Is there a time of greater expectation in a woman's life than pregnancy (pun intended!)? Whether you are carrying your very first teeny bundle or your eighth, what goes on inside your body is new and exciting and different than anything else you experience as a woman. For months you are literally bursting with potential. And while this precious time is so beautiful, it can quickly become a hotbed for anxiety and fear as you field the advice and opinions of those around you. From the water cooler chit-chat to the internet, the world is ablaze with bad advice for moms. We've gathered some of the very worst lies we tell pregnant women, and we're here to debunk them. Get ready to relax as we clear the motherhood air for you.
1. You're eating for two.
This little admonishment feels like a free pass to the Golden Corral. And how fun to think of sloughing the guilt of eating anything for nine whole months. Eat what you want! Baby needs it! But beware: what the little one at your center is actually asking for is around 300 calories a day, according to True or False? 20 Common Myths About Pregnancy by Belinda Luscombe. Many more calories than that, and you're looking at extra weight to deal with postpartum, which may not be worth the extra row of brownies that baby "needs."
2. Walking makes labor go faster.
You're approaching your due date, and with the back pain, the soreness in your hips, and the overall exhaustion, you'd just really like to meet this sweet one who is wreaking havoc on your body. So you do what you're told and WALK. Just get moving, those well-meaning voices tell you, as if somehow movement will usher junior down the birth canal. Not actually true, according to the doctors in The Mommy Docs Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Birth. While walking is fabulous for you and your overall well being, it won't do a lick of good to jump start labor. Walk, yes. But do it for exercise or relaxation, not to start labor.
3. A bigger baby is a better baby.
I'm not sure how this idea ever came to be, but we tout the size of our babies like prize watermelon. Is there an inherent reward for birthing a 10-pound baby? No, there is not, says Luscombe in her article. But you wouldn't know it to listen to the masses speak. Pay no attention. Babies are babies are babies, and each & every one is an absolute blessing. Your small baby is not starting out behind, and vice versa, your jumbo child is not winning at anything. Relax and enjoy your baby.
4. You will always feel the most blissful feelings for your baby.
As Dwight says on the Office, “FALSE”. You may be knocked out with truest love for your little one from the start, but when the middle of the night happens and you find yourself just the slightest smidge frustrated with her for just not sleeping, DO NOT beat yourself up about those feelings. They are completely normal, and so are you. So is your baby, as a matter of fact. As Amy Johnson-Grass says in 10 Common Myths About Motherhood, "Just because you may feel like you don’t like your child very much in the moment, it doesn’t mean you won’t love them at the end of the day." Your feelings will ebb and flow. It's important to feel them all, and to be honest about the way you're feeling, if only to yourself.
5. You need ALL the stuff.
Having babies is closely associated with baby showers, Target gift registries, and researching the latest gear. Go to any garage sale at the home of a toddler and you will see all the things bought that were either never or barely used. It's so fun to buy teeny blue or pink things, true, but you honestly do not need a diaper pail or a wipe warmer. And you certainly don't need crib bumpers to match the wallpaper. If you're in to all of that, fantastic. But what babies truly need are diapers, a few clothes and a blanket, a safe place to sleep, a food source, and loving arms to hold them. If you have those things, you have everything. All the rest is fluff.
6. Once you have kids, your body will never be the same.
Ok, so this one is sort of-probably-mostly true. But the truer part is that it really doesn't matter. Sure you're a little looser around the hips, maybe a bit less perky up-top. BUT YOU HAVE A BABY. You created a human being out of next to nothing ALL BY YOURSELF (mostly!). So what if you have a few scars, stretch marks, or love handles? Those, sister, we call battle scars, and you ought to wear them with pride! They are motherhood badges of honor. Also, just because your body looks different than it did before, it doesn't make you any less beautiful.
So there you have it, a heap of lies. May you rest lighter now with the weight of myth lifted from your pregnant self!