Ignorance Is Bliss
When you first find out you are pregnant, it’s a whirlwind of emotion. Excitement. Relief. Worry. And after your first visit with the doctor, it’s information overload. They give you websites and books and pamphlets. And they recommend purchasing baby books and pregnancy books. And you have no idea about any of it and immediately feel behind, as if you should have started researching 9 months even before you were thinking of conceiving!
I do believe a certain amount of education is important. About babies and pregnancy. Sometimes I find though that the best sources aren’t from books but rather from friends or family who have recently experienced the whole shebang. But to each their own. I know people who have read every word of information prior to the birth of their baby, and it worked for them. Every tidbit of knowledge gave them more and more confidence to bring into this unknown world. And that’s great! Do whatever works. Whatever makes you feel comfortable. But bottom line, don’t feel pressured.
For me, I thought I’d want to know everything. I thought I’d buy a million books and soak up all the tips and tricks. Fortunately, I was seriously immersed in Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series (of which I am still reading because the books are SOOO long), and in my mind I just wanted to finish the series before starting any baby books. Haha. Obviously, I am still not through all of the books and therefore I haven’t read a single baby how-to book! And you know what? I AM RELIEVED. Why? Because I had ZERO pre-conceived expectations of my baby.
Now, I do have friends that have babies and I do work in healthcare, so I’m not completely oblivious to motherhood and all the challenges it brings. And I think it’s important to not be completely clueless. Knowing nothing would add stress. For me, the lack of specific knowledge per say actually helped me. Once Baby Bird arrived, I quickly understood the pressure of motherhood. The pressure to breastfeed. The pressure to have a sleeping baby. The pressure to avoid post partum depression. And for me, reading those baby books would have only elevated the mental mind game. As a new mom, I think it’s natural to doubt your abilities and question absolutely everything. Is my baby eating enough? Does her poop look right? How many pees has she had today? She is sleeping 4 hours, is that normal? Maybe she is too sleepy? Maybe she needs more sleep? You don’t need a book to prompt those questions. It just comes naturally.
I did skim through one sleep training book, and instead of taking the information and applying it to Baby Bird, I of course, internalized it. “The book said it would get easier after night 3, and it’s night 6 and still nothing?!?!” If you’re one of those people who can “apply knowledge” to situations, then good on you! But for me, I turn into an over analyzing, psycho, hormonally imbalanced mother wreckage. I did better not having read anything, coming up with concerns and questions as they came, and seeking resources to understand what is normal and what is not normal. In retrospect I am so glad I didn’t read a gazillion baby books. I would have come into motherhood with all these expectations and when Baby Bird didn’t live up to them, I’d be a total non-functioning disaster.
By not having expectations, it has allowed me to understand my baby. I know her signs of when she is hungry and when she is tired. I know the difference between her cries. I know what she likes and what she doesn’t like. And I didn’t learn any of it from a book. I learnt it from watching her. And paying attention to her cues. I’ve developed a silent language with my little girl that allows me to successfully meet her needs and aid in her development.
But beware! The pressure to information overload is there and it’s HUGE. It’s important to understand how your mind operates and decide whether it will help you or hinder you. And know that it’s totally okay to not read any baby books. And it’s okay to read them all. Let me know what approach you took in the comments below. If you like this post and like what we do on this blog, we encourage you to share it using the social icons below.
- Mama Bird