Someone posed this “fill-in-the-blank” in one of my mom groups on Facebook the other day and the responses were too good not to share. Maybe they aren’t lies for EVERYONE, but they definitely aren’t the truth for everyone. Dear first timers: take heed. Here were the most popular votes + my two cents.
There is no bigger lie told to mothers than _____.
1 | “You will love them the moment they are born.”
This is such a common misconception and it sets mothers up to feel like psychopaths when they don’t immediately start bawling and fall passionately in love with this slimy stranger. Bonds aren’t always instant and that is totally normal.
2 | “The weight will melt off with breastfeeding.”
Nope! Breastfeeding DOES burn a ton of calories, but your body also stores fat while you are breastfeeding. Some women have higher metabolisms and they may drop weight fast, but this is not a universal norm. Don’t even have weight loss expectations and you won’t be disappointed.
3 | “You can/should sleep when the baby sleeps.”
As precious as this sounds, I will have to disagree. Sometimes, yes, I slept when they slept. If I am literally too exhausted to safely take care of kids, then yes, I will sleep a little. HOWEVER. Most women have a lot of other things to deal with. This one also reminds me of “let the house go”. I can’t just totally let my house go. No one is happy with a cluttered, messy house, especially me. Sleep if you can, but don’t feel bad about getting stuff done during their naps.
4 | “It gets easier.”
No it doesn’t. Wait… I take it back. It get’s easier, then harder, then easier… and so on. Having a child is just one phase after another. Some are harder than others, but it is just a constant cycle. You will gradually, probably become more confident in your role as a mother but I wouldn’t say anything gets easier. I am not even sure which is worse: a teething newborn or an argumentative six year old. (See what I mean?)
5 | “It all comes together around the _____ week/month.”
This one is a big deal for me. My first child was the easiest baby in the world. He was super low maintenance. With my last one, I kept waiting on these magical ages where the wise mothers had told me everything would magically improve. “Oh you will have a routine down after three weeks.” Um. No. I am still trying to get a routine down and I am six months postpartum. Ignore all that.
6 | “It will come naturally.”
Another myth that sets us up for failure. Motherhood doesn’t come natural to everyone. Actually, I am willing to bet that it doesn’t come natural for the majority of us. Just because we have a uterus doesn’t mean we are programmed to be a mommy autobot. (I think I just made that word up, but I like it.) Maternal instincts are different for everyone. Motherhood is unlike any other feeling in the world, yes, but different strokes for different folks, ya know?
7 | “Anything with the word “all”. (All babies _____. All mothers ____.)”
Nope. Nothing in parenting is “one size fits all.” What worked for my babies may not work for yours. What worked for one of my babies might not work for the other. Accept advice with grace and live by trial and error. Don’t panic if someone gave you some bible truth that isn’t working for your kid.
8 | “Pregnancy is such a beautiful time.”
Get. Out. Of. Here. With. That. Noise. My pregnancies were horrible. Both of them were, for different reasons. I understand that there are unicorn moms who had flawless, glowing pregnancies but many moms hate pregnancy and I am one of them. It doesn’t make me less of a mother or a woman. It also doesn’t stop me from making babies. It just is what it is.
9 | “You can’t drink alcohol or coffee while breastfeeding.”
I had to add this one because I see this posted all over social media and mamas are not fact checking and depriving themselves of caffeine and the occasional night cap. In fact, I mentioned drinking wine in an old post of mine here, and when republished by The Huffington Post- was virtually shamed for even thinking of such a thing. Allow me to share factual information with you. Alcohol in moderation is 100% ok while breastfeeding. Very little crosses into your breastmilk and there is no need to pump and dump. Alcohol metabolizes and leaves your milk the same way the blood alcohol content decreases over time. There are a ton of credible resources to support this. About caffeine… listen…. don’t take my coffee away. There is no evidence to suggest that caffeine is harmful to a breastfeeding baby and I have about a thousand moms that will back me up with their own experiences. They are caffeinated. And ready to back me up. Because coffee jitters.
10 | “A healthy baby is all that matters.”
