Thoughts From a New Mom: Don’t Ruin This For Me


Readers, I'm delighted to introduce our newest contributor, Lane!  Lane (aka LCB) is not only wickedly funny, but…in her own words…

"I am currently…an intentionally unemployed social worker who is growing a human, following my husband's dream, trying to stay relevant, and practicing my mothering skills on two rescued dogs, Enid and Falcor."

If you, like me, can't get enough of Lane, check out her blog, the Overseas Trapeze.




As soon as you announce your pregnancy to your loved ones and the world, hot of on the heels of joyful congratulations comes unsolicited advice. Enough of my friends are now mothers that this onslaught of information was not completely unexpected. I realize that within people's love for us and excitement for the changes coming in our lives comes their natural urge to help in some way. And sharing stories, tips, warnings and encouragement is one way of providing that help before the baby arrives, when there isn't much tangible to do. I am a firm believer in the wisdom than can come with experience, so I have taken many of these offerings to heart. I'm no fool.

However, in between the sage words and the enlightened encouragement, it is impossible to miss the stories, tips and warnings that have a bit of a cynical edge, a negative tone. Perhaps it is when someone asks whether you hope to breastfeed/cloth diaper/co-sleep/stand on your head during labor, and upon hearing your answer gives you the 'Tisk, tisk, we'll see about that! I said I would do (insert activity), too, but it isn't realistic. Let me tell you how to do it right from the start.' Or perhaps the person in question doesn't even bother to make up a question so they have a pretext from which to launch their rant, they just cut to the chase (I actually appreciate this, if only for time-saving reasons). 'Don't even think about natural labor/epidural/c-sections! You are a fool if you do!' or maybe 'Don't expect to sleep with your husband for a month/six months/a year/until 2034! Your baby will be in your bed until it's good and ready, and it's cruel to consider otherwise!'

Even all this Schadenfreude is well-intentioned sharing, I'm sure. And the vast majority of all the parenting advice is actually really useful, very friendly, not presumptuous, and thoughtful. I find myself googling phrases or writing down brand names after many great conversations.  But the above mentioned negativity leaves a bad taste in my mouth, the feeling that since the advisor has already gone through what I am experiencing they know better, know all, know I am just naive and deluded, know where I am going to make my mistakes. I want help, I don't know much about what I am going through, and I am glad I have an outlet for those fears. But please…don't ruin this for me.

Imagine if, when proclaiming your acceptance into the esteemed institution of higher learning that you chose to get you out of your one horse town, someone told you that university was not an oasis of interesting friends, freedom from parents, hilarious dorm antics and engaging intellectual pursuits but instead would include bouts of homesickness, some Ramen noodle induced weight gain, lackluster professors and a roommate with a Hello Kitty bedspread. You would have been seriously bummed out. It would, of course, all have been true, but what good is the experience if you can't discover it yourself? Imagine, upon announcing your engagement, all your married friends letting you know that your time on cloud nine is limited, because wedding bliss actually leads to fights over drawers left open and arguments about paying bills on time and pee on the toilet seat. Advise newlyweds about honeymoon destinations or life insurance agents or the virtues of a California King over a Queen sized bed, but let them fumble and fight and figure it out. Life is better that way, people learn that way, relationships grow stronger that way.

I feel similarly about pregnancy and the resulting journey into motherhood. I reserve the right to have preconceived notions about how I want to approach everything from my pregnancy diet to pain management during labor to circumcision to sleep schedules to potty training. And then I also reserve the right to change my mind if the situation presents differently than I had imagined. I reserve the right to be realistic but optimistic about every single aspect of the changes coming in my life, and then to be let down later on my own timing, of my own accord. I reserve the right to answer 'I don't know yet' to any question, at any time, and have that be the end of the discussion.

That being said…maternity jeans: medium or full panel? Breast pads: washable or disposable?



