Stop Telling Me Life My Life Will Suck When My Babies Are Born

by Kristen King

Please know that I am very serious when I say this: The next person who tells me “Pregnancy is the easy part!” is getting punched in the nose. I can’t even say, “I’m sure you mean well,” because really, what is well-meaning about telling someone that their recently sucky life is going to suck even more once their long-awaited babies arrive?

Maybe pregnancy is the easy part when you don’t have hyperemesis, high blood pressure, excruciating acid reflux, and three or more 2+-hour doctors’ appointments more than 30 minutes from your home every week. Maybe pregnancy is the easy part when you’re not having twins and haven’t been on bedrest for months. Maybe pregnancy is the easy part when your pregnancy isn’t the absolute worst you have ever felt in your entire life. Maybe pregnancy is the easy part when you have an easy pregnancy. But if this is “the easy part,” someone please shoot me.

If you’re making that face, that condescending, you-don’t-know-what-you’re-talking-about-because-you’re-a-first-time-mom-and-are-therefore-a-moron face, stop it right now. That is also grounds for getting popped in the nose. I have a flipping master’s degree; I think I’m capable of understanding that life with newborn twins — twinfants, if you will —  is not going to be a walk in the park. There will be lots of screaming and poop and laundry, and not a whole lot of sleeping. I’ll be sore for weeks. My boobs will hurt. I probably won’t shower much. Leaving the house will be a giant production that requires me to juggle multiple carseats, diaper bags, strollers, and other paraphernalia, not to mention two at-times-inconsolable infants. I get it.

But here’s the thing: I know how to deal with babies. I was a nanny for years, and until I became too sick to function I was still doing weekends and overnights with the small children of friends and family. I can change one kid’s diaper in my sleep while bottlefeeding another kid. I can juggle an infant and a toddler while making dinner from scratch. I can open the milk one-handed while bouncing a screaming child. I can bathe three children at one time. I can successfully shop for groceries with multiple toddlers in tow. I know how to do this stuff.

The mechanics of parenting are a piece of cake compared with months of debilitating illness, IVs, PICC lines, and the inability to leave the house or, for that matter, the couch. That whole mess I have yet to adjust to, and the only thing that has gotten me through these miserable 8 months has been the knowledge that when my babies arrive, I will be in familiar territory and it won’t be as hard as surviving the pregnancy. It will be a different kind of hard, but a hard I know. A hard I can handle. A hard I’m prepared for. A hard I yearn for. It can’t come soon enough. That kind of hard is what I have been waiting for my whole life.

Yet throughout this pregnancy, this miserable, seemingly endless pregnancy, other parents have seemed determined to convince me that my life is over once the kids come on the scene, and that the last 8 torturous months have been a prelude to something worse. “Give up on the idea of ever leaving the house,” they tell me. “Sleep now, because you’ll never sleep again,” they warn. “Forget time alone with [Daddy in Training] for the next 18 years,” they say. I’ve learned to smile and keep my mouth shut, but what I really want to say is, “Just because you’ve chosen not to make any of those things a priority in your life and therefore resent your children doesn’t mean I have to do it that way.” I know plenty of well-rested, socially (and sexually!) active parents who have successfully incorporated children into their lives, and I fully intend to become one of them.

If people listened to the crap so many parents spout about how miserable parenthood is, no one would ever have children. My telling you I’m excited and your responding by telling me I’m delusional is not commiseration or good humor or anything remotely well-meaning. It’s depressing and demoralizing and makes me not want to be friends with you. So if you don’t have anything positive or supportive to say, I’d prefer you just keep your mouth shut. Instead of trying to kill my excitement and delight, why not focus on ways to make your life with kids happier so you can, I don’t know, enjoy being a parent? Because last time I checked, you were once excited about this, too.

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Kristen King (aka, Mommy-in-Training) is a red-headed, glasses-wearing, wine-drinking, perpetually undercaffeinated twin mom who lives at 10,200 feet in Leadville Colorado, and founder of AmateurParenting.com. She and her husband, Jesse (aka, Daddy-in-Training) have fraternal boys born in December 2011, two dogs, and two cats. They are both endurance athletes. She works full-time from home in virtual training, and he drives the local school bus. Learn more and meet the rest of the AmateurParenting.com team on our About page.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jessica December 14, 2011 at 6:34 pm

HERE HERE!!! Punch away, I think they deserve it. I doesn’t make sense to me when people say that parenting is quite possibly the worst thing ever… That’s encouraging (insert sarcasm here). Sure, it won’t be easy, but it’s like you said, it’s the kind of hard we know, and are prepared for. I’ve read about all the trouble you’ve had during your pregnancy, and there is NO WAY I would tell you that after you have the babies things would get HARDER. I can’t imagine anything would be harder than what you’ve already been through.

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2 Mommy in Training December 15, 2011 at 2:32 am

Thanks, Jessica! That’s kind of what I thought, too!

It’s tempting to remind the complainers that this is what they signed up for, but I’m sure it would be a waste of time.

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3 SheriV December 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Kristen, I totally get it. You sound way more prepared then I am. I’m finding that I want to punch people who act like just because I left my son in the NICU I should be living it up my last two weeks or more or no child at home. I don’t understand that attitude just like I don’t understand the attitude of telling people they should enjoy pregnancy because it will be worse when baby is home. I may not have a baby at home but I’m still living the schedule and lack of sleep of a new mom. I hope you prove them wrong and show them how wonderful having two beautiful babies at home is. I know I’m counting down until I get to have my son home. :)

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4 Mommy in Training December 15, 2011 at 2:34 am

I cannot imagine telling a parent of a NICU baby that they’ve gotten a Get Out of Jail Free Card. What is wrong with people? You’re doing exactly what you should be for your little guy: Spending every moment you can with him. I am so eager for you to have him home!

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5 Leann December 15, 2011 at 12:25 am

Maybe if people actually starting appreciating what a privilege it is to raise children, we wouldn’t have so many jacked up young adults in this world! I personally love being a Mom, it is the hardest job I have every done (although I much prefer it to pregnancy as well!), but it is also THE most rewarding job ever. We are raising the next generations of adults…its a serious job and more people should take it seriously!
Props for the great job writing this! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!

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6 Mommy in Training December 15, 2011 at 2:35 am

Leann, that is an excellent point. Parenting really is a privilege; just ask the people who try unsuccessfully for years to conceive and deliver children. I’m glad to hear how much you love being a mom!

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7 Kailee January 9, 2012 at 2:43 pm

This artcile keeps it real, no doubt.

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8 Monica December 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm

On that last bit (“I know plenty of well-rested, socially (and sexually!) active parents who have successfully incorporated children into their lives”), any words of advice for those of us who are too dumb to figure it out? We’ve recently sleep-trained our 13-month old out of night-time feedings, which were getting too disruptive, and now he’s getting up at 4 or 5am every morning. Yippee. Meanwhile, work is kicking my butt, and I haven’t had time alone with my husband in ages. We’re both usually using the other as a babysitter while we take naps. The little one’s starting to throw tantrums and I’m at the end of my rope some days. This whole balance thing – especially the whole social life and having sex part – just isn’t happening for me, no matter how hard I try.

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9 Mommy-in-Training December 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Tell me about your routine and how your days go. Have you checked out any of my posts about sleep and daily schedule? Let’s figure out your pain points so we can come up with a strategy to address them.

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