The Great Prenatal Cover Up – What I Wish I Was Told About Childbirth and Parenting –

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November 19, 2015 by Katia

6 years later, I still remember how when we got to page 23 of our prenatal class’s guidebook our instructor paused and said: you can go ahead and tear that page out. You won’t be needing it. The title of the page in question read: Sex After Childbirth. This was one of very few painful truths concerning childbirth and parenting that prenatal decided to disclose.

It’s a well known fact among post prenatalists that What to Expect When You’re Expecting and its online equivalent, the Baby Center emails, withhold important parenting information. “Your toddler is 34 months old. In the following weeks they’ll start referring to everyone as ‘buttface’” said no email from Baby Center ever. And did any of the multiple breastfeeding resources you’ve consulted ever discuss the is-that-a-cabbage-leaf-in-your-bra-or-are-you-just-happy-to-see-me phase? 

 Coincidence? I think not.

Hello. My name is Katia and I’ll be your conspiracy theorist today.

Prenatal Cover Up

THEY don’t want us to know. Why? Not entirely sure, but it’s my conspiracy theory and I’ll speculate if I want to. Maybe they think that if we knew everything we’d bolt. All I know is that the cover up is massive and it starts at prenatal.

Everything is awesome at prenatal La La and it’s all about choices and their implied derivative – control. First up is location. Will you go for a water birth mindfully guided by a super doula in our Paradise Suite or would you prefer the more traditional Meh, Let’s Do Hospital Bed approach?

Now let’s talk positions in the most creepily non creepy and awkwardly non awkward way possible. Once you’ve selected your venue, there’s a variety of positions to make you feel more comfortable while you push, push, PUUUURRRRR-PFFT-SHHHH. May I suggest downward dog? Another popular and versatile choice is the yoga ball: good for bouncing, throwing at your husband or simply floating on in your tub (enjoy the water birth, snob).

More options await at the “hospital bag” meets “dad to be is a thing too” intersection. What do we pack in preparation for this life changing event? According to the prenatal guidebook mom will need about thirty seven items including warm socks, a fluffy pair of slippers and her favorite jammies while dad needs coins. For the vending machines. You can also, according to same list, pack a deck of cards and photographs of people you love (or pets, in case you don’t love any people). The photos will further enhance your sense of coziness while the cards will help kill a few hours, because you will definitely be looking for stuff to do. 

In attempt to make this the one event in my life that I prepared for, I bought Facebook news feed worthy PJs. Guess what? They didn’t make it to the OR table where the doctors were preparing to perform an emergency procedure on me due to a complication. A strangely assertive doctor ordered that I take them off while birthing I’m and complicating and all that wonderful pink fabric was replaced by a doily sized towel that covered some of me, but only the parts that didn’t matter.

You’re bitter, Katia. You had a complication and you’re blaming prenatal. Shame on you.

Well, no. At the hospital I ran into many of my prenatal classmates. If prenatal was Hollywood then the Where Are They Today episode dedicated to us would show a gorgeous bunch of healthy babies brought to you by one seventy two hour long delivery, a couple of emergency C sections, a ruptured placenta (moi) and one suction.  

But why be such a player hater? Let prenatal do its thing and let the parents to be enjoy this last whiff of false sense of control before they relinquish it forever.

The doily covered none of what I wanted it to. Prenatal did the opposite. The shit that I really needed to know is that, yes, there’s freedom of choice but sometimes the process takes its own course. Sometimes you decide against Epidural then change your mind. Sometimes you ask for it, but it’s too late.  Sometimes you’ll end upin the room the instructor showed you during the hospital visit and said not to worry because no one ever ends up in that tiny cell. You would’ve never noticed the cell-ness of the room unless your attention was drawn to it with a “don’t worry”.

Dear Prenatal, you were wonderful to us, in a helicopter mom kind of way. You protected us from shit but once it hit the fan we got thrown off. Childbirth and parenting have a lot in common. For one thing – they’re both unpredictable. Childbirth in all of its goodbadugliness is a great introduction to parenting and there’s nothing wrong with knowing that in advance. 

22 thoughts on “The Great Prenatal Cover Up – What I Wish I Was Told About Childbirth and Parenting –

  1. dodgepoe says:

    love this. i feel all of your pain and frustration and am immediately brought back to my pregnancies and births, and am flooded with all of my own rage… let’s write a book. i know another blogger with some great post-natal stories…i’m seeing the title now “What Mama Don’t Know…”…

  2. I love this! So true! I had complications too. I was induced and literally everything went wrong from there. 44 hours later my son was born but we were both worse for the wear. We both had fevers and infections and he ended up having to stay in the hospital for a week. No one prepared me for any of that! I felt so duped by the prenatal prep books. Not one part of my labor or delivery was something I had read about or learned in class. Please do write this aforementioned book! Thanks for sharing!

    • Katia says:

      Thanks so much for your comment and yes, duped is exactly what it feels like! The good news is you can’t be duped twice! And as for a book – that’s always on mind.🙂

  3. I love this! Thanks for the honest post. I have people tell me all the time that the likelihood of something bad is so minuscule. But, I’m a realist and I know my chances are as high as most to have complications and my plan get derailed.

