Pregnancy

Anonymous Mom: I Can’t Believe How Much Was Left Out Of My Birth Class

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welcome to parenthood signAnonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

After all the breath work and birth balls, practicing kegels and eating kale, you’ve watched the movies, read the books and taken the classes and are now prepared to give birth. Baby comes out. Mission accomplished. You congratulate yourself and as you pat yourself on the back for a job well done, you gasp in horror because in that instant you realize: what the hell happens now? Birth class prepares you for the main event, but no one prepares you for the instant after.

You used all your might to squeeze the little critter out of you, perhaps tearing your perineum along the way. You think the pain is over but, alas, it has only just begun. At least during the birth you had a hormone cocktail to numb the, um, “sensation,” but now you feel every piercing stitch as a sharp needle is inserted into your beautiful O’Keefian orchid. Why don’t they warn you in birth class that after the petals are sewn together they resemble ground up hamburger meat that hangs down to your knees?

Speaking of hamburgers, up above someone is looking for food. If you had brought Mozart to listen to during the birth, now is the time to turn on the Jaws soundtrack as your little love monkey searches for a place try out her new found chops. What was once a sacred land of titillation (pun intended) has now become a dairy farm with chomping crocodiles.

Meanwhile your head is swimming because you haven’t slept in 24+ hours and your partner pulls out the tripod to set up the camera and you wonder out loud if you shouldn’t have gotten your hair done, since this first photo of you and your baby will live on in perpetuity. You currently resemble a wet otter who surfaced on a dirty shore with Brillo pads on her head. Certainly in the birth class they could have taken a moment to tell you to pack a hairbrush or a lipstick. Even though your partner tells you you look beautiful, you snap viciously at the person you once vowed to love in sickness and in health but don’t remember any vows about being nice with needles in your delicate flower and a piranha on your breast.

Just then the hospital orderly brings you a plate of scrambled eggs to which you normally would turn up your nose, insisting on organic-free-range blah blah blah. But at this moment you gladly lap them up because you realize you are famished. Guess they just forgot to tell you this part in the birth class.

They didn’t tell you that you can’t leave the delivery room until you urinate and if you can’t urinate on command you get a catheter inserted in you that feels about as comfortable as sitting on top of a pineapple. When you finally do urinate on your own it feels about as good as pouring salt, or urine, into an open wound—which is exactly what you are doing. No, they left that part out of the birth class.

Even though women have been breastfeeding since the beginning of time, unless you grew up in a tribe where the elders pass down the tricks of the breastfeeding trade, this instinctual art is its not as easy as it looks. The instant your baby comes out, feeding him or her is your most important job. Do yourself a favor and have a lactation consultant lined up to help you so you don’t end up crying over spilled milk.

They might forget to tell you when you go home that you need to feed your baby on demand—which usually means every two hours, 24 hours a day. The clock starts from the beginning of a feed and if your little one averages 20 minutes a boob with a burp and change in between, that means you get one hour between feeds to do something for yourself which can include one of these five things:

raw hamburger meat

1. Going to the bathroom. May sound simple, but urinating on hamburger meat hurts. To mitigate this feeling and to help you feel better quicker, a warm sitz bath is recommend. This is basically a shallow bath with a few inches of water that you sit in while the rest of you shivers out of the water. It’s not perfect, but you take what you can get. Just when you start to close your eyes and relax, your partner charges in with the screaming baby and insists she’s hungry. “But I just fed her,” you squeak. Overnight your partner has become a newborn expert, and he/she knows for certain the baby is hungry because she is crying (he or she reasons that she has been changed and burped and therefore there could be no other possible explanation), and your udders are once again in demand.

(photo: cobalt123)

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59 Comments

  1. Tea

    May 30, 2013 at 11:24 am

    This was hilarious, and this AM needs a writing job.

  2. LadyClodia

    May 30, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Very funny and true! You left out the part when you’re taking a shower and your partner brings in the baby (or maybe you only think about the baby while showering) and milk starts to pour out of you. I hated showering for the first two months postpartum because I would get sticky again before I could even dry off.

    • emaybe

      May 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      And then don’t forget flinching at the shower stream as it beat down on cracked and sore nipples!

    • Sarah

      May 31, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      This is why I took a daily bath for the first month! I tried showering a few times and the streaming water was too much for my sore nipples!

  3. Abby

    May 30, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Excellent! And so true! After my second one, I remember lying down on the floor for a minute while she was taking a nap, and next thing I know I wake up covered in drool, with four strangers sitting on the couches around me, talking quietly so I wouldn’t wake up. What a way to wake up! No one tells you the things you NEED to know.

