Frighteningly, the next generation of children is being raised by a bunch of barefaced liars. Here are just a few of the whoppers we tell women who haven’t had kids yet
Following her hilarious take on the 50 things no mum has time to do once the baby arrives , Emma Bartley reveals all the lies they tell to those who are yet to experience motherhood...
1. “Childbirth is fine - just like bad period pain.”
Along with others in the same family of falsehoods, such as women wouldn’t do it again if it was so awful, and it’s only one day of your life – “After two days of labouring I knew that one was total BS,” says my friend Veronica – this is a white lie that we tell pregnant women to make them feel better. Because the baby’s got to come out somehow, and what good will it do her to know that it will quite likely take 36 hours of blood, sweat and second-degree tears?
“My labour was great,” I tell people. “The whole thing took about 14 hours start to finish, and the baby was born in the birthing pool.” You’ll notice that I’ve left out the part where I was screaming I’M GOING TO DIE I CAN’T DO IT I’M GOING TO DIE.
2. “You can have it all, as long as you’re organised.”
Sorry, have you organised a way to be in two places at once? If not: bullsh*t.
3. “Breastfeeding doesn’t hurt.”
I breastfed for a whole year, and I can exclusively reveal that IT KILLS . Maybe not for everyone all the time, but certainly for most people at some point.
“If you feel any pain, that’s a sign that something’s wrong,” the breastfeeding counsellor told my antenatal group. As it turns out, though, there’s quite a lot that can go wrong when you’re attaching a hungry child’s mouth on to your tit 8 to 12 times per day.
Bad latch? Mastitis? Tiny teeth? “Strong suck” – my GP’s cheerful analysis when I showed him my white, bloodless nipples around the four-month mark? All fairly common. Yet you’ll never hear about this, because the propaganda operation around breastfeeding is like something out of Putin’s Russia.
4. “I can’t believe you spent that much on a handbag/shoes/a holiday!”
Yeah, you can. You used to as well, before you had kids.
5. "I don't actually mind the nappies."
Nappies have to be dealt with, but let's not kid ourselves: we're getting up close and personal with actual human faeces, multiple times a day. Sometimes it leaks out of the sides. Sometimes they wriggle around in it while you're reaching for a baby wipe. Sometimes they've been eating sweetcorn *gags*.
6. “It’s brought us closer as a couple.”
Come off it! Having a baby is like that psychological experiment where they take a group of people and make one half prisoners and the other half prison guards.
As a woman, having a baby smashes your identity into a million pieces. Everyone treats you differently; your body is wrecked; your hormones go nuts; your career is in the toilet; even getting out of the house is a challenge.
Meanwhile your partner swans about living his normal life, coming and going as he pleases, earning his own money, all his body parts exactly where they always were – and occasionally offers up a comment on the state of the living room.
Obviously, you hate his living guts. Obviously.
7. "It's amazing how quickly you adapt."
"It is ridiculously hard to adapt to never seeing the outside world after 6.30pm without a military-style plan," says Clare.
8. "Maternity leave is amazing, I never get bored."
This lie is typically told by the kind of mother who manages her baby's schedule as if it were an employee.
"Penelope has baby singing on a Monday, baby yoga on Tuesday, baby massage on Wednesday, baby swimming on Thursday and baby sensory on Friday," one mum in our local cafe told me. I looked at Penelope, a chubby little eight-week-old, to see if she was showing any signs of being exceptionally advanced as a result of all this - but she just looked at me with a blank expression and spewed up everywhere.
I took this to be her way of saying, "Mum's hypercompetitive scheduling is fooling no one. She's miserable as sin being away from her work BlackBerry and may actually go insane if she has to sing The Wheels on the Bus one more time."
9. “Sleep deprivation? You get used to it.”
For a brief, gruesome period when my baby was waking at 3am, 4am, 5am and 5.30am, I’d tell myself I was fine. “A shower is as good as a rest,” I’d think, if I’d managed to make it into the shower – or “A glass of water is as good as a rest,” if I hadn’t.
Meanwhile, I suffered appalling memory lapses , would burst into tears at the slightest thing and passed out every time I so much as got near the sofa. If you call that getting used to it…
10. “You’re so lucky.”
Alright, this one is sort of true. Non-mums enjoy a lot of luxuries that mums can't expect to see again for the best part of 18 years: stuff like spontaneity, time alone, and a socially acceptable relationship with alcohol. But you know the most messed-up thing of all about mothers? While we know our lives are a living hell... the alternative is unthinkable.