I have been talking and texting with a friend and former coworker over the past few weeks. She just had her first baby, a sweet little girl.
Our conversations brought me back to when Bay was born. I was a basket case. Between 24 hours of on and off labor, 8 hours of actual labor and an emergency c-section left me wanting for nothing but a glass of wine and a nap. A really really long nap. And yet there was little lady who needed me so completely. My hormones were bonkers. I was sleep deprived (which has never been a good look for me) and overwhelmed by the change and lack of predictability. fortunately I am married to the greatest husband and father ever and he not only talked me off the ledge, he helped me through the wide variety of emotions I was feeling and took a night shift.
All this made me think of why I want to write a book. I think there are so many books, blogs, etc out there full of moms who are glowing from the moment the cord is cut. Moms who are instantly in love with their babies, whose kids sleep “through the night” at a week old and those that breast feed with the greatest of ease. But what about the real side of being a new mom? Why is no one talking about being totally freaked out about the whole thing? About loving this little person, but loving the idea of sleeping for 14 hours juuusstt a little bit more? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my daughter, but I will be honest saying that I had a break down when we came home from the hospital because I didn’t love her enough. I felt like I should have been feeling something that I wasn’t feeling. And how I was afraid to tell people that I was only breast-feeding a little because I was afraid of the judgement and or “tips” from the listener.
Six months after Baylor was born, on Christmas Eve, she slept for 12 hours straight. It is to this day, the best gift I’ve ever had. When I came out of the sleepless haze, I started talking to friends with kids and realized I wasn’t alone in my feelings. Again, I asked; “why isn’t anyone talking about this??”.
Maybe the answer is that even if warned, lectured, schooled, we can’t really know what it’s going to be like until we’re in it. But I still want to know why there aren’t at least warnings – at least beyond “yeah, you’re not going to sleep for awhile”. But maybe it’s the lie that we tell ourselves that makes us go through with it. Like why you even entertain the idea of having a second child – you lie to yourself. “The second will sleep amazing because they have to” or “We know what we’re doing now!!”.
Either way, I think society puts too much pressure on new moms (and on moms in general) to do it all and with clean and blown out hair too. I think it’s time we start standing up and saying “this part really sucks, literally and figuratively and it’s hard!” and cutting each other and ourselves some slack when we can’t do it all every day. I think if we can embrace the days where we don’t get a shower or brush our teeth before 3pm, it will make the days where we say “I did it!” feel so much better.
A few very funny and oh-so-true mom quotes:
If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? ~ Milton Berle
Raising a kid is part joy and part guerilla warfare.~ Ed Asner
Any mother could perform the jobs of several air-traffic controllers with ease. – Lisa Alther