  4. CK

    May 30, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    I vividly remember never wanting to kill my husband more than when I was waking up every 3 hours to feed our daughter, and he was snoring. He also has a hearing loss, so he never even heard my alarm go off (had to feed her on a schedule because she lost too much weight right after the hospital). He definitely deserved the (more than a few) midnight, and 3 AM kicks he got. 😉

    • JD

      May 30, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      One night with my second one I just snapped, woke my husband up, growled, “YOU are an ***hole!” And stormed out to feed the baby.

    • CrushLily

      May 31, 2013 at 2:02 am

      I like the bit when he wakes up and says ‘Wow, the baby didn’t even wake up last night!’ and you just look at him and try not to rip his head off.

    • BigBlue

      June 4, 2013 at 2:59 pm

      I had my share of those moments. It’s miraculous that I didn’t just smother him with the pillow…

    • footnotegirl

      May 31, 2013 at 11:36 am

      Soooo hugging my husband right now, who throughout the middle-of-the-night nursing months always, ALWAYS woke up, changed the baby, brought her to me to feed her, then put her back to bed. Every. Single. Time.

  5. AStewart

    May 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    This was excellent – truthful and funny. I’ve just sent to my friend (mother to a 2 week old baby) and hope she finds it funny too!

  6. Blueathena623

    May 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Never attended classes, but read a lot of books, and the breastfeeding thins is true. I read over and over that babies eat every 2-3 hours, but I never saw (or I guess didn’t figure it out) that it meant start to start, not finish to start, so if you have a slow eater, man you are screwed.
    In all seriousness though, I had several friends attend classes and most said that nothing about csections was covered, so birth class would have been a waste of time for me anyways, with that unplanned csection and all!

    • LiteBrite

      May 30, 2013 at 8:47 pm

      I took the birthing class and no, nothing about c-sections was covered. Towards the end of the class I found out I’d be having a c-section which pretty much meant nothing would pertain to me. I finished the class but pretty much checked out mentally. Instead, DH and I sat in the back of the class like the “bad kids” back in high school.

    • footnotegirl

      May 30, 2013 at 10:11 pm

      Yes, or if you have any breast feeding issues, you are also screwed. My milk never really came in, and for the first couple of weeks the nurses insisted I perform this “very doable” pattern.
      1. nurse baby at least 15 minutes per breast, minimum (total time, 30 minutes, usually more) (after which baby would need burp and change, add 5-10 minutes depending on squirm factor)
      2. have hubby or someone else feed baby supplemental formula from a little cup while I pump for at least 15 minutes per breast. (30 minutes)
      3. Nurse baby for at least 10 more minutes per breast. (20 minutes)
      For a total of about 90 minutes.
      To be done EVERY TWO HOURS clock starts at step 1!
      Yeah, that gave me a half hour between feedings for everything, food, shower, sleep, bathroom. And the baby a half hour to sleep.
      Within 3 days, I was curled up in bed in the fetal position and could not stop crying.
      By the end of the week, another lactation consultant informed us to get a bottle now and screw the crazy schedule as it was making us all miserable.

    • Ann

      May 31, 2013 at 6:17 am

      I had the exact same experience! Some midwives who couldn’t touch common sense with a ten foot pole ordered me to follow that schedule. It left me with 30 minute blocks to see to essential bodily functions. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t last a week and the experience put me off breastfeeding. Someone should explain to these people that sleep deprivation is a torture technique. If they use it to break terrorists in Gitmo, it can’t be good for new moms.

    • footnotegirl

      May 31, 2013 at 11:34 am

      Luckily the same LC who told me to start with a bottle (after checking my daughters latch and finding it was ‘perfect’ and she would not forget how) also gave us a pendant feeder to allow supplementation AND breastfeeding at the same time and a new schedule (“if your daughter takes in 1 full oz or more at a feeding, you can wait to feed another hour”). So even with my minimal amount of breastmilk I was able to breast feed until my daughter self-weaned from the breast at 3 months. It’s the “all-or-nothing (and nothing means you have failed as a mother)” approach that I think kills so many women’s decision to breast feed. Instead of telling women that they must go to ANY LENGTHS to breastfeed exclusively for at least a full year, and that any formula is basically evil and wrong and child abuse, I think more success and more breastfeeding would happen if it was “do what you CAN without going crazy insane and we are here to give you all the support you need and no judgement.”

    • CK

      May 31, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      I was totally there with you, except I had a 3 hour routine. The level of exhaustion you feel with this schedule cannot be described in words.

    • BigBlue

      June 4, 2013 at 3:02 pm

      Unfortunately most classes are all about the birthing process. Unmedicated vaginal birth is the holy grail and is to be achieved at all costs. Even talking about potential complications or covering c-sections is not necessary, because if you need one you’ve already “failed” at your first parenting test. This way of thinking just doesn’t work in the real world and it’s no wonder many moms are surprised when they find out what having a baby is really like.

