This is the advice Mark and I were given a few months ago by a random stranger.
We were in Hobby Lobby and this woman who had her hair on top of her head, no make up, oversized hoodie and sweat pants(and she was STILL gorgeous) was pushing around a baby who I knew could only be a few weeks old if that. Mark and I were of course both mesmerized by how tiny the baby was and I stalked her down a few isles to get a closer look. I have been around/taken care a lot of babies/toddlers in my life time and I’m confident enough in my abilities to care for a new-born. Mark on the other hand, not so much! He hasn’t been around many babies at all, and isn’t quite sure how to hold them etc so I wanted him to get a closer look at this baby. I walked up to her and we started talking. The baby was 3 weeks old and cute as could be. I know Mark and I were just beaming looking at this little miracle. She asked me how far along I was, and what we planned to name him and all of that typical small talk. Then the question I get asked the most ” Is this your first?” This is a totally legit question, but I despise it for two reasons. Sometimes I don’t know how to respond because even though I have never delivered a baby, this is not my first pregnancy and not my first little miracle so I feel shameful when I say yes, but I don’t want to have to go there and explain. Next, the minute I say yes, I know whats coming.
Here are just a few of the replies I get:
“Ohhh, just you wait!”
“Oh no, your life is going to be changed forever”
“Get ready, your never going to sleep again!”
“You have no idea what your in store for”
“Good Luck, your going to need it!”
Does anyone else see a pattern here? All of these replies are NEGATIVE. I get it, parenthood is not always rainbows and butterflys….its a lot of hard work, but why does it have to be portrayed as a negative experience? Why do us first time parents have to prepped like Doomsday preppers and made to feel like our life as we know is ending.(OH the irony!) Actually, our life as we know it is ending but what if you didn’t want that life you had anymore? What if this new life is all you ever dreamed of and at one point you thought it was a life you would never get to experience? What if there was a time that you were in such a dark place that you didn’t want to move on with your life if there was no baby in your future? Think about it.
I don’t mind getting advice, I need it. Despite what I think I may know, I know I have a lot to learn but isn’t that the point here? Doesnt every first time parent have to learn the tricks of the trade? Arent we all entitled to this experience? At one point, we all had to learn how to change a diaper, or feed the baby etc. In my opinion thats the fun part, learning all these new tasks together and having fun while doing so and not have to worry about being critized about every little thing.I know that not everyone who makes these kinds of replies are trying to be negative and most people are just making conversation and are trying to be helpful but I really wish people would think before they speak or maybe consider who they are speaking to. Don’t scare the new parents, encourage them. I now have responses for each of those remarks and I sometimes start to feel bad when I let them know what I went through for this child and the loss I experienced. I don’t care if it’s a stranger that’s standing behind me in line at Target, give me negative advice and your going to hear about my past. AWKARD!
Mark and I had a double date last weekend with a couple who we are just starting to get to know. They have the most precious 1-year-old son and I can’t even begin to tell you how refreshing our dinner was. Instead of talking about how tired they were, or how many poopie diapers they had to change they said something that I have never heard anyone say before. “It’s really not as bad as people tell you it is, we enjoyed every second of it” Come to find out, she had been given many of those first time parents lectures as well and it really scared the crap out of her and she expected the worst and that’s sad that she had to feel that way.
I never want to be one of those people who steals someones joy. I want to be encouraging to new parents, and let them know how much BETTER their life is about to get despite all the chaos that comes along with having a newborn. Beckham is not even here yet and from the moment I found out I was pregnant, my life has been better than EVER. He has changed me in a way that nothing else ever could and I know it’s only going to get better once I lay eyes on this precious boy of mine.
Next time you are talking to a mother to be, tell her how amazing it is. Tell her about all those moments you cherish and all that she has to look forward to. Tell her how good it really is. I guarantee you will both walk away from that conversation with a smile on your face 🙂
Until Next Time,