  1. Great post! And since you asked
    I did disposable with baby #1 and washable with #2 – I liked the washable b/c I was saving money and the plant. 🙂 but disposable are nice for traveling. My advice on breast pads is to be aware of them and what you are wearing because dispite the thinness of them you CAN see them through certain shirts so check yourself out before leaving the house. The jeans – well I turned out to be more of a full panel gal – I was pregnant in the winter both times and didn’t like the draft up my shirt or the plumbers crack of the low waist – but mid or full would be fine – I just felt more pulled together with the full panel – especially in the last couple months.

  2. As of last week, it was good bye to the bella band (standing in my old pants – not a big deal, sitting was another story) and officially made the switch. I have a pair of of both medium panel and the full panel and as with most things…the less attractive the more comfortable!

  3. The worst are the horror stories people find it necessary to tell a pregnant person. It seems that as soon as they hear you are expecting, you get bombarded with stories of horrible labors, premature deliveries, baby deaths, post-partum depression, and the end of your body as you know it!
    I prefer washable breast pads, but I’m a light leaker. I think the disposable ones are more absorbent and more easy to conceal.

  4. disposable & full panel (so much more comfortable! i fought them as long as i could but they won out in the end!

  5. I prefer washable.
    Also, I am so lazy that with my 2nd child I sometimes preferred: leaking all over my shirt overnight, rather than wearing a bra at ALL times. But I think I’m really in the minority on that one.
    No thoughts on the jeans. Somehow I made it through 2 pregs w/out buying any. Again, I’m in the minority on that I guess. Both were summer babies, though, so maybe that’s why the jeans sounded awful to me.

  6. Disposable pads (and a ziploc with a few extras in the pump bag, the gym bag, and my main handbag, just in case). Low-panel jeans until the third tri, then full panel or just yoga pants w/the foldover type top — do try the jeans on in the store (I LOVE GAP MATERNITY!!!) to see what feels most comfy for you. Also: Glamourmom nursing tanks. LIVED in those for months (truly one-handed operation for boob access; enough support for most activities except, like, running; and long enough not to ride up and expose the panel jeans you might still be wearing).
    But let me add: I totally agree about not “ruining it” for people. This is a wonderful and amazing experience, and most moms today are well aware of the potential aches, pains, and pitfalls — we all have Google, doncha know. No horror stories — just happiness, support, and recommendations/testimonials for stuff that worked FOR YOU, which the listener can use, adapt, or disregard as she sees fit.
    Congratulations — it really is the best thing that ever happened to me, even if I *would* sell my last pair of underpants and my five favorite CDs just to sleep past 6:15 a.m. ever again. heh.

  7. such a great post. Love the open mindedness and fresh voice! As someone who is also pregnant for the first time I couldnt agree more with everything you said!

  8. Full panel jeans. Sooooo comfy.
    I say screw breast pads if you can get away with it. Disposable ones itch and washable ones leave a funky bump on your boobs you can see through your shirt. I’m in month 6 of breastfeeding and I haven’t used them since month 1. Of course, I’m lucky not to have too many leaking issues.

  9. Disposable and full panel. I also stopped leaking and stopped using breast pads after the first month. I (and many friends) also found that every pair of maternity jeans drooped and sagged in the waist and butt after an hour of wear. They need to make them with belt loops! I gave up after the 4th or 5th month and just wore dresses.
    I see your point about not ruining it for a new mom-to-be, but I wish someone had warned me about how hard new motherhood would be. (My baby had colic.) I think I would have been more prepared if all the advice I received hadn’t been so unrealistically rosey. The parenting blogs certainly give you a real-world perspective, but I wasn’t reading them while pregnant.

  10. a life less ordinary…. i say abide by what you envision…. what use is it if every life is a copy of the next… be fanciful, original, less-than-practical, …forget the nay-sayers….prepared, safe, and on a tight-schedule they may have been, but possibly lacking in magic and charm

  11. Gap Maternity jeans, whichever panel is most comfy!
    I find it rude when people even ask if you are going to breastfeed/ferberize/co-sleep/have baby #2/whatever…
    This is one true place for don’t ask/don’t tell

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