They say the comparison is the thief of joy, and no more accurate statement has ever been made than in the latter stages of pregnancy.
A few weeks ago, when I reached my third trimester, it began to dawn on me that I wasn’t going to sit around with that huge bump on my bum forever and that there would soon be a physical baby that I would be responsible for keeping alive . Apparently that is the end result of pregnancy. A human life. Who knew
When I realized that I had spent most of my pregnancy either moaning or napping and barely having time to really learn what to do as a mom, I started looking for help on the internet. And what I found was a stream of mom influencers and celebrity moms popping up on my Tik Tok and Instagram. All with good intentions, I’m sure, and everyone promises to provide helpful tips and tricks to make motherhood a little easier.
But they all also left me completely unprepared for my baby.
My first question was how many clothes does my baby need? How many rompers or baby are growing to get him through the day?
I was inundated with pictures of other women who were perfectly staged. Decorated months before the due date with a wardrobe full of perfect little outfits and a chest of drawers organized in small compartments.
They have already had around a million different ways to carry their little baby. More possible outfit changes than a Beyoncé tour. Endless onesies, socks, hats, coats, cardigans and sweaters. Outfits for the day, outfits for sleeping, outfits for more formal occasions. Even jeans. JEANS. For a baby. Imagine adding the discomfort of denim to an infant.
In comparison, my baby’s nursery pales in comparison. No crap, it fails in comparison. It’s like doing the Mona Lisa side by side and a line drawing.
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My partner and I bought a Fixer upper last summer and we still haven’t gotten around to making all the tweaks and changes. The room is freshly plastered, but without any paint stains on the wall. It’s still full of boxes unopened from our move. We’ll have to take them to the attic soon, otherwise the poor baby will sleep next to a pile of random photo albums from my university days and a pile of old soccer sticker books that my partner doesn’t want to get rid of.
The internet may be a great research tool, but it also provides a platform for literally anyone with an opinion. And people have a lot when it comes to babies. The right way to feed, the right sleep schedule to attract your baby, the amount of mind play it needs, and the milestones it should reach each week.
It is exhausting. There seems to be no way of doing something that everyone can agree on. If a mom influencer or celebrity mom swears by something, you can guarantee they’ll be a lot of moms in the comments who madly disagree.
That’s a different subject. The scare tactics of mom shamers on the internet who will convince you that the smallest things can lead to disaster and ruin your poor baby. As if you had an ASBO teenager in your hand 18 years from now and wish you had never used this particular brand of muslin fabric.
I feel like the only mother-to-be who doesn’t have her shit together. I’ve been trying to cope with all of the complexities of pregnancy – morning sickness, heartburn, sciatica, and in my case gestational diabetes – for so long that I somehow forgot to prepare for life on the other side.
And now that it’s weeks ahead, I feel like I’m scrambling for an exam after stashing all of the lessons. I try to teach myself manic and I feel like I’m pulling a gap.
I am alone? Or are there other mothers out there who also feel clueless in this next phase of life?