  7. Amanda

    May 30, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    This is all true except for the “few weeks” part at the end. I remember a lot if this lasting for months!

  8. Susan

    May 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I’m 21, soon to be married, and I am getting mildly terrified of having children because I keep seeing articles like these. All I can say is, thanks for the warning!

  9. Daisy

    May 30, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    My 19-year-old baby-crazy sister keeps saying how much she wants a baby. She’s never even had a boyfriend yet, so I think it will be a long time coming anyway, but I still think it couldn’t hurt to print this off and leave it someplace she’ll be sure to find and read it… 😛

  10. Emmali Lucia

    May 30, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Why did you never tell your partner to just F**k the h***l off? Seriously, I’m pretty sure unless there was something seriously wrong with your baby, it could wait a couple minutes for you to finish your bath or shower.

  11. NotTakenNotAvailable

    May 30, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    This made me laugh, wince, reach for my birth control, vow to also continue abstaining from the dating and sexing world just in case, and schedule a tubal ligation all at once.

  12. katherine

    May 30, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    The internet makes giving birth sound absolutely awful… yet women do it more than once! Maybe it’s just like other things where people only bother writing about it to vent or say how awful it was.

  13. thetruth

    May 30, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Moooooooo shut up you whiny cows.

  14. CrushLily

    May 31, 2013 at 2:05 am

    The eating everything in sight is so true. And apples and carrots and all those healthy things just don’t cut it. I guess that explains why my 2 year old loves cake so much.

    • CK

      May 31, 2013 at 10:39 pm

      I had Wendy’s at least twice a week while I was breastfeeding. That included a chocolate Frosty to dip the french fries into. My daughter really likes french fries, too. lol

  15. Ann

    May 31, 2013 at 4:16 am

    The F in formula stands for Freedom!

  16. lulusmom

    May 31, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Hamburger meat, gross! I commend you on your courage…..I didn’t look down there for about two months…..

  17. kitten

    May 31, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    I agree on the breastfeeding and sleeping and eating, but thank god i have not had any experience with the “hamburger meat”. i commend you. Also, i did bring hairbrushes and make up. lol

  18. Cindy Mayer

    June 1, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    1. homebirth, midwives do not cut or leave hamburger meat
    2. Bradley method of childbirth classes. Instructors do not lie by omission and you can avoid the horrors in this article and replace them with joy and control
    3. la Leche League meetings and womanly art of Breastfeeding book are better than the tribal passing down of nursing.
    4. Read Nocirc information. If your worried about your petals after sutures then don’t mutilate your baby boy. Keep him rightfully intact.
    All four teach you to use your instincts and eliminate the medical model of care that gives the US it’s unacceptably high infant and maternal mortality and Inhumane treatment to the survivers. Medical model is rarely necessary but appreciated when needed.

    • BigBlue

      June 4, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      I’m sorry, but what? What does circumsion have to do with this article at all?

  19. Julia

    June 2, 2013 at 3:38 am

    Why would you feel your stitches? I wouldn’t’ get stitches without getting numbed.

  20. Julia

    June 2, 2013 at 3:44 am

    Cute article but waaaay over dramatic. Stop scaring potential moms to be. Oh yeah, don’t forget no one can do anything to you in the hospital that you don’t want.

  21. SEVH

    June 2, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Real talk! Cracked me up.

  22. Fran

    June 2, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Seriously, schedules? This is between you and your baby. Sometimes THAT schedule is more tolerable. My second son slept through the night (7 hours) at birth. My first son only woke once during the night giving me time to sleep.

  23. Lorette Lavine

    June 5, 2013 at 8:40 am

    I am a grandmother now but this story of postpartum life really brings back memories. I sort of knew what to expect because I was a mother-baby nurse. I think that pregnancy hormones prevent you from considering how it will actually be after you get home with a newborn…it is a protective hormone so that we actually consider having more than one child. I had a c-section for my second child which was actually a much easier recovery.
    I particularly enjoyed your last words when you wake up and the six postpartum weeks are suddenly over and you and your baby are in sync with each other.

  24. Marie

    June 7, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Pregnant with my first. Things like these really hammer it home why I won’t be breastfeeding. Thank god I live in the Midwest, where I won’t be shamed for formula-feeding.

    • Mariah Grove

      June 12, 2013 at 8:06 am

      I live in the Midwest and I’m strongly against formula feeding. The Midwest isn’t full of only backwoods hicks, you know.

  25. A real mama

    June 11, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    This was the most pitiful, inaccurate depiction of motherhood I’ve ever read. Your corny, over the top comparisons and analogies were just lame and so off point. I don’t even feel bad that you apparently have Satan for a child that you can’t even find a moment to brush your teeth, cause you’re clearly a dumb devil woman yourself.

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