“I had no idea!”: Unrealistic Expectations for Pregnancy, Birth, and Baby

unrealistic expectations

There’s a common theme that I hear over and over and over: parents experience a huge disconnect between what they expect versus reality, and they find that very upsetting, irritating, and frustrating. Some of these unrealistic expectations are deeply ingrained into our popular narrative about what it means to become parents. This narrative is reinforced by fictional portrayals of pregnancy, birth, and parenting, and large commercial forces exist to profit off of these. It’s time to change that. And while there may be the rare case where these assumptions and intentions are met, those situations are not the norm. So, listed below, are seven of the most common scenarios I run across:

1) Your prenatal visits will have lots of time to answer all of your questions and are enough to teach you everything you need to know about giving birth. Prenatal visits can last anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes or more, and are entirely clinic and provider specific. In high-volume clinics, short appointments are not uncommon. Additionally, a recent study found that many moms did not fully understand what their doctors or midwives were telling them.

2) The care provider you saw during pregnancy will be there during birth. Depending on the provider’s specialty and practice structure (Individual, small group, large group), you’re most likely to be at the mercy of their call rotation schedule. With the exception of the practices that work on a rotating call basis with care providers at the hospital or birth center during an entire shift, or if they happen to have a chance to pop in earlier, you won’t see a doctor or midwife until you’re pushing–and then, who shows up may be a surprise.

3) A nurse will be there to help guide an support you through the entire birth. First of all, a nurse’s primary job is to keep tabs on the health and well-being of baby and mom throughout the labor. They are also required to document heartbeats, blood pressures, temperatures, cervical checks, etc. And while in many cases,  best practice is to have staffing ratios that allows for one nurse to be taking care of one mom in active labor, some hospitals are more likely to have much lower staffing ratios; some Twin Cities hospitals have one nurse for every 2 or 3 mom in labor.

4) An epidural is guaranteed to work (and everyone can have one). Not all women are able to have epidurals– and your doctor or midwife may not catch that ahead of time. Also, epidurals only work perfectly about 80% of the time. No matter what your goals for pain medication are, it’s good to know about other options–just in case.

5) Having a birth plan is enough communication of your preferences. Birth time is NOT battle time. While you are in labor, you don’t need to be using that time to negotiate over the things that are important to you. While nobody knows what your birth will be like, you need to go over your preferences with your doctor or midwife. They should be willing to listen to your concerns and what’s important to you. If they are dismissive or tell you what you want won’t matter, it’s time to think about finding a provider who will be flexible (as you should be, too) to wait until labor unfolds.

6) You won’t need any postpartum help. A new baby is way more overwhelming than most people expect. The baby takes a lot of care and attention, and mom will need 2-4 weeks to really recover from birth, so everything else can quickly get out of hand. Groceries need bought, food needs made, dishes need to get done, laundry needs washed, etc., etc., etc. Ask for help! If you can’t coordinate help via friends, family, coworkers, or church community, then consider hiring a postpartum doula.

7) Your baby’s doctor will help you achieve your breastfeeding goals. The reality is, very few pediatricians covered breastfeeding for more than a few hours in med school. They don’t often seek out breastfeeding education after they start practicing, either. When you take the lack of knowledge base, a common desire to be able to measure every single thing, including how much a baby is eating, and an inherent distrust in the ability of women’s bodies, it’s no wonder so many women give up breastfeeding at the direction of the pediatrician. Some providers so have a passion for breastfeeding, so choose that doctor or nurse practitioner very, very carefully.

Those were the ones I came up with. What else did I miss?

Warmly,

Veronica

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

BabyLove Welcomes: Maima Fant, MA, LICSW

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Note from Veronica: I am excited to announce 4 new practitioners who will be joining us at BabyLove. They will be practicing in the gorgeous new offices that were put into BabyLove’s original home in Suite 200. I am thrilled to say that all of these women have a passion for working with other disciplines and to help and support women and families. Here’s another inspiring provider!

Maima has vast experience working as a clinical social worker and mental health therapist with families in both community and private outpatient clinic settings. She has worked with children, adolescents and adults in addressing various mental health issues such as: anxiety, depression, trauma and grief/loss. She also has done work with individuals, families and groups to address presenting concerns using treatment modalities such as: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), motivational interviewing, and Play Therapy. During her career, Maima’s has also earned a certificate of course completion in Maternal Mental Health from Postpartum Support International (PSI) and the 2020Mom Project. Maima is a wife and mother to her daughter age 3. Maima enjoys spending time with family and close friends, biking, and yoga.

Hatch Life offers mental health and wellness services during the Perinatal Period; the time from conception through the first postpartum year and beyond!

We provide three core programs:

• Mental Health Individual Therapy, Family Play Therapy, Wellness Coaching
• The Nest Mental Health Services for Young Mothers age 25 and Under
• Groups & Classes Support Groups and Classes for Women and Families

Learn more about Maima and schedule an appointment with her!

