Below are some myths, wives tales and anecdotes that I’m either confirming or busting based on our experience as parents so far. I know many parents who have experienced the opposite of what we have, and that’s why I italicized “our”.
Myth: Women forget how painful labor is.
Confirmed. Almost immediately.
Myth: If you don’t get hemorrhoids during pregnancy, you will get them post-delivery.
Confirmed. What a pain in the butt. (I’m hilarious.)
Myth: It takes about 6-8 weeks to recover from delivery.
Busted. Coming up to month 9 and still not declared healed, and sometimes it’s still quite painful. I wish I was kidding.
Myth: In children, everything is a phase.
Confirmed. (So far.) Some phases last months, though, and they don’t feel like just phases when you’re in the middle of it.
Myth: New parents take their baby to the doctor for every little thing.
Plausible. We don’t take him in for every little sniffle, but we take him in a lot. Because he’s sick a lot.
Myth: A sure-fire way to get a baby to sleep is to take him/her on a car ride.
Busted. Ian screamed and cried about 75% of the time he was on a car ride for the first 6 months. Even still, he often fusses when we put him in the car seat. If he’s hungry as well, then look out. But he’s gotten much better and has been known on occasion to fall asleep, if we time the trip right.
Myth: Breastfeeding is natural and easy for mom and baby.
Busted. It’s only natural because our bodies were built for it. Other than that, babies don’t come out knowing how to latch on and moms don’t always produce milk and sometimes the coordination just doesn’t work. We got lucky, and I still attribute our “success” to a few visits to a lactation consultant in the first two weeks. It’s hard work and painful and sometimes annoying. But it’s also hard work and painful to ween….so….
Myth: The weight will melt off your body if you’re breastfeeding, even with no exercise.
Busted. I believed it in that first two weeks. I lost about 10 pounds in 10 days (not including the immediate weight loss from birthing a baby). I was ecstatic. Stepping out of the bathroom and announcing that I’d lost 3 pounds since the day before yesterday. Now, almost 9 months later, I know that it wasn’t breastfeeding. It was fluid-loss from the several days following delivery. I haven’t lost any more weight since then (unless you count when I caught the flu in October)…in fact, I’ve gained a couple pounds since this summer.
Myth: You should sleep when the baby sleeps.
Confirmed. This is really great advice. But stop giving me “the look” when I say I don’t do it anymore. Because here’s the deal: I work full time, people! I cannot nap in the morning and afternoon. At night, though, I’m in bed usually within 30 minutes of Ian falling asleep. And on the weekends, I’ll occasionally take a cat nap when possible. It helps, especially on maternity leave.
Oh, and the next time someone says, “I slept like a baby”, what they mean is “I fought sleep until the bitter end and then I was fitful for much of the night, until it was time to wake up. Then I wouldn’t open my eyes for anything but food.”