In some ways I envy you. I envy your big round belly, constant admirers, and excuse to eat ice cream for breakfast. I envy your time, your naps, your organized nursery and neatly folded baby clothes. I envy your ignorance; your wonderful, pregnant, pre-baby ignorance.
I don’t envy your birth, or more accurately your post-birth. Sorry about all that. I’m sorry because everyone says “the pain is worth it,” but fails to acknowledge how you shit glass for weeks afterward. I’m not sure why no one tells you this. Someone should tell you so you don’t call your doctor in a panic and say something ridiculous like, “I don’t think my anus is in the right spot.”
Of course the baby does help improve morale. When I think about you seeing your son or daughter for the first time, my heart breaks a little because that’s a moment you can never take back. That moment sticks with you for the rest of your life, hovering in the back of your brain, reminding you what perfect means. It’s a feeling of pure joy and absolute terror. You won’t know what to do with it, but you’ll accept it without thinking because that’s what moms do. They enter into survival mode the second the baby is born, because otherwise they will most certainly die.
You are probably wondering about birth and contractions. I know it’s incredibly frustrating not to know what to expect. Have you ever had your arm fat pinched? It’s like that but in your uterus.
Once the baby is on the scene, you can be sure of a few things:
1) Your body will never be the same.
2) Your sleep will never be the same.
3) Your marriage will never be the same.
You can also rest assured that the big belly you’ve been carrying around will still be there, but no longer be acknowledged as “cute.” In fact, it’s kind of horrifying. Remember flubber? It’s like that but with stretch marks. Avoid mirrors.
Now it’s time to come home! The hospital was nice because the nurses did everything short of breathing for you. You didn’t even have to change baby’s diaper. How convenient!
Don’t be alarmed if on the car ride home, you have a minor panic attack. I remember feeling that it was very bright outside and suppressing the urge to sob. This is all very normal. Your body just went through World War III and now you have to keep a small, defenseless human alive on top of it. Terrifying.
Once you get home, you will probably want to sleep. You may be thinking, didn’t I just spend three days sleeping in the hospital? The answer to that question is a solid no.
A word on breastfeeding: it may come easily, it may not. What I can promise you is that it will get better and it’s okay to ask for help. Despite rumors that it is “the most natural thing on earth,” breastfeeding can actually be pretty tricky. If you end up giving your baby a little formula to get some relief, you will not go to Mommy hell.
Things people will say to you that may or may not make you want to cut them:
It’s such a magical time, isn’t it?
Don’t you just love being a mommy?
Breastfeeding is such a bonding experience, don’t you think?
Just ignore them.
Treasure those who bring you meals and take out trash and quietly clean up your house. Make a note of the ones who say “this is hard” because they are the ones you call at 2AM when the kid still won’t latch. Honor them later, take advantage of them now.
I will pray for you.
I will pray for your sleep, your sanity, and your patience. I will pray for your expanding mom heart.
Most importantly, I will pray for your first, post-labor poo.
You know who to call.