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

BabyLove Welcomes: Crystal Pollard, Reiki Master

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Note from Veronica: I am excited to announce 4 new practitioners who will be joining us at BabyLove. They will be practicing in the gorgeous new offices that were put into BabyLove’s original home in Suite 200. I am thrilled to say that all of these women have a passion for working with other disciplines and to help and support women and families. I got to know Crystal when she was running Bellies to Babies in Richfield, and I am so thrilled that she’ll be working with BabyLove families!

Crystal has always been interested in alternative health therapies. In 2011 her mom was in the hospital with a very bad case of pneumonia. Some people from her Moms’ church came out and started doing Reiki and other energy healing on her to help. Watching them, Crystal realized that she wanted to be able to help people and animals this way. She found out where the people had learned Reiki and signed up for her first class shortly after.

Since taking her first class on Reiki, Crystal continued learning and has been helping people, horses, dogs and cats. She is master certified and able to do distance Reiki as well.

Crystal has been in the birthing community for the last 6 years, just recently selling her maternity store Bellies to Babies in the Fall of 2014, so she is well versed in helping out mamas to be and mamas that are and their little ones. When she’s not spending time with her family, you can find her in the barns and fields, riding and training horses.

Learn more about Crystal and schedule an appointment with her!

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

BabyLove Welcomes: Sarah Leitschuh, MA, LMFT

Note from Veronica: I am excited to announce 4 new practitioners who will be joining us at BabyLove. They will be practicing in the gorgeous new offices that were put into BabyLove’s original home in Suite 200. I am thrilled to say that all of these women have a passion for working with other disciplines and to help and support women and families. Here’s one fantastic provider!

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Sarah Leitschuh is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Sarah is passionate about supporting families by offering therapy and educational workshops. Sarah provides individual, family and couples therapy. Topics commonly addressed in therapy include; depression, anxiety, behavioral concerns in children, communication, conflict resolution and helping parents be on the same page in making parenting decisions. The workshops that Sarah provides are primarily for parents and address topics such as; children’s emotions, communicating with teens, helping children develop healthy social skills and self care for caregivers. Sarah is also a wife, mother of two young children and owner of an energetic dog.

Sarah specializes in providing therapy for children and adolescents and their families. Sarah also specializes in supporting parents through her therapeutic services and workshops.

Potential clients are invited to visit her website (www.sarahleitschuhcounseling.com) for more information.   To schedule an appointment, she can be reached at sarah@sarahleitschuhcounseling.com or 952-457-2322.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.

BabyLove Welcomes: Stephanie Slaughter, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.

Note from Veronica: I am excited to announce 4 new practitioners who will be joining us at BabyLove. They will be practicing in the gorgeous new offices that were put into BabyLove’s original home in Suite 200. I am thrilled to say that all of these women have a passion for working with other disciplines and to help and support women and families. Here’s one fantastic provider!

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Stephanie received her B.S.  in Biology from the University of Maryland in College Park.  As a graduate of the Tai Sophia Institute for the Healing Arts in Laurel, Maryland, she has also completed both a Master’s program in acupuncture as well as a Post Baccalaureate certificate program in Chinese herbal medicine.  Stephanie has experience treating a wide array of health concerns, including:  infertility, PMS and other menstrual concerns, menopause, digestive issues, chronic pain, headaches, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and more.

Her passion is in helping her patients create a healthy balance in their body, mind and spirit, so that they may live a more satisfying and whole life.  Stephanie has experience in treating with three different styles of acupuncture, including:  The Balance Method, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and Five Element.  This allows her to assist patients in a healing transformation with treatments tailored to the individual person; yielding the best possible outcome.

Stephanie is a Diplomate in Acupuncture from the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She is certified as an Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist (ADS) by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association. Stephanie is licensed to practice acupuncture by the Minnesota Board of Medicine.

Stephanie maintains a healthy and active lifestyle.  Whether it’s training for a marathon, camping, or simply enjoying a picnic by the water, she loves to spend time outdoors, having fun with friends and family.

Stephanie will begin seeing patients at BabyLove on 2/16/15. You can schedule an appointment with Stephanie here.

Check out Stephanie’s website, too!

Veronica Jacobsen, BA, CLC, CPST, LCCE, FACCE
Birth Doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, Child Passenger Safety Technician, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators

Opening BabyLove in September of 2011 has allowed me to build a space where all families can come to get good information in a caring, welcoming environment. I have found that not only do I love teaching more than ever, but I also really love running a business. Hopefully my passion for every aspect of BabyLove shines through.
I live in Richfield with my husband, and I am a mother of a two great children. When I can steal a few free moments, I love to go on adventures with my family, cook, garden, thrift, can, and craft.