The Best Pregnancy Advice I Never Got

pregnancy adviceIf you are pregnant with your first child or trying to get pregnant with your first child – I have a little gift for you.  Think of it as the best baby gift you will ever receive, disguised as a 1000-word advice manifesto. Read it carefully and commit it to memory – you’ll thank me later. There is one theme, and one theme only – selfishness.

Practice it. Master it. Revel in it. Yes, I said SELFISHness, not SELFLESSness. That will come later – on a repeat loop for the rest of your life. Right now, it’s all about you.

Repeat after me: Me, me, me, me, me, mine, me. Yup – that’s a good start.

Do you have any idea the selflessness it takes to put another little person’s needs before your own – 24 hours a day, every day? Theoretically you do – you have probably been fantasizing about motherhood and all of the ways it will change your life. Don’t get me wrong, I am not here to turn you off of the idea. Motherhood is the most amazing gift I have ever been given. But that unique brand of selflessness that is expected of a mother takes training. It takes planning. The only way that you can plan for that level of giving is by overdosing on selfish. Yes, I said it. I wish someone would have told me that. I would have spent my first pregnancy entirely differently.

My first pregnancy wasn’t a bad one. I felt great, I wasn’t too uncomfortable, and I was able to work through almost the entire thing. I kept the house clean.  I cooked constantly. I obsessively charted my registry. I read breastfeeding books, baby-food making books, natural birth books, and nursery feng-shui books. I studied for motherhood the way you cram for a final exam. I moved through the pregnancy as if I wasn’t pregnant at all – refusing help from friends and so proud of the way I had mastered the whole gestation thing.

Jesus, was I an idiot. What I didn’t realize, what nobody really told me – was that the nine-month period was the last time in my life I would be totally independent and able to think of myself. Myself, first. Me. My needs. Motherhood is wonderful. But ladies, if you are pregnant right now – instead of cramming for motherhood the way I did – be selfish, and lazy, and have some fun.  I didn’t implement anything I learned in those books. My time would’ve been much better spent doing other things.

Remember the mantra? Me, me, me, me, me, mine, me. Repeat it now. Repeat it upon waking, and several times a day.

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    • msenesac

      Ha! I COMPLETELY agree with you! My son just turned 10 months old and I would have LOVED someone telling me to enjoy doing whatever I wanted whenever I wanted like naps, carrying a tiny purse (or no purse at all) when going out, watching whatever you want on tv, etc. And now those days are long gone. We will probably get pregnant with baby 2 sometime early next year and I’m dreading having to deal with pregnancy while having a toddler.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ashley.m.brubaker Ashley M Brubaker

        Why not wait then?

      • msenesac

        I would but I just want to get the pregnancy part of it over with and my husband and I are getting up there in age and need to move it along.

    • embarrassed

      So true! Especially about the movies and dinner :)
      I wish there was a NSFW warning on the links at the end though!

      • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Guerrilla Mom

        Sorry!

    • notyourbusiness

      Yet ANOTHER article detailing how much my life will be over and just barely worth living after I give birth. How original! And helpful for that matter! Good to know I have absolutely nothing to look forward to. Except of course for that tiny baby that MAKES IT ALL WORTH IT. I’m sure I’ll never sleep again or have a hot meal. Seriously, f you.

      • Justme

        I had the same reaction you did. Can we pleas stop perpetuating the myth that life is OVER after a child is born? Yes, you will be able to go to the movies again or get your toenails painted. But it’s work. You have to work to find that balance and work with your partner to reach an endless amount of compromises. But it can be done.

        When people publish articles like this it makes me feel a little guilty because I have a child……and I still get to do all those things. Does that make me a “bad” mother?

      • CKM

        I HATE Debbie Downer stuff like this, and it’s so prevalent that I’m surprised it’s presented here as “advice no one gives you.” Every single time I see a happy pregnancy announcement on Facebook, there will be at least one mom chiming in, amid all the warm congratulations, with some variation on “Enjoy your sleep now! Enjoy adult conversation now! Enjoy even the slightest degree of personal agency now!” It’s such a selfish buzzkill.

      • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Guerrilla Mom

        I didn’t tell you your life was over, I told you to take a nap.

      • Justme

        The second half of the second page sure did sound like it.

      • notyourbusiness

        You said to do a lot of things that I’ll supposedly never be able to do again soon. I am trying to enjoy this pregnancy (yes, my first), but so much of what I read are super depressing, smug warnings about how the world starts revolving around the kid and stops having anything to do with me or my husband at all, ever. Look, we’re not naive morons. We put a lot of thought into having this baby, we waited until we were comfortable enough to do it, and we understand that there are many, many sacrifices. But I am pretty sure we’ll have sex again and go out to dinner and a movie from time to time.

