What NOT TO expect when you're expecting

Updated: Feb 23, 2021

A lot of social pressures and expectations surround a woman regarding pregnancy. “When are you planning to get pregnant?”, “Oh you’re too big”, “Where are you hiding the baby, you have such a small bump”, “Are you planning to breastfeed?”, “You’re so lucky to have such an easy pregnancy” and so on. Most often, these questions and comments come from simply good intentions but we should take the time and reflect a bit more on them. In fact, just like each individual is different, same goes for pregnancy. It even differs from one baby to another within the same family.

Some just don’t like to be mothers and that’s okay. Others have been trying silently for God knows how long and your question might cause them pain more than anything else. Besides, why would you like to know? It doesn’t affect you in any way! If you’re that excited for that couple to become parents, just pray for them silently so they get whatever their heart desires. This bump you’re finding too big or too small holds the same miracle and works as hard. The mommy is definitely feeling heavy and uncomfortable as well no matter the size and she doesn’t need to be neither reminded of that nor to feel unnoticed.

Then comes the “who has the easiest or hardest pregnancy” as if it was a competition. We all live experiences differently. Pregnant women are no different. What may look hard to some, could look easy to others and vice versa. Let’s all just remember that a life is growing inside this woman’s gorgeous body. Her organs are being crushed every day more and more as baby grows. Her hormones are all over the place and she already feels overwhelmed with a million thoughts per second going through her mind : “Will I have a healthy pregnancy? Will I have a safe delivery? Is it going to be painful? Are we going to be okay? Am I going to be a good mom?” among others. Whether it’s insomnia, heartburn, nausea, back and rib pain, gestational diabetes, whether it’s all of them combined, or some or neither, the mommy is suffering her own way and it’s no one’s job to rate her experience or compare it to theirs. We experience and tolerate pain differently. What matters is to be there for each other and use our different strengths to get through the pregnancy in the healthiest and most pleasant way possible. A lot of expectations also surround the postpartum period and new moms often have to face so many opinions about the way they raise their kids. It starts with “Oh you think pregnancy is hard? Wait till the baby is born!” I have been told this numerous times while pregnant and it honestly bothered me a lot. I prayed for my baby and couldn’t be happier to be pregnant no matter how tiring it is. I was dreaming of the day I become a mother and I definitely didn’t imagine it being easy. We all have super moms who raised us well and we’ve seen what they’ve been through and we’ve heard all the stories. I just had faith that when my baby will be born, a new strength and energy will be born with him. Sleepless nights? Definitely. But somehow, I found myself making it through day after day and I’m sure many of you moms felt the same. There’s even some evidence suggesting that mothers who co-sleep with their babies will see their sleep cycles reduced naturally to synchronize with their infants’ making them less tired when they wake up for feedings. Amazing right? Another thing is breastfeeding. I personally believe breastfeeding is the greatest gift I could give my baby and I loved the bond it created between us. However, I respect that it’s not every one’s choice. Some women may really want to but don’t succeed because of some complications or lack of guidance and support. Others just don’t want to do it because they feel it like a burden and it will put them down more than anything. It doesn’t matter. Milk is best! We want a happy and comfortable mommy to be able to give all the love and care needed to her baby. The comments also go the other way around and start doubting the breastfeeding mom. Oh how many times I’ve been told “Are you sure you have enough milk to feed him? Is he drinking enough?”. No one will ever care about the baby more than his mommy so if she feels he’s not well nourished, she will definitely be the first one to intervene and do everything possible to make sure he grows in a healthy way. I used to spend hours and hours pumping, following the recommendations of my lactation consultant, just to make sure I had enough to feed my little Matteo. Then when we were both ready to stop, we did in the most harmonious way. Don’t let anyone criticize your choice or make you feel guilty in any way because you’re the main person in your baby’s life and all he needs is your love and attention. The list goes on but I’ll be discussing other topics in further posts while sharing my experiences. Stay tuned! Just remember mommy that no matter how hard the day gets, there’s no one better than you for this job and you’ll pull it through. However, you shouldn’t seek perfection. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, please ask for help! You need to take care of yourself first to be able to attend to all your baby’s needs. You’ve got this! Enjoy this crazy but empowering ride of motherhood. - The Caterpillar Mom.

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