My first pregnancy was, um, "something." I'd say it was a mix of surprise and confusion, trepidation and excitement. Aside from my partner, my mother was the first to know I was expecting, too. I was hoping she would help me navigate these juxtaposing emotions and share in my undeniable joy. But when I called to tell her the news she abruptly ended the call, claiming she needed to go back to work. Needless to say, my first pregnancy announcement didn't go as planned. That's just one of the ways my mom ruined my pregnancy for me. And while I can't say she ruined it completely, there were more than a few questionable stories, comments, and decisions she made that left me feeling like I was missing out; like my first experience growing a human being inside my body was, somehow, less than.
I'm mostly being facetious, because of course my mom didn't ruin my pregnancy in the horrific ways you might imagine, or in a way that turned me off of pregnancy forever. I mean, I have two children. So whatever she did, clearly it didn't deter me from getting knocked up a second time. So no, she didn't yell and scream at me for nine months, or deny me the right to choose the way I wanted to parent. She didn't ask who the father was or make me feel like my baby didn't matter.
If I'm being honest, I have to admit that the things she did or said ruined what I thought pregnancy was going to be. She became my reality check. And while I can appreciate why she wanted to essentially protect me, I would have loved it if I could have figured things out on my own. This was my experience, good, bad, or ugly, and I needed her to support me, instead of shield me. So with that in mind, here's the ways my mom "ruined" my pregnancy. Take it from me, soon-to-be moms: it's OK to tell your own mother to, you know, back off.
She Talked About The Pain Way Too Early
You know what pregnant women don't want to hear? Your horror stories about how traumatizing your labor and delivery was. My mom still tells me all about the pain I caused her, just as my partner's mom still talks about her back labor and the horror of delivering her giant baby.
It seems like everyone who's given birth has a horror story and they want to tell you the moment you discover you're pregnant. No one more than my own mom. None of this made me look forward to the inevitable. Actually, it made me cry. A lot.
She Made Me Afraid Of The Bathroom
Of course I knew things would change the moment I found out I was pregnant. I was well aware that my mood and emotions would shift, and my body would expand and stretch in ways that would prove to be inconvenient.
But I didn't need to hear about all the disgusting details, including the way my bathroom trips would evolve as I grew another human being inside my body. My mom liked to tell me, in great detail, how going to the bathroom was for her when she was pregnant. I still have nightmares, you guys.
She Made Me Fear My Cravings
Part of being pregnant, I thought, meant having fun or weird cravings and giving into them guilt-free. My mom liked to remind me not all cravings are created equal. I was asked to remember that it "takes time to get your body back after pregnancy" and to "think of the baby."
I understood our family has a long history of weight battles, but when I was pregnant I didn't need to worry about "getting my body back." I didn't lose it. It was right here, wanting another helping of ice cream.
She Talked About How Things "Used To Be"
If you're pregnant, my mom will hunt you down to tell you all about how differently things were "back in the day." So you'll hear about how they tied her to the bed when the pain was so strong, and she lashed out. She'll tell you how she had to go to the bathroom right where she laid. She'll describe every single part of it, and why she wouldn't wish it on her worst enemy.
So, you know. At least you have that to look forward to, right?
She Forgot I Was Pregnant
When I was pregnant my nausea was constant and kept me from leaving the house most of the time. When I did leave the house, I had to bring at least one sleeve of crackers with me, in an attempt to keep the nausea and vomiting at bay.
But my mom didn't allow food in the car she picked me up in, and in turn, I got really sick and had contractions. It might not have ruined the pregnancy, but it definitely ruined me wanting to ride in her car when I was pregnant.
She Assumed Our Pregnancies Were The Same
I appreciated all the advice and foretelling, because it helped prepare me for the worst. But it seemed like my mom consistently forgot that this was my pregnancy, not hers. Every woman has a different experience. There were times I wished I could just be, without her constantly comparing my pregnancy experiences to her own.
She Complained About Parenthood
In my opinion, my pregnancy should've been a time for dreaming about the future. I should've been able to hope and wish for how I wanted things to be, what kind of parent I'd be, and how much love I had to give. I should have been focusing on best case scenarios and I should have been told stories that highlighted just how awesome being someone's mother truly is.
Instead, my mom just complained about how difficult it is to parent. She went on and on about how no one is perfect and, eventually, I was going to screw up royally. She let me know that, at times, I was going to wish I wasn't a parent at all. Guys, I didn't want to hear that when I was pregnant. Like, at all.
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