True Parent 9
The BEST part about being pregnant—and subsequently having a baby, because that’s how pregnancy usually works—is the unsolicited advice! (Note sarcasm.) Parents may “mean well,” but they also sometimes offer stupid, unhelpful advice, like some kind of fraternity hazing thing. What follows is some actual good advice to counteract all the crap platitudes from baby fraternity types. Hooray!
Stupid Advice: “Sleep while you can!”
If one more person said this to me on social media, I was going to murd—I mean, unfriend everyone. It’s maddening to hear this advice when you’re pregnant and sleepless, because every position is like lying on knives. Besides, how can you sleep when your brain is convinced you’re going to give birth to an alien because you ate at Subway?
Good advice: “NEVER EVER GO ON BABYCENTER DOT COM.”
BabyCenter is a baby advice website with a community thread for every crazy thought running through your mind (kind of like a religious Reddit for pregnant women).
I don’t care that you forgot bitters is made of alcohol, and you had three soda and bitters while out with friends, and now you’re sure you’ve given your baby Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. (This may or may not be a personal anecdote.) You will not find anything helpful there. It’s where sad, weirdly hostile pregnant women go to tell horror stories. In fact, don’t Google anything. Ever. That’s what the nurse advice line is for. They’ll talk you through any worry, even if they can barely understand you through your sobbing and cry hiccups. And don’t be afraid to call them at three in the morning. That’s why they’re at work.
Stupid Advice: “Sleep when the baby sleeps or you will never get to again.”
Yes, absolutely. I will do that. Unrelated: I’m typing this under a giant pile of laundry and dishes. Could someone call 911? I haven’t been able to find my phone for five months.
Good advice: “You will sleep. Eventually. I promise.”
It will happen and sometimes it will be the sweetest thing, because you’ve got a tiny human snuggled up with you. And sometimes it will be the worst because you know at any moment it could end—because sobbing baby. But you will sleep. Evil parents like to exaggerate experiences like it’s some badge of honor. So ignore their YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO SLEEP AGAIN nonsense—it’s not true. And it’s a dick move.
Stupid Advice: “Screen time is bad.”
Good Advice: “Screen time is AWESOME.”
Okay, so don’t let the kid watch TV or the iPad all day. But during those first few months (or years) when you just really need to lie down, turn the damn thing on. And it doesn’t have to be cartoons! My kid looooves Mad Men, Outlander, The Real Housewives (of New York especially) and Game of Thrones. Don’t worry, I read to him, too—mostly from Sylvia Plath’s journals. JOKES. I read Peter Rabbit and crap. Duh.
Stupid Advice: “You’re not going to drop your baby.”
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Whew. Yeah, okay. Sure. YOU LIVE IN A FANTASY WORLD.
Good Advice: “You’re totally going to drop your baby.”
Probably not while standing up, but in other weird cases. Babies will roll off anything and everything, and eventually begin crawling out of their cribs to dive head first onto the floor. Babies have a death wish. Mine once scooted his walker up to the coffee table, stared at it for a second, and began banging his head on it. WHY? WHY BABY? I went through the checklist and as usual, he’s fine. Babies are like Wolverine. They heal SO QUICKLY. Call the pediatrician if you’re concerned, but it’s going to happen and it’s going to be fine. You’ll cry, your baby will cry, and then you’ll still be crying while your baby tries to eat your phone and giggle.
Kiala Kazebee is a writer living in Portland. She named her baby after Commander Shepard from the Mass Effect video games. You can find her on twitter.com/kiala.