Wednesday, December 9, 2009
What They Don't Tell You About Motherhood, But Leave It to Me-I Will!
Creating a new life is, in my opinion the most beautiful side of love you will ever experience on this earth. It is unconditional, pure, and runs deeper than you could ever imagine until you are blessed with your own. For the first 2 weeks of Aiden's life my head was in the clouds, just crazy in love with him. If he opened his eyes and looked at me I melted. If he made a poopie in his diaper I praised him 'till no end! If he made a babble noise such as, "aing" I swore he must be gifted. I mean really, how many newborns can say, "aing" when they are hungry? (Turns out a lot) :) But despite all the happiness that your baby will bring to your life, there will also be some really ugly, nitty-gritty things we must endure in order to enjoy our new bundle of joy. Things that your sweet old grandmother would probably never dare speak of, let alone blog about for the masses to read. Well move over grandma-I'm here to fill you in on all the bits and pieces all those flowery, pink pregnancy books leave out.
1) No one could ever really put into words the PAIN you will endure should you choose to have a natural birth like I did. They can try, but of all the things I read nothing could have prepared me for the pain that felt like I was going to die. I also was never aware of the power of my mind and prayer. These were my saving graces throughout my labor. If I didn't have God on my side, I would have been screwed! I have been transformed into a much stronger person now because I trusted my body to do it's thing naturally and brought a perfect and beautiful life into this world. If that's not empowerment than I don't know what is.
2) Think PMS is an emotional time? HA! Right after I gave birth my emotions went off the charts! Think: body torn apart in pain, new baby screaming in your ear, nurses entering in your hospital room 25 times a day asking you millions of stupid questions such as, "Do you ever feel the urge to shake your baby?" (No but I'd like to shake YOU nurse), filling out endless paperwork, relatives bustling about loudly as you try to nurse, zero sleep, crappy food, the overwhelming-ness of your new responsibility and all while you are trying to enjoy your new baby. That's enough to make anyone crazy!
3) I've wanted a baby since I was a baby myself at three years old. Dolls were my only toy interest growing up and as soon as I was old enough to baby-sit I was banging on the neighbors doors handing out babysitting fliers to notify them of my services. I earned my BA in Child Development and went on to teach pre-k for a few years before I had Aiden. My whole life I have felt super-confident and knowledgeable in the area of children. I've even been reading Parents magazine since I was 8 years old as it randomly started showing up in our mailbox. But-even with all this under my belt, nothing could prepare me for the challenges of my new baby. Why? Because this one's MINE. Not Betsy's little boy down the street, MINE. If I messed up with him, his mommy would be there to fix it. Now it is all on my shoulders. I never thought I'd be referring to What To Expect The First Year as much as I did the first 2 months. I never thought I'd stay awake all night the first 2 nights just to make sure he was breathing due to my fear of SIDS. I never thought I'd actually have thoughts of, " Oh my God, what did I do? Can I really handle this baby? Can I really do this?" In the midst of my worst, sleep-deprived weeks of Aiden's life, my thoughts just added to the stress. Overcoming them came with time of course.
4) Of all the books I read about pregnancy, none of them said that your vagina may get so traumatized that you may loose all bladder control and end up wearing Depends for the first month of your baby's life. Or that when you got up out of your hospital bed for the first time after giving birth that your bladder may empty itself uncontrollably all over the floor and into the hallway right under your food cart. No one ever told me that. Or what about the time when I got up to change my newborn baby's first blowout and I ended up having one of my own, (pee) all over your kitchen floor. Who's mess do you clean up first? :) I just had to laugh though the tears during that one.
5) Although breastfeeding came naturally for Aiden and I, there was nothing natural about all the pain that came with it. The last thing you need when your vagina has been torn open and you are still healing from that pain, is the additional pain of sore, cracked bleeding nipples. And most women only have this problem for, oh about the first 2 weeks. Mine happened to last 2 MONTHS. It was breastfeeding HELL. Sure it was a lovely bonding experience but the PAIN! But being my stubborn, determined to do what's best for Aiden type of mommy I kept on and by the 3rd month on our way up to our Tahoe vacation I remember telling my husband how I just realized that I wasn't in pain anymore when I nursed Aiden and it was becoming so much more enjoyable. And that now that I've had to endure so much to get to that point, I was never stopping. He'll have my tit until he leaves for college if he wants! :) My husband said that maybe it was designed that way so that when the pain is over you have a true respect and appreciation for breastfeeding and the bond it created between you and your child. And I agreed.
6) All throughout my pregnancy both sides of our family were just over the moon about their soon to be grandchild. They promised that they would always be there to help when the need arose and that they were soooooo glad that we moved back to California from Wyoming so that they could see their precious baby often. Then Aiden came and thankfully they all were here at my home helping me with him and all the tasks from our recent move-in of only 2 weeks prior to his birth.
But then, Tim had his first business trip since baby was born and I was a little scared to be here alone. No one showed up. And then...Aiden had his first illness complete with vomiting and...no one showed up. And THEN...we all got sick, all THREE of us at the same time and guess what? No one showed up.
Suddenly our families had new priorities. And we started hearing that an hour and a half is a really long drive. REALLY? Longer than from here to WYOMING!!!??? Ok, sigh. I guess the novelty wore out.
7) I never dreamed I would become one of THOSE moms. You know, the granola-chomping, baby-wearing, nursing in public without a blanket, (and there is a good reason for that-future blog posting) crazy-arse hippie moms who thought it was actually FUN to line -dry her baby's cloth diapers. The ones who sometimes address their baby as," lover" and have nothing more to talk about than the color of their baby's poop that day or what is the correct way to steam squash for their home-made baby food. The ones who you wonder if they ever leave the house or catch the news every once in a while? Well here I am. I'm pretty much that mom except for I do manage to leave the house daily, wear make-up, (occasionally) and I still have an opinion about Obama's health care plan. :) I love my new role as Aiden's mommy. I love that I almost loose my whole self to it right now. Someday I will work outside the home again, someday I will sing in a choir again, join a book club and so on...but for now I am much more interested in soaking up all of his giggles and kisses that I can. Because he won't be this perfect forever I do know that!
8) I fought the long hair, and short hair won. Men would tell me, "But long hair on moms is so hot..." Oh really? And so are you going to send over Ken Paves everyday to give me a blowout because I simply don't have the time or energy to do it myself! For the first 7 and 1/2 months I fought the urge to cut my hair. It's my, "long, golden hair..." It will keep me looking like a young mom...blah blah blah...
All it ended up being was a pain in my rear. And so I chopped it. And I love it. And so does Aiden because now I have a few extra minutes to spend with him rather than with my mirror.
9) I didn't realize how drastically my circle of friends would change. How people without kids wouldn't understand when you simply couldn't make a 100% commitment to a night out or why you don't spend time on the phone anymore. My new phrase it that it's ,"Baby-dependant" whether or not I show up. I also didn't realize how I'd even drift from those fellow mommies who didn't share the same parenting beliefs as I do and how much that really would matter to me. I find myself surrounding myself with other mommies who love what they do as much as I do and who just like me think that my kid is spectacular :)
10) I didn't even know that I'd fall even more in love with my husband than I ever thought possible. Something about seeing him cuddling our son while singing the Caterpillar song at 2 am makes me want to rip all his clothes off :) I also never imagined I would smile and laugh as much as I do now on a daily basis. It's beautiful and I am already planning on baby #2!
A babe in the house is a well-spring of pleasure, a messenger of peace and love, a resting place for innocence on earth, a link between angels and men. -Martin Fraquhar Tupper