I’ve often wondered why people start a conversation by saying, “I’m going to be honest with you.” Is everything you normally say a bunch of horseshit, but now you will bother to take time to share but a small momentary truth with me? Should I be honored? Or, is “I’m going to be honest with you” just filler language, much like “You know what I’m sayin’?” or “Now…um…let me see.”
In this case, I am going to be honest about something women never seem to want to be honest about. I mean, I always knew that women were prone to try to destroy one another rather than build one another up. But, when I became a mother, I really understood how this dynamic existed for the very first time.
Throughout my pregnancy, I wondered why Jenny McCarthy was the only one who would tell me the truth about what was going to happen to me. Varicose veins, sciatica, indigestion, hemorrhoids, nausea, vomiting, completely messed up dreams, food aversions, migraines, incontinence, acid reflux — the list goes on. But, oh, that acid reflux. Each night I would wake up about a half a dozen times with the feeling that I was gagging and choking on hot acid someone had poured down my throat as I slept. Woulda been nice if SOMEONE would have mentioned this to me before. Really, people.
My husband and I tried for a very long time to have our first child. A few years prior, a family member went through gastric bypass surgery. To qualify for the surgery, she had to undergo a littany of tests, including psychiatric batteries which would determine her emotional fitness to carry out the long-term responsibilities of dealing with a major life-altering surgery.
Yet, when I sought medical advice to become pregnant, no one warned me of the side effects, questioned my fitness to handle the long-term responsibilities of my decision, discussed the hardships it would dispatch upon my body or even just mention how hard being a mom might be.
Why might we worry more that someone might not be able to give up Snickers than we do whether someone might be fully ready to handle something like –say– natural childbirth with vaginal tearing? Or 23 hours of back labor? Or 3 months of a baby’s colic?
The truth is: women hate each other. Its primal. We just fucking hate each other. There’s no other explanation.
Well, until now.
I decided that enough was enough. So, Off Duty Mom is giving it to you straight with the top five things no one ever told you would happen as you become a mom…
1. No matter how wonderful your partner is, this is not a partnership. One person will be the primary care-giver. The less you expect your partner to do his/her “fair” part, the less you will be disappointed by that person’s consistent failure to live up to your fantasy. Do not fool yourself into believing that child-raising is a 50/50 job between two loving parents. It is not. No, your partner isn’t different. And, worse, if you are hoping that “things will get better between [you] once the baby comes,” they will NOT. Having a child is extremely intense. And, if your partner was an asshole before your life’s biggest stressor existed, he or she is just going to prove that you hadn’t seen nothin’ before.
2. Being pregnant sucks. Lots of women tell you about how beautiful everything was and, when they see you stretched out in your ninth month, they’ll say, “oh–I MISS being pregnant. I just loved every minute of it.” They are liars. Every minute of it is absolutely not roses and rainbows. And, when they tell you how wonderful their delivery was and how they just don’t remember the pain, please know that that is because the pain is so intense that they probably blacked out from it. Seriously. Now, pregnancy is not the same for everyone and some do have an easier go at it, but even people fortunate enough to have a relatively easy pregnancy will still have embarassing gas, occasional constipation, minor headaches, pretty terrible fatigue, back pain, swollen and throbbing ankles, and/or uncontrollable sweating. Pregnancy is not beautiful, though it brings something beautiful into existence. If you keep your eye on that prize, you, too, can eventually be one of the lucky ones who may forget about things like diarrhea and pester some young, plump woman in a grocery store about how much you miss being pregnant. Just remember not to touch that stranger’s belly. Always remember how much you hated that.
3. From the moment you hear you’re going to be a parent, you will never stop worrying again. You’ll worry your pregnancy won’t be carried to term, that you will have health issues, whether you made the right decision not to get that amnio, that your child might not be popular, that someone will kidnap her, that teachers won’t be nice to her, that she’ll fall and get hurt, that she’ll want to hurt herself, that she’ll marry a real prick… The list goes on and on and changes over time, but it never gets any easier.
4. You’ll never be the same again. Losing weight is very difficult after delivery unless you have full-time childcare help. Very little of your time will be for YOU, so getting to the gym or to your yoga studio like you did before will be nearly impossible — and your ability to get back into shape will be further delayed if you have had a C-Section. And, if you deliver vaginally, you will bleed a whole lot. Really, I mean it — please prepare yourself. They give you soak-proof bed pads to protect your sheets for a few DAYS. They tell you that you should only call a doctor if you soak through the largest of the maxi pads each hour. You heard me right. So, soaking them every other hour is considered normal. And, there’s more. Your boobs will sag practically the day after your milk dries up and they will never — absolutely never — look the same ever again. Though you were never pregnant in your ass, that, too, will drop an inch or two inexplicably. Sorry. And, don’t believe your OB/GYN: your varicose and spider veins will likely not go away after you deliver. Neither will hemorrhoids. But, the relief from the acid reflux is basically instantaneous, so at least you have that going for you…
5. Every minute of being a mother is hard. But, it is amazing and wonderful all at the same time. But, this blog is about the truth about the hard parts, so perhaps we should focus here. I love my children, but there is never a moment of my day when I am not tired. And, stop trying to think that things will get easier when he can feed himself/potty on his own/ go to grade school/ drive himself around. It will not get easier. It will simply get different.
Now, at almost 9:30 pm, I will go now to fall into bed and hope that my infant child will sleep more than four hours in a row. And, if he doesn’t, perhaps that will just provide me with a little creative fuel to blog in the future about being a mom between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am. There’s a whole lot to say about that…