I saved this one for last because it’s the most important to me. A healthy baby is wonderful. A healthy baby is a beautiful gift from God. HOWEVER. A healthy baby is most certainly not all that matters. YOU matter too. A healthy mama is just as if not more important. If your cup is empty you can’t give to anyone else. Make sure you are accepting help if you need it, carving out time for self-care, and giving yourself a break. Transversely, if you happen to give birth to a baby that isn’t “healthy”, you still matter. You’re baby still matters. You’re still a mom.
Bottom line: don’t hold yourself to anybody else’s standard.
jessglynn27February 22, 2016 at 1:59 pm
I could not love this more!!! Yes yes yes, Amen, hell yes, yes, yes!!!!!!! This is me. Every single one of these. There are so many misconceptions around pregnancy and motherhood and they do nothing but make us feel like failures or that we aren’t normal if we don’t live up to them. Thank you for posting this!!!!! xoxo
TristaTristaFebruary 22, 2016 at 2:30 pm
I love this! LOVE. LOVE. LOVE it. Every single thing is so, so true. Thanks so much for sharing.
twelveandsixFebruary 22, 2016 at 4:47 pm
Thanks for reading, love!!
LindsayFebruary 23, 2016 at 4:02 pm
LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! So true, all of it! And the sleep when the baby sleeps has always been crazy to me! The only time I can clean the house and enjoy some alone time is when the baby sleeps, so I sure wasn’t about to waste it sleeping! Haha.
Oh, and wine while breastfeeding – jeez, I cannot even tell you how many times people who knew that I was breastfeeding panicked when they saw me having a glass of wine. I felt like I was always explaining the process of how you can safely do both and half of the time I don’t think people believed me.
Karly TraneFebruary 24, 2016 at 11:39 pm
Preach sister!!! This is so spot on!
Espresso Shot CreationsFebruary 25, 2016 at 10:35 am
This is fantastic and so very true – all of it!! Thank you!!!
DanielleFebruary 25, 2016 at 8:01 pm
Love these!!! I am totally drinking a glass of wine while reading this (and yep, I’m breastfeeding).
twelveandsixFebruary 25, 2016 at 8:26 pm
Do it girl!
On The Go MommyFebruary 26, 2016 at 9:54 am
I was told so many different things with my twins! I’m actually posting on Mon. the “real” milestones that make it easier for twin moms. It never all comes together and if it does its for like a day. Sleep? Ha. If my babies always slept at the same time I’d have been doing victory dances. A schedule? Between growth spurts at different times, teething at different times… Yeah right. Lies lies lies! I love your post 🙂 I’m not sure which is worse either – cries that I can’t fix, getting my toddler to eat something besides gummies, or a preteen that wants to act 17… LOL
twelveandsixFebruary 26, 2016 at 10:31 am
Haha! Exactly! I can’t wait to read your post!
Motherly Adventures (@MotherlyA)February 26, 2016 at 10:30 am
I feel so much better about those glasses of wine I sneaked into some of my meals!! Great post!
twelveandsixFebruary 26, 2016 at 10:31 am
LisaFebruary 28, 2016 at 3:42 pm
All of these are so, so good! It takes all of my self-control not to ‘educate’ moms who say they can’t drink (alcohol or caffeine) because they’re breastfeeding. I figure, to each their own, but I’ll be drinking both because otherwise how do you survive the newborn phase at all?! — Lisa | Naptime Chai
NikkiMarch 6, 2016 at 2:45 am
I feel I’m constantly defending myself re: breastfeeding and alcohol and caffeine. The problem is that lots of leading authorities incorrectly advocate that you must not have either. Interestingly enough they are beginning to change their stance as they realise if mama can have a well deserved coffee or wine they are more likely to breastfeed longer which actually is way more beneficial to the baby. I’m stick and tired of people not knowing the facts preaching. I too have read clinical papers. To have enough booze to affect my baby in my breastmilk would first have to pretty much kill me, so the odd vino is certainly going to do more for my sanity! Thank you for this article.
KlaraJune 13, 2021 at 4:17 pm
From Spain I must say I absolutely agree on everything you said. Both my pregnancies were awful too, followed by seldom c sections. And yes, I love my children and sometimes it is great to be a mom, but ot is far from being sunshine and lollipops.