretch Marks"
I don’t know why I thought my body was somehow composed of non-stretch-marking skin, but I was convinced that as long as I used the right creams on a regular basis, I would come out the other end of pregnancy unscathed.
Of course, nothing actually prevents stretch marks, so this was a silly notion. Mine aren’t all that pronounced, but they sure as hell are there and that’s totally OK with me.
"I’m Not Going To Let Anyone Touch My Belly. Ever."
Try as one might, most moms end up having someone touch their belly without their explicit permission. I’m not sure why some folks seem to think this is acceptable in any way, but when you’re pregnantn you’ll always end up encountering someone who doesn’t understand or respect boundaries.
I somehow thought I was special enough to avoid this, but I was obviously wrong.
"Baby Showers Are So Lame"
Prior to pregnancy, you could not pay me enough to show up to a baby shower. I’d only attended a few relatives’ showers, only because they were family, but I never really enjoyed it. I hated the games and the baby-centric theme and having to sit around while someone opens all their gifts. It all just seemed so, you know, annoying.
I still don’t like going to too many showers, but I now have a higher appreciation for these parties because I get how important they can be for a mama-to-be.
"I’m Only Going To Wear Super Cute Maternity Clothes"
Once I finally started to “show," I really thought that I would invest in a ton of super cute maternity outfits. Maybe even a few that I could wear post-baby but not look pregnant in.
Then, of course, I realized the cost of maternity clothes is ridiculous and wound up wearing the same super stretchy leggings and 3-pack of maternity tees and called it a day.
"I Won’t Let Pregnancy End Up Being The Only Thing I Talk About"
I used to totally hate on pregnant people who wouldn’t shut up about their pregnancies, and then parents who wouldn’t shut up about their kids. I hated that my friends somehow thought I was just as interested as they were about delivery positions or baby bottles or the cute way their newborn burped.
Then I got pregnant and my brain suddenly had little room for anything else and I totally understood why pregnant folks won’t let up on the baby talk. It’s really not our fault. We are simply their hosts (hence pregnancy brain).
"I’m Not Going To Be Like All Those Women On TV And Scream When I'm Giving Birth"
My mom has always made fun of the women on TV shows and in movies who are screaming bloody murder as they give birth. Apparently, her birth experiences didn’t require loud, guttural howls.
So, I expected that I would be like my mother and give birth without much of a fuss. Instead, I shrieked and shouted for hours because giving birth sucks and it hurts and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.