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Humor Marriage & Family

Cat and Nat's Mom Truths

Embarrassing Stories and Brutally Honest Advice on the Extremely Real Struggle of Motherhood

by (author) Catherine Belknap & Natalie Telfer

Penguin Group Canada
Initial publish date
Mar 2019
Marriage & Family, Motherhood, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2019
    List Price

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#1 Globe and Mail Bestseller

Hilarious best friends Cat and Nat created a massive online community of moms by sharing their ultra-real and just a bit R-rated dispatches from the mom trenches. From what not to eat a few days postpartum (chicken wings) to the most effective ways to dodge post-partum sex, Cat & Nat's Mom Truths shares everything no one will tell you about having kids.

Mixing memoir, humor, and advice, Cat and Nat tell never-before-told stories about the stress, guilt, joy, and laundry (oh the laundry!) of being a mom in their first book. With seven kids between them and millions of fans on social media, they get real about the parts of parenting that somehow don't make the Instagram feed. Sharing their outrageous humor, fearless myth-busting, and genuine comfort on every page, they walk you from pregnancy to the toddler years and beyond. And they dole out ridiculously honest advice, like what you think you need at the hospital when you have your first baby (lip gloss) versus what you actually need (hemorrhoid pillow), and how worried you should really be about germs (less than you are). Fearless crusaders against the perfection myth and all the gluten-free, sugar-free baking it entails, Cat and Nat assure you that you're already doing a great job, making this an essential companion for moms everywhere.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

CATHERINE BELKNAP and NATALIE TELFER have been friends since they were teenagers, but it was marriage, babies, and motherhood that bonded them together. Cat and Nat head up a rapidly-exploding community of like-minded moms on their platform, Social Common, where they are rewriting the paradigm of "the perfect mom." Their uncensored #MomTruths videos and daily vlogs--about everything from sleep to sex--have turned them into viral sensations.

Excerpt: Cat and Nat's Mom Truths: Embarrassing Stories and Brutally Honest Advice on the Extremely Real Struggle of Motherhood (by (author) Catherine Belknap & Natalie Telfer)


Bad New Ladies: The End of the Delivery is Just the Beginning

The morning after I gave birth to our first child, I woke up with fifty stitches in my vagina and a question in my head: “Catherine, what the hell have you gotten yourself into?”

Barely a day earlier, we’d been at a rehearsal dinner for a friend’s wedding. It was late. I was grumpy because everyone else was wasted and laughing and I couldn’t drink. That’s when labor hit. It hit hard— and so did a huge wave of fear and panic. The idyllic “I’m going to have a baby!” suddenly became the terrifying “I’m going to have to deliver a baby through my body!” I’ll never forget what happened next. I leaned over to my husband, squeezed his hand, and whispered in his ear: “I’m not sure I want to do this anymore.”

A little late to back out now, Cat.

And besides, it was definitely time to get on with it. I was two weeks past my due date. For a couple months, I’d spent most of my time feeling either gigantic or homicidal. Sometimes both. Usually both.

I know some people probably think Canada is cold all the time. But Toronto in summertime is like living inside a dryer filled with wet towels. It’s hot. It’s moist. It’s supernoisy. You’re sweating all the time. Which makes carrying around another entire person inside of you such a huge pleasure, she says sarcastically. I knew we were in uncharted territory when I discovered one morning that I could no longer see my vaheen. It was lost somewhere between my stom-ach and my thighs. That seventy pounds of extra weight was not my friend.

Marc and I lived in a tiny little house on a dead- end street. We were one of those annoying couples that had a dog we treated like a child. We’d dress him up on Halloween and even give him gifts on Christmas morning. Yep, we were pretty insufferable. I’m sure more than a few strangers rolled their eyes at us, but I didn’t care. I was honing my maternal instincts!

