How to take advice—or not.
Here you are reading an advice blog about how to have a baby and the best piece of advice I can give you is to disregard every bit of advice you get. That's because anything I tell you today, someone else will contradict in her blog, and stuff someone else writes in her book will be the polar opposite of stuff I recommend in mine. Case in point, read this blog that appeared in The Huffington Post about how to sleep train your baby. Every single word of it is the truth. I laughed out loud.
Often times when I provide a specific point of view in a blog, someone will comment with a conflicting point of view. I'm grateful for those comments because that's how we keep important conversations going on topics that pertain to our health and experiences as mothers. Sometimes, those comments get heated because so many mothers feel so passionately about their decisions. I suspect they also feel a little insecure about them, which is why they defend them tooth and nail when they comment.
-If I post about why natural childbirth is a good idea, some mothers will say it's barbaric and the only way to go is with an epidural.
-If I post that epidurals can sometimes help labor progress, someone else will say it caused hers to stall and she had to have a C-section.
-If I say breast is best, someone will say bottle is better.
-If I say immediate post-birth skin-to-skin bonding is great, someone will say not to worry about it because you can bond whenever you want.
-The point is, all of those points of view are accurate, depending on the individual mother. There are almost no absolutes when it comes to parenting because no two sets of parents and babies are alike.
Are there any elements of pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood that are absolute every time? Probably not, but these five are pretty universal:
1. Nobody can tell you exactly what pregnancy or labor feels like.
They'll try and they'll use many graphic and vague, sharp and fuzzy, soft and hard, stark and sweet words to describe it and still, they'll miss it by a mile.
2. Your pregnancy will be similar to most women's and entirely different from anyone else's.
That's because your body and your baby are unique. Sure, millions of women are suffering with morning sickness right along with you, but they're not puking in your bathroom. Sure, thousands are in labor at the same time as you, but they're not having your baby. Absolutely, countless parents were up all night last night with their sleepless infants, but none of them were rocking your newborn.
3. You will love your baby more than you think.
That's a fact, plain and simple.
4. Labor will be a really big challenge.
Really big. Bigger than you think. Get ready.
5. Knowledge is power.
Read the pregnancy and parenting books, blogs and magazine articles. Talk to your friends, mother, sisters and the lady at the corner store. Listen to what they have to say and think about it. Then, do what feels right to you. Use your instincts. Follow your gut. Do what works for you and your family because when it comes right down to it, you're the only mother your baby needs and there's never been a baby like yours before.
Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and five children. Got a question for Jeanne? E-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.