Saturday, February 11, 2017
When I think back to what I thought life would be like with kids, before I had kids, I laugh. And laugh. But not too hard because one of the things I actually didn't think about before I had a kid was postpartum incontinence.
I remember some of the looks I used to get when I would say things about having kids. Most people were pretty polite and would just smile. Now that Rory is here and we're almost 10 months in (still rookies, I know), I realize how insane 90% of my assumptions were. Here are some of the wildest ones, the ones that make we want to go back in time and slap the crazy talk right out of my mouth.
"We just got a puppy, so I feel like we're pretty much ready for a baby. I feel like it's pretty close to being the same thing."
I said this to colleagues at work who all had kids. They laughed. A lot. And said things like "oh ya, how many times a night does your puppy get up? How many diapers do you change in a day? How many bottles does he drink? Does he ever just cry and cry and you have no idea why?" Here's a tip for those of you without kids: never, ever, compare having a puppy to having a baby to people who have babies. When our baby was born and we were in the thick of it, it was actually NOTHING like having a puppy.
"Night feedings are going to be so cozy, so calm, such a great bonding experience with baby."
I pictured me, on a rocking chair, lovingly feeding (breast, of course) my new baby while she stared up at me. The house would be quiet, the only light coming from the dim lamp beside me. Baby would eat, coo, and fall back to sleep, as would I, with a lovely warm feeling inside. What I didn't picture was feeling completely clueless when our 45 minute feeds were be followed by 45 minute crying sprees. I didn't picture waking up with a start and thinking "did I just feed her or was that a dream?" Didn't picture the vomit-fests that followed almost every feed. Didn't picture struggling with breastfeeding, supplementing with formula, and the intense guilt that went along with it. Nowadays, I have to admit I kinda like those rare occasions when Rory wakes up fussy and I have to rock her back to sleep. Back then though - nope, nope, nopeity, nope.
"I know I'll be tired, but it really won't matter, because it's not like I'll have to get up and go to work in the morning!"
I guess I didn't realize I'd still have to get up and TAKE CARE OF A HUMAN, and not only in the morning, but at all hours of the day. Plus visit with people, feed said human, feed myself and my husband, and do about 3980234723 loads of laundry a day. The level of exhaustion was something I'd heard about but I feel like you don't really understand until you're in it. Falling asleep for five minutes and it feels like two hours. Falling asleep for two hours and it feels like five minutes. Waking up with crusted drool and bright red pillow marks on your face in a panic because the baby's been sleeping for two hours and that can't possibly be normal and there has to be something wrong but nope baby's fine and you just woke her up in your panic-induced frenzy. I also remember being heavily pregnant, suffering from insomnia and thinking (not sure if I said this out loud) "I can't wait until the baby comes and I can finally get some sleep!" Completely. Freaking. Delusional.
"Oh my gym has a daycare so that'll be great for getting back into shape."
How many times have I packed up the baby, and myself, and brought her to the gym with me? HA HA HA HA! Let's just leave it at that.
"I'm totally going to rock the whole breastfeeding thing."
I've always been a pretty healthy person. I don't get sick that often, I don't drink excessive amounts of alcohol or smoke, my body's always done pretty much what it should when it should. Which is why I always pictured myself breastfeeding my baby. I felt like it was such a natural thing, I would just put her on my breast and away we'd go. When she was born and they placed her on my chest and I was so ready for that amazing beautiful moment when she would latch and we'd be forever bonded. Except that moment didn't happen. We struggled from the beginning and, for my husband and I, it was our biggest challenge and stress as new parents. Damien desperately wanted the baby to stop crying, wanted me to stop crying, wanted to fix everything. "Babe, let's just give her some formula," he would say gently, during one of our feeding sessions. "NO!" I would say, tears streaming down my face. "I don't want to give her chemicals!" Luckily, my family doctor is an amazing, smart, very practical woman who told me that there was nothing wrong with formula, in fact, urged me to start supplementing for not only my baby's health but for my mental health. "There are many other ways to love your baby than breastfeeding," she said as I sat in her office with tears in my eyes. My doctor truly saved me in that moment, and after giving Rory a couple of ounces of formula, I couldn't believe how content she was. How bright eyed. I think that was the first time she fully opened her eyes and we looked at each other. Turns out that I totally didn't rock the whole breastfeeding thing, but also? Turns out that's ok.
"Your kids are ALWAYS sick! Maybe you should give them less sugar."
Ok, so turns out the part about kids getting sick...totally true. Rory's only 10 months, but already we've learned what all parents already know...if your kid is around other kids who are sick, they will get sick, and they will likely pass it on to you (one of Rory's fave things to do is stick her hands inside the mouths of whoever is holding her.) The fact that I 1) judged my friends and their kids for 'always being sick' and 2) thought 'less sugar' would prevent cold and flu viruses is the part that I'm ashamed of. Let's just go ahead and put this in the "what was I thinking?" file.
To everyone who listened to my crazy ideas about what having a baby was like: thanks in advance for not saying "I told you so."