In those final couple months, when I basically weighed a metric tonne and couldn’t fit into any clothes and most automobiles, it is possible that I maybe got a little grumpy from time to time. I remem­ber one night my husband made the mistake of asking why I was al­ways so tired. We were sitting at our little kitchen table, and my first instinct was to jab a fork into his arm. He didn’t really mean anything by it, I’m sure. He probably said it without thinking. (Men are great at that.) But do you think I was going to let him off the hook? Not a frickin’ chance! I gave it to him with both barrels. “Oh, I’m sorry if I’m a little tired since I spent all day growing another human person inside of me. Growing their organs and their fingers and every other part of them. I grew part of a brain today! What did you do?”

Most times when there is shouting in a marriage, it ends in a draw or in an uneasy truce—but I think it’s safe to say I won that one. Decisively. Feel free to steal the “growing a human person” card and use it yourself. You can’t lose.

For the whole time I was pregnant, and even a bit before, I had this very clear image in my head: Life with a baby was going to be so perfect. My husband and I would lie in bed together with the baby between us and we’d hold hands. We’d go to pumpkin patches and we’d be so cute and everyone would think to themselves, “Now there are a couple of parents who’ve got it all together, posing on a haystack in their flannel with their apple cider donuts, looking all adorable.”

Fast-forward to my tenth hour of labor. I’m in agony. Meanwhile, my husband and my doctor are down at the end of the bed, mak­ing small talk about hockey. I wanted to murder them both. I’m not even sure that I’m joking. If only they’d been just a little bit closer, I might have reached out and clocked them with a bedpan. I know that sounds kind of harsh, but believe me: It’s hard to be your calm, regular self when a human being is trying to push her way into the world through your vagina. You’re bound to be a little on edge.

Eventually, the epidural worked its magic. I managed a couple hours of enthusiastic pushing/profanity. I even remember the Au­gust sun coming out and shining into the hospital room just before our little girl was born. The whole thing turned out kind of great, to be honest. I remember thinking to myself: “I did it! Mission ac­complished! Hooray for me!” I even managed to crack a joke. When the doctor went to work on repairing my vagina, he said that he was going to “sew [me] back up like Mother Nature intended.” With­out missing a beat, I said, “Can you make it a little tighter than she intended?”

I was pumped. I had gotten through it. My pregnancy was over at last!

Turns out the end of the delivery was just the beginning.

Goodbye, excitement; hello, exhaustion. So long, anticipation; hello, anxiety. I wasn’t ready for any of it. From the second that Olivia was born, I felt an overwhelming urge to go home. I wanted to set a land speed record for getting out of a hospital. But first, I had to pass a test.

I had to pass the fart test.

They gave me the whole explanation, but I wasn’t really listen­ing, due to the exhaustion and the precious new human life that was suddenly taking up all my brain space. Basically, it was about makingsure everything was working down there after the epidural and the trauma of the delivery. Bottom line: I had to fart before they would agree to discharge me. Now, just to be clear, it’s not like they post a nurse at your bedside and give her a Geiger counter for fart monitor­ing. They take your word for it.

This is an important piece of information, because I was obsessed with getting out of there. So I decided to exploit the loophole in the system. Translation: I lied. I told them I had farted. But I hadn’t farted. People lie about farting all the time, but this may have marked the first time in human history that anyone ever lied to take credit for a fart.

They believed me. My fake fart set me free. As my husband started packing up all our stuff, I put my feet on the floor and pushed my way out of bed so I could get changed, practically able to feel the sweet air of freedom on my cheeks. And then I went down like a ton of bricks. Turns out the epidural hadn’t totally worn off—or maybe it was the painkillers they were giving me on account of my poor, dam­aged vagina. Either way, my legs were basically a couple of gummy worms.

Looking back, I think of this as the first of roughly 28,000 mis­takes I’ve made as a mother. I can’t even remember why I was so eager to leave. I should have just stayed in bed and let those farts rip.

After fifteen minutes or so, I got the feeling back in my legs. I could stand on my own. As I left the hospital, less than forty-eight hours after giving birth, they gave me an ice pack and a baby. Our beautiful baby. Our beautiful, crying Olivia. And that was it. Were they really just going to let me go off into the world and be a mother? Couldn’t they tell I had absolutely no idea what I was doing? I had faked a fart test!

