Why no one’s telling me how to be a mom this time, and what choices I should make

June 17, 2016

Dear Max

When I was pregnant with you and even after, it felt like you had 100 parents. People who wanted to choose which birth was best for you, which antenatal class I should go to (I didn’t end up going to any), what you needed to eat, how foods you should avoid. It’s as if a first pregnancy calls all the “experts” over, and invites them over to act as judge, mediator, psychologist, doctor and dietitian.

Everyone means well, and people just want to help, and perhaps at times justify their own parenting decisions and make them feel good. I at times appreciated the support, but to be honest, I think the only advice I ever heeded was not to heat up bottles, which came from a mom of two, who realised nothing happened to her second child when she didn’t heat up the milk. And you know what? It served us well – it meant you got your milk quicker, and there was no need to wait, find boiling water, and get mildly anxious in the process.

People advised against caesarean, against bottles, against formula, and against Gina Ford routines, and I’m glad I smiled and waved, because things turned out pretty well when we went with our choices, and not others’.

This pregnancy though, no one has said a word (aside from someone suggesting I try a natural birth), and I’m not sure if it’s because it’s my second time round, or because they remember my smiles, waves and eye rolls from the first time. I do think it’s the former though. For example, I would unlikely advise a second-time mom, though probably tell a first timer what worked for me (see, I’m also an irritating advice dispenser).

The truth is, while I’ve done it before, I’m certainly no expert. I know what works for me, but I have no clue if it will work the next time, and after seven years, I suspect that changing nappies, bathing and feeding might come as easily as naturally as riding a bike was for me. Which is, not that easy at all.

Another things that’s changed this time is my worry, or rather it’s just branched out to include new things. I “blame” Facebook and the internet for me being aware of the million things that can go wrong in pregnancy and birth. Granted, I am the one who reads these stories.

At my foetal assessments, I asked the professor if the baby had ears (I had just heard a story of a baby being born with no ears), and at the second one, I asked him if all the organs were in the stomach (I once read that story about a baby being born with its organs outside the stomach). The doc looked at me as if to say: “I would have told you if I saw anything amiss”, and “Stop reading so much”. These were things I never thought about with you, and perhaps if there’s one thing I should follow this time round is not to read stories that drive me crazy(ier).


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  • Alison

    πŸ™‚ I think that’s what is nice about prenancy nr 2. Folk look at you and think, “Well she’s raised the first one without any major problems – I think she’ll handle nr 2 without our ‘wonderful’ advice”. Having said that – my friend told me a story of when her second was born. Still in hospital and the baby was screaming. Checked nappy etc etc but baby still yelled his head off. Eventually a nurse gently asked “Did you remember to wind him?” Answer was “Oops, no forgot that part about babies” πŸ˜‰

    June 17, 2016 at 10:22 am Reply
  • Mrs FF

    Ha ha ha … Yes you have had a baby and done a good job so people don’t feel compelled to tell you much. I also don’t believe in heating bottles but the one thing I did (and still do) is to always have a flask of hot water available for formula and of baby is exclusively breastfed for a quick cuppa for mommy if she feels like…

    Interesting my gynae also said the same thing to me about reading too much on the web and if I really felt like reading something to make me feel better then read what to expect when you are expecting… and I was calmer once I stopped reading Things on the web πŸ˜†

    July 5, 2016 at 10:13 pm Reply
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