    • Katia says:

      Thank you so much, Brittany! I always assume that it’s mothers mainly who read my blog and I feel a bit bad for ppteni scaring you. I think what meant is that in childbirth things won’t always go according to plan. It doesn’t mean that what happens is bad it’s just unexpected and not alwyas controllable, but exactly what needed to happen – a perfect parallel to parenting.🙂 best of luck to you!

  4. Catherine says:

    …there needs to be reality written into pregnancy. Like the fact that when you get so big and your panties don’t fit anymore you need to wear your husband’s. Yes. I DID that. And on the NYC subway I PRAYED that I would not get into an accident because I wouldn’t want the medical peeps to see that I was wearing men’s underwear. They don’t tell you that you will get heartburn SOOOO bad that you will go into the bathroom, stick your finger down your throat and make yourself throw up WITHOUT having an eating disorder. ….oh the stories I could tell! Great read and you brought back many memories! Thank you:)

  5. Grandy says:

    Thanks for sharing. I had two straightforward vaginal deliveries with my second baby out with three pushes. That right there can clue you in to the state of my vagina today. My cousin had a traverse fetus in her womb, so much for a V birth right there. I guess prenatal classes like to err on the side of caution when it comes to information. Happy that all turned out well in the end.

    • Katia says:

      Thanks so much for your comment and the chuckle🙂 I completely understand where prenatal classes and the professionals who deliver them (see what I did there?) are coming from. Panic is not a state you would want to put a future parent in. I’m just wondering if there’s a middle ground.

  6. deejoda says:

    I laughed out loud in bits of this. Thank you for the candour. I am nearly 5 months along for my 1st so this rings true (except in the UK doulas are not so commonplace). Thankfully, I am also a paediatrician so know about many of the things you talk so eloquently on. Sorry to hear you had an abruption but happy to see you and baby made it through in 1 piece. Well done!

    • Katia says:

      Thank you so much for this comment, it made me so happy! I love the fact that a future mom read and enjoyed my post and I love the fact that I haven’t offended you professionally with my very subjective and non-scientific POV. Best of luck with your first baby. What an exciting time!

  7. Jane says:

    This is great to read, especially today (my due date!). Everything I read is all straightforward, uncomplicated scenarios, with tiny little add ons for the “complications” – I’m trying to go in with as open a mind as possible, so I don’t expect the perfect outcomes and roll with the punches as they hit!

  8. ercatalano10 says:

    Yes! I don’t like surprises. Most of the “complications” I experienced were only bad because I didn’t know about them.

    • Katia says:

      I think I was having an out of body experience during my first birth when I realized that what was happening was bad. I wasn’t judging or even thinking about prenatal at that point but later when I ran into so many others who attended the class with us at the hospital, and it seems like their experiences weren’t straightforward either I started wondering what exactly is the norm. Probably easily Googleable 6 years later but writing a humour post is just so much more fun🙂

  9. Amma says:

    I totally agree on your conspiracy theory. Funny thing is I wrote something similar not long ago, on all the non-sense they tell you like the beauty of pregnancy, the usefulness of prenatal classes and how they still tell you it’s better to give birth without the epidural!!!

  10. I love listening to first timers pregnant with baby #1 talk about their magical birth plans. I never have the heart to tell them the truth. They can find out it’s all one big shitstorm on their own!

  11. aubrecka says:

    Thanks so much for sharing Katia! My birth experience, leading up until today (7 months later) totally has me believing there’s a conspiracy going on. I’m now unfortunately THAT MOM who shares all of the nitty gritty details to all my pregnant friends, leading them to run for the hills. There’s a balance between not terrifying people and giving them some hard truths that I can’t seem to master just yet (as you aptly noted, there’s a bit of rage remaining haha). I totally think we should get moms together and publish a book (“Everything You’s Never In A Million Years Expect When Expecting”). Check out https://mommabelike.wordpress.com for material!

    • Katia says:

      That balance is so illusive, I completely agree with you. I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I’m not sure what the right forum or form is to tell those things to newly expectant moms without frightening them. On the other hand I imagine people do want to be informed. Maybe a book is an ideal form of delivering such information in a palatable way which allows freedom of choice as to whether you choose to consume it or not. (Sorry, I am writing this as my toddler is incessantly piling up small hats on my head – not conducive to eloquence or clarity…). I look forward to reading your post!

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Tired. Going from 10 months of staying at home with the kids to full time work is disorienting.  I have to redefine what my involvement in their lives looks like. I have to go dig for my creativity, it's not readily available. I have to make room for friendships that were already pushed to the outskirts of my mommy life. What was previously inaccessible, existing in the "so near yet so far" category - books, blazers and heels - became a staple in this old new reality in a matter of days. Tired and disoriented but also content, supported and appreciative. #momsofinstagram #random #randomthoughts #changes #workingmom #tired #tgif
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