The days that followed were a blur. I mean that literally. I was so tired that I had trouble seeing things in focus. It wasn’t how I thought it was going to be. I can’t actually remember if Marc and I ever lay in bed with the baby between us, holding hands and being all cute. I can tell you we definitely never made it to a pumpkin patch.

For the six weeks after our daughter was born, I was basically a hermit. I became a self-imposed shut‑in. I was afraid to leave the house with the baby. Too many scary and dangerous things out there in the world!

Or maybe I stayed in because I didn’t want the world to catch on to the fact that, when it came to being a mom, I just didn’t have a clue. What if my baby cried? What if I cried? Everyone else seemed to always have it together, and I was hanging on by a thread.

I’d walk circles around our living room, holding our daughter. Twenty minutes. Forty minutes. Two hours. The baby wouldn’t stop crying. I’d try swaddling her using the zillion different techniques and methods that people swear by on the Internet. None of them worked—she wouldn’t stop crying. I’d put the baby down and walk out of the room for a breather, only to rush back in because I was scared by how loudly she was crying. I’d beg my husband to come home from work and help out. The baby wouldn’t stop crying. Feed the baby. Hold the baby. Put the baby down. Pick the baby up. It didn’t matter. The baby wouldn’t stop crying. I felt like a fuckup.

In those early moments, I came to understand why some women simply fall apart at the seams. The first six weeks can be hell—especially if you’re like me and you get into your own head. It goes like this: “This is my responsibility. She is my responsibility and I’m screwing it up. You’re screwing it up, Cat.” You feel it every time your baby cries. You feel it every time you can’t figure out what’s wrong with her. You feel it every time your baby is wailing in public and people are looking at you, like, “Hey, can you stop being a terrible mother for just a minute and make your baby be quiet?” You feel the heat of all those eyes staring at you and judging you. You actually start to sweat. And you don’t know what to do to make the baby stop crying, because you’ve tried everything. You wonder why you don’t have any maternal instincts. You feel like a failure. I felt like a failure.

At my lowest point, I can remember feeling as though I was stuck in a snow globe. Just when everything finally started to feel settled, my whole world would get shaken up again. And I was powerless to stop it because I was stuck in the game of “perfect,” just like every other mom. My only outlet was taking to Facebook to ask perfectly normal, concerned parent questions like, “Does anyone have any sug-gestions for good sleep training materials?” Which really meant, “I’m not getting any sleep. I’m going out of my mind. Someone send help.” And then I thumbed through the comments as I sat in an old T-shirt covered in vomit (not mine) and food stains (mostly mine, to be hon-est). Scroll, scroll, scroll. And then I saw a message notification.

It was a message from my old friend Natalie, whom I’d barely seen since high school. She’d had a baby of her own eight months earlier. Her message was very direct: “Get over here. Now!” Natu-rally, I said no. Going to someone’s house meant . . . gasp . . . going outside! And outside is where the sun is, and the bugs, and strangers and trucks and germs and noises and surprises. Nat wouldn’t take no for an answer. Thank God she wouldn’t.

Editorial Reviews

“What do new mothers need the most? Sleep, for one. But after sleep, they need good friends, people to let them know they aren't alone in this strange new world they are navigating. Enter Catherine Belknap and Natalie Telfer. . . . Their new book is funny, honest, and encouraging.” —New York Post

“Accept the chaos, embrace the mom bod and stress less about germs, among other things. That's courtesy of Catherine Belknap and Natalie Telfer, friends from high school who reconnected as first-time mothers. Parenting books left them feeling like they already blew it, the writers said, so they looked elsewhere for affirmation.” Wall Street Journal

Cat and Nat's Mom Truths takes everything that's scary about being a mom and makes it hilarious.” —Karen Alpert, New York Times bestselling author of I Heart My Little A-Holes

“With their Mom Truths that'll resonate with overwhelmed moms everywhere, Cat and Nat tell you in a hundred wildly hilarious ways the easiest thing to forget, and the most important thing to remember: You're already doing a great job.” —Dawn Dais, author of The Sh!t No One Tells You About Pregnancy: A Guide to Surviving Pregnancy, Childbirth and Beyond

Other titles by Catherine Belknap

Other titles by Natalie Telfer