        Sorry if I was super bitchy with my first comment (hormones?), I just keep hearing so much of this sort of thing, and along with the unsolicited parenting advice, it’s enough to make me want to lock myself away for the remainder of my pregnancy. I get this article was supposed to be funny, but I hope, if only for your sake, that it was also an exaggeration.

      • Justme

        Check out the STFU column where she talks about “things you can’t do once you’re a Mommy” because one of the first (and best!) comments mentions how these women who complain about never getting to do anything must A) have really unhelpful and crappy husbands or B) be totally unorganized and unwilling to work to find a compromise or solution to their issue. If you want to retain some of your former life (because, yes…life with be ALTERED, but not over) then you just have to commit to it and work a little harder to really keep the balance of marriage-family-self. But it can be done.

      • http://fairlyodd.net Frances Bean

        Lol, you sound like a peach! A peach with absolutely no reading comprehension skills. I’m sure you will reply with an epic novel about how you don’t care what I think etc etc but I won’t read it, I have a life. Loser.

      • ligermom

        So much of a life that you have posted 1603 comments on this site alone. Right.

        Super constructive comment, btw.

    • Kelsey

      @c87c6d73fdf4eeda9b757516e395491b:disqus Your life won’t be over, matter of fact it will be more full and amazing and magical having a child than you can imagine. It will also no longer be about you. Like ever, and in someways that’s okay, but is a hard adjustment. I think what the author may be trying to say is don’t be a martyr, yes prepare for mother hood, yes exercise and eat a ton of greens but seriously this is the time to do non baby stuff like movies and dinner at the last minute, get it in now because while it will be a great change transition is always hard!

    • Elizamina

      Well, shit, I must be doing it wrong then. Because after we got over the sleepless hell that is the newborn phase, it turns out that I still have hot meals, take daily showers, go on monthly dates with my husband, and take the time for myself to have a social life. Yes, it takes a little more planning and forethought, but so does every major life change. I went into this determined that a baby wasn’t going to RUIN MY LIFE FOREVER. If I truly thought that, then why the hell would I have wanted a baby?

      I find articles like this both tiresomely dull and dangerous, because they perpetuate this god awful myth that mother=martyr and that if a woman doesn’t turn 100% of her life over to her child, then she’s a horrible, selfish woman who should never have had a baby. I call total bullshit.

      • Venessa

        ” if a woman doesn’t turn 100% of her life over to her child, then she’s a horrible, selfish woman who should never have had a baby.” –This!!
        I feel guilty on a daily basis just for being happy with my work life and hobbies that don’t involve my kid because of articles like this. I keep hearing from other mothers how they barely have time for themselves and I think..I must be doing something wrong! My kid is ruined for life!

      • http://fairlyodd.net Frances Bean

        Get over yourself you asshat. She isn’t saying life will be ruined, she’s saying life will be different. And speaking from experience Maria is a wonderful person and mother. If you get this upset about things in real life then it’s YOUR kids I feel sorry for.

      • elizamina

        Sorry, I didn’t bother reading past your ridiculous usage of “asshat.” But I’m sure it was incredibly stimulating and relevant in a way that doesn’t made you sound insipidly vapid.

    • http://twitter.com/ashleyaustrew Ashley Austrew

      Ladies. Ladies. Calm down. She didn’t say you’d never be able to do things ever again. She said it will be different, and the degree to which you can be selfish won’t be the same, which is completely true. Stop looking for reasons to be upset.

    • Jennifer

      So so so true. I wish I had been selfish. Heck, even when I was put on bedrest and told to only get up to shower and potty, I still did laundry and cooked (quick meals) like I shouldn’t have been doing. And now my husband’s deployed and I have no family near and a 19 month old to take care of myself. I got the stomach flu after my son and I was crawling on the ground in pain and still had to take care of my son. I miss being able to run into the gas station to buy milk or ice cream (after filling the car up) without it being a fiasco of getting the kid out and putting him in. Being able to enjoy a day by myself. Or sleeping (he’s been waking up around 4am every night lately), and sleeping in past 7am. But in the end I wouldn’t give it up for the world. He’s my little buddy, he goes everywhere with me, and when he doesn’t I miss him terribly. If this offends you and you don’t have a baby yet, you’ll get it once your little one comes. You love them and you wouldn’t trade it for the world, but you miss those little things that you used to be able to just climb in the car and do.

    • Seriously.

      No one is saying don’t look forward to motherhood. No one is saying life is over. Just live in the present and enjoy life now, rather than “cramming for motherhood.” (You will figure it all out when your little bundle arrives.)

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