Wednesday, June 25, 2014

5 things i wish i knew:

In case you didn't know, I am a planner. A total type A personality. So, when I got pregnant, I did it all. I read all the books. I spent hours on the internet researching. I talked to ladies who had little ones. I watched documentaries and tv shows to prepare myself. I thought I had it all together. I was as ready as I was ever going to be. And then life happened. I know they say you can never be prepared for a baby and you probably think to yourself, "I know, I know, but I feel really prepared". Well, guess what? You're not. There is absolutely no way you can be ready because if it's your first baby, you really have no idea what to expect. You can't be ready because you don't know what to be ready for. You have no basis for comparison.

I did my best to prepare myself for pregnancy and birth. Yes, there were some unforeseen complications, but mostly I think I did okay. What I failed to consider, however, was what comes next. You know, the whole newborn thing. And while baby M is a really good baby and easy to manage (most days), I have really struggled lately with everything that has happened to my body. No one ever really talks about that. They tell you all about the magical things that are happening to your body during pregnancy and the actual birth process, but the stories usually stop there. No one tells you about the weeks and months that follow. So for all you women soon to be in my shoes, here is what I know. Here is what I wish someone would have told me:

  1. You will cry. A lot. For every tiny little reason and sometimes for no reason at all. This does not mean you're crazy or anything, it's just that your body has just birthed a tiny human being and sometimes it takes a while to process that. And also because your body is pretty much just a huge sack of hormones right now. You will cry because you have just been through a very traumatic, life-changing event. You will cry because one day soon that tiny person will grow up and not need you anymore. You will cry because your pants don't fit. This is all normal. It goes away after a while. But I really do think the whole overemotional phase changes you. All my life I have been someone who doesn't like to show emotion. I've always operated under the whole "showing emotion makes you seem weak" thing. When my body breaks down emotionally without my brain's permission, it always makes me angry. But after that whole birth thing, I no longer operate this way. Maybe it's because I've ugly cried over so many things so many times since M was born that I am desensitized to it. I no longer let it phase me. I cry when I feel like crying and I don't care who sees. Life's too short to hold it all in. And once I turned it on, I can't seem to turn it off. I'm a major weeper now. 
  2. All sense of modesty will go out the window. I used to be an incredibly modest person. That's over now. Having complete strangers mess around with your lady parts (and in my case, internal organs) will do that to a person. And if it doesn't, the whole having your husband help you to the bathroom postpartum and witness the shit storm that is happening down there definitely will. But this is a good thing because motherhood and modesty don't mesh. It all just preparation for life with kids and never getting to pee with the door closed ever again. I think my friends who are mothers can testify to this.
  3. You will not immediately lose as much weight as you think you will. I thought I'd go in, have the baby, and leave about 20-30 pounds lighter. That was not the case, my friends. At my two week postpartum visit with my doctor, I had only lost 14 pounds. In two weeks. Not at all what I was expecting. It was a rude awakening. The weight is still coming off but very slowly. It's a slow process and I am still learning to accept that and have patience.
  4. Breastfeeding hurts. Oh man, does it hurt. And it's hard. I thought you could just pop the kid on there and they'd take it from there. Nope. They don't really know what to do any more that you do. You kind of have to figure it out together. And in the meantime, they will tear your nipples up. But it does get easier. I like to compare it to breaking in a new pair of shoes. At first, they hurt and give you blisters but after a while your feet get used to them and then everything's good and they look really cute. And so it is with boobs. Just hang in there and after awhile it won't hurt anymore. Just make sure you get yourself some good cream. I'm told it hurts less with the second kid. Let's hope this is true.
  5. You will struggle with your identity. I had just figured out who I was and then this baby came along and changed everything. Suddenly I have this person who relies on me for absolutely everything and it's a little overwhelming sometimes. It takes a lot out of you. There are a lot of days when I don't feel like myself at all (and then I cry, because, well, you know). I struggle with being a mom and maintaining my sense of self -- those interests and hobbies I had before he came along. Yes I am a mother now but I'm still me. I still want the same things and like the same things as before. I'm sure I'm not the only person who feels this way but so many mothers that I see act like being a mother is the most important and most fulfilling thing in their lives, almost like it's the only thing they are anymore. Call me crazy, but I don't want that. I don't want to be just a mother. I want to be me -- the person I have always been who just also happens to be a mother now.
So many moms feel like they have to act like they've got it together all the time. How exhausting. I say now is probably the #1 time in your life when it's acceptable to not have it together. The world will totally understand. I plan on taking full advantage of that. I am a mess. I'm pretty sure my shirt has both spit up and urine on it. Every day is a struggle. I don't pretend to be perfect. And I think it's easier that way. Keeping up appearances is too exhausting. I'm already exhausted enough and I still have so much more to figure out. 


Katherine Grant said...

Good stuff! There's a lot more we could add, but it may not be blog appropriate (remind me I have a funny story for you)! There's much no one told me, but if they had, I might have never had a kid, much less two. It does get easier though, (breastfeeding hurts way less the second time around!) and before long you'll look like you have it all together to new moms who are just figuring this messy mom thing out. But no one does, I am learning something new everyday, balancing life with little ones is hard work (no matter how much you cry) this job is not for the weak. You'll find you're stronger than you ever knew. Love you!

K.walk said...

I love this, Marghen!! AND I love you! AND I love that I get to see you soon!!! :-) But also glad that I'm stalking you online. :-) CUz that's what friends do when they're on vacation and finally have time to stalk their friends...:-) Obsessed with you as always.