Saturday, March 21, 2015

Nobody Told Me.

I am insanely sick and tired of these posts I regularly see about pregnancy, breast-feeding, birth, and child-rearing with the title and or implication, "nobody told me". Somebody told you. Even Baby Center is pretty darn accurate with their warnings of pregnancy discomforts, breast-feeding difficulties and behavioral issues. It's everywhere. Mother's are talking about them every, single day. We are surrounded with people telling you. I have told you.

The instant that egg implants, you will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever feel the same again. Ever. Never ever. Done. Life as you know it. Your body as you know it. All of it, gone. You are now different. From henceforth. You will feel varying degrees of nausea. You may or may not vomit. Daily. Or multiple times a day. There is no "morning sickness", it's all day sickness, or afternoon sickness, or maybe no sickness at all. You may have once loved coffee, or licorice, or celery, or pizza, but now, maybe you don't. Or maybe now you love it so much you could eat it everyday, all day. Maybe you need to eat every 10 minutes to not feel sick, or maybe just a drop of water makes you so queasy you hate to even be in the same room as a sink. Everything smells. And by everything smells, I mean both, pungently and bad. You might lose 10 lbs in 5 weeks or gain 10 lbs in 2. Your breasts will get large and tender. Your clothes will not fit.

At some point, or multiple points, or all throughout, you will be constipated. Then, at some point your sphincter won't work as well as it used to. And by sphincter, I mean all of them. Your anal sphincter, your lower esophageal sphincter, and your urinary sphincter. Poop will come out when you don't want it to, acid will come up when you don't want it to, and you will wet your pants. Some of these problems go away soon after birth. Some of them don't. You will get bloated. With gas. With water. With baby. Laying down may become difficult, or even impossible. Sitting will become uncomfortable. Standing will become uncomfortable. YOU will be uncomfortable. Your back will hurt. Your legs will hurt. Your lady parts will hurt, and swell, and produce different kinds of discharge and who knows what else...I don't look, it scares me. You might develop hemorrhoids, and if you don't, there's a good chance you will during labor and birth.

Your skin, hair and nails will change. In the first trimester, you may become an oily teenager again, and breakout everywhere. Some women get an itchy rash. Some have dark spots develop on their face (sometimes these never go away). Some will get stretch marks, and not just on your stomach. Mine appeared on my behind, thighs and calves. Your hair will eventually fill out, your nails grow strong and beautifully, and just when they are at their best, the baby is born. Breastfeeding may help you hold on to some of these perks for a short time, but inevitably, by 4 months, hair is falling out by the clump.

The hormones will make you emotional. Not just weepy. But tired. And angry. Bitter. Happy. Sad. Confused. Insane. Like literally, mental breakdown, wondering if you should be institutionalized nuts. You will have headaches. Your lips might be dry, your mouth dry. You will be so sick of peeing, and so unsatisfied each time, that you will wish for a permanent catheter. There will be moments of very odd pelvic, uterine and belly pain that you will be certain is very bad...but it's usually gas, or your ligaments stretching from the growing baby, or your bladder rebeling and cramping from the pressure, or just that constipation again, or a Braxton Hicks contraction. Damn, these things are uncomfortable! Or am I in labor. You will always wonder. Am I in labor. Whether you are 20 weeks or 40 weeks, labor is always a concern.

You will feel the baby move, and it will be the most reassuring feeling in the entire world. It will make you smile even amidst one of those horrid cry-fests of self-pity, discomfort, and "I don't know why the f*%# I am crying, but I am and I needed to". It will hurt sometimes, especially if they settle on the ribs or the bladder, but that pain is the best of all. You will wonder what the baby looks like, and hope it gets only your good features, and only your spouses good features. You will contemplate a name. By 35 weeks on, you will obsess. All you can do is think about baby, and wish they were born. Partly because you are dying to meet them, and partly because the pregnancy discomfort is approaching its all time high. Everyday drags. The last 5 weeks of pregnancy are THE LONGEST. You will cry nightly, or daily, at the end. You will become bitter at any comments, but most especially, the "you're still pregnant?" one. You could rip that person's eyes out, and shove them....well, you get it.

You might waddle. You might not be able to bend over. Or squat. Or jump. Or walk. Or fit into your shoes. You will get sick of pulling up your pants and pulling down your shirt. You will develop symptoms I haven't listed, because, well, there are too many symptoms to mention! Restless legs. Vision changes. Taste changes. Sleep changes. How did I forget to directly mention sleep. Your dreams are bizarre. Your sleep restless. In the end, sleep is nearly impossible due to discomfort, indigestion, urination, you name it. Until that baby is born, you will have forgotten what it is like to truly sleep. And even if it is for only an hour and fifteen minutes, sleep after birth is wonderful.

Nobody told you about your labor, because it can go only about one billion different ways. There is no way to truly prepare for labor. You don't know what position your baby will decide to land in, there at the end. You don't know how your cervix will behave. How much pain you can tolerate. How long labor will be. How hard you have to push. Some people hardly make it to the hospital, others push for 4 hours only to end up with a cesarean. You might scream in labor. Poop. Vomit. Shake violently. Give up. Push harder. Get an epidural. Have the baby in a tub. Some babies tolerate labor no problem, and others poop, then choke on it and get whisked to the NICU. But somebody mentioned all of these things at some point. Just like pregnancy, you heard all the symptoms, you just never experienced them yourself, in your exact combination.

Somebody told you that breastfeeding is hard. That your nipples will crack. That the baby might not latch well. That your supply might suck or be so copious it nearly drowns the child at each feeding. Someone told you that you will leak in public, on your bed, in your clothes. That you will feel like nothing but a cow for the first few weeks. Or months. That you will cry. A lot. Like every night. And maybe even more. You were warned that if you strictly breastfed for months, the baby might not take a bottle. I never advertise that I "like" breastfeeding. I don't feel clean, ever. It is so convenient, and healthy, and cheap though. If you bottle feed, you may need to switch multiple formulas, until one settles with baby. Even if you breastfeed you need to eat the right foods. If you're too stressed you won't let down. If you don't drink enough you won't produce enough. If you're gone from baby too long, your breasts will hurt and you will become more and more anxious.

Somebody told you all of these things and more. Don't even get me started on what you have already been told about newborns and their sleep habits, and temperaments, and crying. They make you watch a video in the hospital about babies crying and how to deal with it (not by shaking them). It's what they do. Maybe what nobody told you is, that it doesn't matter what ANYONE tells you. Motherhood is an experience. A unique to each and every individual experience. Motherhood is the same for no one. Your combination of physical and emotional symptoms are 100% your own. If anyone thinks they can tell you what to expect, they have never been a mother them self. I don't think I have EVER spoken to a first time mother who said, "That was amazing and everything went just as planned!" But I have spoken to all sorts of mothers who say, "Whoa. That was amazing." No matter how things go, there is a moment, where you are nothing but proud at what you created. Where you feel on top of the world. Like superwoman. And that is what it's all about.

So quit whining that no one told you about it. Embrace the experience, move on, grow and love that baby with all your heart. Because, there simply is, nothing else like it.

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