Monday, August 17, 2009

When It Comes to Having Babies, People Lie

You know what's extrasuperfabulously cool about Laurie Puhn's website for parents-to-be, That it's for BOTH dads-to-be AND moms-to-be. (Because, contrary to popular belief--translated: the millions of new MOM sites out there--we are in this together. Right? Right????)

Laurie asked me to post a guest blog today, which you can check out on her site, or right here:

The Top Five Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me BEFORE the Baby Came

1. Embrace your maternity clothes

Six weeks in with new baby, I decided to go out in public officially to a Baby and Me meeting at the hospital where I delivered. I pulled out a pair of shorts, previously known as my "fat shorts." I couldn't squeeze one thigh into them (then proceeded to blame my husband for drying them all the way in the dryer). I tried a skirt with a drawstring waist--no go over my hips. I tried a beach cover-up--nursing boobs too big. After trying on just about ever item of clothing I owned, which left my bedroom looking like it used to the night before a high school mixer, I opened the drawer with the maternity clothes. I wore those clothes for the following six months. SIX months. My mother reprimanded me for complaining: "You know why your body is beluga whale-ish." Yes. I knew why. I wouldn't have traded that baby for anything. But, two months in, when you're still hoisting in your gut with eight-inch-wide elastic bands, it can feel like the end of the world.

2. Babies cry

Like, a lot. You will try everything—feeding, sleeping, finger-sucking, binkies, bouncing, rocking, baby-wearing, placing car seats on the dryer. And, sometimes, nothing will work. And you will feel like something is wrong with you, because parents are supposed to be able to calm their babies, to stop them from crying. Well—there is nothing wrong with you.

3. You will want to kill you husband

Here is something I learned last year, when my older daughter was three: studies show that the first year with new baby is the hardest on a marriage. Well, that would have been a helpful bit of intel. Because I thought there was no place to go but divorce, what with me needing him to help more, and him not knowing what I wanted him to do because I didn't know what to do myself, and me listening to him sleep while I nursed half the night away every single night for almost a year, and him thinking it was still okay to go to the gym after work everyday. I threatened to leave him. Literally. Packed bags and everything. (I never intended to go. Just wanted to get the point across.) I'm certain we would have been easier on each other had we known this.

4. All the time, people will say to you, "Call if you need anything." Call them.

Repeat this to yourself: "asking for help is not a weakness, asking for help doesn't somehow prove you're a bad mother, asking for help may actually get you a home-cooked meal, brought to your door by a neighbor, who will hold the baby while you eat it." This is good.

5. You are not alone

You will wonder if you might be the only person on the planet who doesn't have the parental gene. You will watch other parents and you will think, "Why do they have it together, and why am I sucking?" Here's the secret: all new parents are freaking out. This is the biggest-ever transition in your life—yesterday? No baby. Today? Baby. It's big for everyone. If they say they aren't freaking out...not even a little...they're lying.

1 comment:

  1. You said it. Wish I'd known it before too. And I'm sad to report that the maternity shorts are still in rotation here @ 9 months in. Sigh.