Monday, October 11, 2010

New Motherhood

Today at Target I walked past the baby section on my way to the much, much more fun Halloween section.  As I meandered past, I saw a very pregnant woman and her spouse, agonizing over receiving blankets....would this bright pattern be too distracting or would it stimulate young junior's mind in a good way?  As I laughed to myself, I heard this woman say to her husband, "it really doesn't matter, my mom said I slept through the night the minute I came home from the hospital so I'm sure not much is going to change..." She kept babbling, he kept nodding and I kept laughing.  My ass off.  I feel a public service announcement is necessary in the form of my tiny little blog...perhaps one night an overwhelmed new or expecting mother will google "new motherhood" and this will come up.  And she will feel much, much better.

Guide to New Motherhood - Everything You Need to Know from Birth through the First Month

Birth - Stop envisioning yourself showered in a golden light, looking fantastic as you sip on a cup of tea and ever so slightly moan at a nagging little pain. Reality is much, much different.  First, you will be hooked up to a monitor.  Then get a blood pressure cuff.  And a finger blood oxygen thing.  An IV.  If you are super lucky, they will pump you full of Pitocin which is code word for  incinerating pain. Now, labor pains are unreal.  They are a deep, deep, intense, insane mind numbing pain.  If you decide to get an epidural, you will have to literally sign your life away while someone you've never met sticks a long ass needle in your spine...but the pain is SO awful, you will happily do this.  Once this lovely event happens, you get the enjoyable catheter with the bag of pee it's connected to hooked onto your hospital bed like some disgusting purse. You will wonder, at least once, if you are actually dying because the pain is so intense.  Your husband will become the jackass who doesn't understand what you are going through.  (Note to the dads: Don't talk about how tired you are, how hungry you are or how you wish "something would happen already".  Don't.  And after the mother of your child goes through this hell? Do not, under ANY circumstances, talk about how you don't think you can get a vasectomy because it would REALLY hurt.  No. Don't.  Trust me.)  People you have never met and probably will never see again will snap on gloves and get to third base with you.  If your darling little baby doesn't come the way nature intended, you will start hearing the phrases "not progressing" and "take the baby".  When these start floating around, that means  you are heading to the operating room.  Regardless of how your baby makes his or her way into the world, the minute you hear that cry, you're a mother.  And your life as you know it?  Is over.

Hair - Kiss it good-bye.  Mother Nature let you hang onto it during your pregnancy but the Hormone Fairy will pull rank, do her action and your once lustrous hair will start falling out.  What that bitch doesn't take away,  your baby will.  The only thing harder to pry open than a pickle jar is a baby's fist...and babies love to grab fistfuls of hair and yank it out.  Repeatedly.  Side note: They also do this will earrings, so dangly ones need to be put away so you can keep your earlobes in one piece and studs need to go because they are a choking hazard.

Skin - If you are nursing, it will be dryer than sandpaper, no matter how many bottles of water you drink.  Oh, and those bright red streaks on your hips, boobs and stomach? Yeah, those are stretch marks and they aren't leaving.  Ever. No amount of Baby Belly Butter or whatever the fuck cream in a fancy tub you buy to make these things go away, they aren't leaving.  Deal with it.

Muscle Tone - Unless you are some freak of nature, this changes as well.  Things jiggle that never did before.  Things droop.

Boobs - When your milk comes in, these look SPECTACULAR!  Of course, they will feel like someone has made two cuts just below your collar bone and dumped 5 pounds of pea gravel in your boob cavity but for about 2 minutes, it's worth it because again, they look so good.  Your husband will lose his shit and want to play with your new boobs.  This is out of the question because they are excruciating.  And you get to attempt to latch a very hungry, strong nursing baby to these things.  Now, unless you have twins, your other boob will be confused once the feeding frenzy has begun and it will order the release of milk.  This might come in the form of a drip, a drop or a spray.  It's really nice if  you are laying down and this happens because then it comes out in geyser form and you end up with a breast milk shower if you didn't have the forethought to cover it up before you begin nursing. You will need breast pads.  Like little mattresses for your boobs.  What's really awesome is when you are out in public and your baby cries and you end up with two wet stains on your shirt.  So trust me, you will need breast pads. 

Stomach - If you housed a large baby and because of his size, had to have a c-section, you have your own built in Boppi. 

Eyes - They will be bloodshot, half-open and have sets of luggage under them because sleeping is part of your past.   Also, everything will look different because you are seeing things through the eyes of a mother.  That little outfit with all the buttons you got when you were pregnant that you thought was so cute? It might as well have the words "I will choke your baby" embroidered on it.  The couch will look like some medieval suffocating device because what if the baby somehow got wedged in between the seat cushions??  Forget about window blinds...can you say "baby noose"?!  The toilet looks like a death trap and you will wonder if your grandma was right and if your 15 year old arthritic cat really can suck the baby's air out. Everything looks different.  Everything.

Mind - Sesame Street is on at a very early hour.  You will watch this because it's either that or the farm report or infomercials and you will figure the baby might subliminally pick up on the alphabet while you sit with him or her at 4am, half asleep.  You will get to know the whole gang.  You will have a favorite.  Yes. You will. (Oscar!)  Aside from taking care of your baby, your mind is shot.  You will be ridiculously sleep deprived and hormonal.  These two ingredients will turn you into a drooling idiot for a few months.  But don't worry, what you lose in IQ points, you will make up with your knowledge of all things related to mastitis and hemorrhoids.

Sleep - I can not stress this enough. You won't get any.  Not enough, anyway.  You may even be lucky enough to deal with a colicky baby who NEVER sleeps and ONLY wants to nurse.  You might go weeks and weeks before you sleep more than a few hours here and there.  There might come a time when your baby finally falls asleep, boob still in her little mouth.  Then you will watch her body start to stiffen, and her face get red. Then you will feel hot poop explode out of her diaper that looks like watery Dijon mustard.  You might even have the energy to be appalled at yourself for actually contemplating if you should wake the baby to get you both cleaned up , an act which will piss her off and keep you from getting that much coveted nap or if you will literally sit in shit in order to close your eyes for a few minutes. 

The Dad - Your baby's dad will be the rock star.  He will come home from work, kiss the baby, hold the baby and give the baby back.  This will last for a few minutes.  A mother is like a tugboat, the baby is the barge and the dad is the groovy speed boat that zips looks exciting and it's fun.  However, the tugboat is going to keep the barge going in the right direction, staying on course, no matter how many rough waters she comes across. This? Is why professional athletes say hi to their moms on national television.  They know that deep down, it's the tugboat that got them from point A to point B.  Every man I know has at one time, when his wife was nursing, thrown his hands up in the air, shrugged his shoulders and said "I'd like to help her out, but I don't have boobs."  Yes, even your Prince Charming will say some version of that line of bullshit...and he will think that because he doesn't have boobs, he's pretty much off the baby hook.  Yes, he will. 

The Baby - makes all of the above worth it. Take pictures, because you won't remember a whole lot...and before you know it, your baby won't be a baby anymore...


  1. even though it's been ALMOST 42 years... I remember... remember well... remember ALL and I agree! (with every single sentence)...and I applaud your honest and forthright evaluation!
    and add...........I would do it again in a heartbeat..because I love them that much.

  2. Love your blog Andrea!