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It is surely a sign of enlightened parenting times that before I was even pregnant I had heard of things like nipple confusion, perineal massage, and postpartum depression. Not that I thought any of these things would apply to me. It’s almost as if knowing about something doesn’t actually help to prepare you for the thing itself; it only plants a seed, hopefully, so that with any luck should you be having a strange feeling at some point, your brain will remember: “We’ve heard of this. It has a name. Let’s find out more.”
I thought of this when I went to my local new-moms group – once, and only once. My daughter was born at the end of the month, so most of these “March moms” had already gotten together a few times. There was a lot of talk about awfulness – the trauma of birth plans gone awry, the surprising difficulties of sleep-deprived life with newborns, troubles with breastfeeding, tensions at home. “Thank goodness we have each other,” one of the mothers said. “Thank goodness we can talk about these feelings.”
I nodded my head, because yes, it was refreshing to know I wasn’t the only one who was already tired of changing diapers – and to hear it from the same women who cheerily updated their Facebook pages with unironically How Does She Do It? themed posts. The only problem was, I wasn’t having anything like postpartum depression. I was actually having a terrific time, a fact I felt like I should hide from the more freaked-out mothers I encountered.
I knew, I know, that this was all dumb luck: my pregnancy was pleasant, birth was beautiful, breastfeeding had come easy, and my baby was an adorable love-grub content to ride around in the carrier for hours while I strolled around with iced beverages chatting with my other new mom friends. If anything I felt a kind of wild high, likely the result of nursing hormones and finally going back to caffeinated coffee.