Although I am four weeks away from delivering my first child, I am quickly on my way to becoming a new member of what I like to call The Mommy Mob (MM). If you don’t have children, you have no idea that this elusive group even exists. I certainly didn’t know about it, and I have friends with kids and several nieces and a nephew to boot. Until my stick displayed those heart-stopping double pink lines, I was ignorantly in the dark about this omnipotent clan of baby war veterans.
Yes, it seems the centuries old act of child birth is the right of passage to this secret club; all you need to do is to have a baby and then share your own pregnancy and labor & delivery war stories. Once a MM member spots a novice, doe-eyed new mother-to-be, initiation begins. These stories don’t usually have a specific format. They are usually offered freely (and without request) in graphic detail by strangers, co-workers, Great Aunt Lilly, moms and mother-in-laws, and in places such as the line at the grocery store, an elevator, public bathroom and through holiday cards.
In fact, the older the tale the more terrifying the knowledge is to a soon-to-be new mom. Seasoned stories are often riddled with utter panic, excruciating pain and the promise, “that will most likely happen to you” OR the bitter resentment that “they didn’t have epidurals when I delivered my 10 lb baby boy. I had him naturally.”
By the way, what is natural childbirth? To those women who still differentiate natural childbirth from delivering with an epidural I ask, is delivering vaginally with a little nip from a pain killer unnatural? I’d also thank you for enduring the pain that paved the way for your daughters and granddaughters to have the best healthcare options as possible. You should be proud. Personally, I plan to use any means necessary to have a low-pain delivery. I’d like to focus not on my discomfort but rather on the joys of delivering my first child and his well-being. However, will this tarnish my MM badge of honor?
Also, did I mention that men sometimes think they’re a part of the MM? (They must have heard about it confidentially from their wives.) I had a delivery guy in my house about two weeks ago and the first thing he said to me was, “Let me guess, you’re having a girl?” My first thought was, “Wow, a 50/50 chance and you are wrong buddy. I hope you’re not a gambling man.” I told him I’m having a boy and he said that he always guessed the sex of his kids and anyone's that he runs into correctly. Why do I doubt that? There have been many other men that will also ask me what I’m having and when am I due and then go on to tell me about their kids and grandkids and what their birthdays are. How I love those stories when I have a baby in-utero kicking my bladder like he’s a black belt. Gotta go, sir, and thanks so much for the baby name suggestions! I’ll definitely consider naming my baby after your son Wilbur. Not!
Yes, there are those women who also suggest you name the baby after their precious Girdie, those that will tell you all about your baby’s personality because of his astrological sign, those that tell you they know what you’re carrying because of how you’re carrying and those that can't believe you’d actually want to find out the sex and plan ahead – horrors!! It’s terrible to want to bond with your baby by buying his clothes, decorating his room and calling him by name ahead of time, I know. At times, a mother-to-be needs to come up with all kinds of reasons and excuses why she does what she does in order to satisfy the MM. Should we care? No. But do we care? Yes. Why? We do it for Johnny, or Sarah, or Emily and so that they’re not alienated because of our righteous attitude.
Although I sometimes don’t seem to appreciate all the advice, observations, morning sickness details and delivery room stories, I can now relate to much of what my fellow Mommy Mob members have gone through. So, I will stand tall, take deep breaths, put my feet up and enjoy the quiet house while it lasts for the next few weeks, as per their suggestions. I will also remind my dear husband ever so kindly, as my pregnancy hormones rage and my fatigue reigns king, when he tells me how good I have it and how women have been having babies since the dawn of time that if it were up to men, we’d be extinct! Hooray for mommies everywhere! I’m awaiting my membership badge.
Kristi Hughes is WorldWIT's Director of Communications. She is expecting her first child and can be reached at email@example.com.