Thursday, October 13, 2011

Some Words for New Moms

A lot of readers responded with concern to my last post regarding our bout of HAND, FOOT, and MOUTH disease. I am happy to report that we are fully cured and, as of this week, 100% sore free!

The post seemed particularly troubling to the subset of SFD's readership made up of new or soon-to-be-new moms.

My sister-in-law, who has a newborn at home, responded:

"Great - another thing I didn't know about that I have to put on my list of concerns!"

Which is why I am now considering placing a warning label on posts covering topics such as child-borne plagues, breastfeeding-related traumas, and potty-training mishaps.

Something along the lines of:


Because the reality is that there is really no upside to knowing what's coming down the pike. 

We went to our neighbors' house for dinner over the weekend and discovered that they are expecting their first baby. They had a ton of questions for us child-producing veterans, and I attempted to convey useful information while staying simultaneously upbeat.

For example, when she inquired....

Does labor really hurt?

"YES! I had an unmedicated birth with my first and it was the most over-the-top crazy pain I have EVER experienced. To the point where, when I started labor with my second, the only thought running through my head was: 'I can't do this again. I CANNOT DO THIS AGAIN!'"

"You know, by the time they hand you that baby, you don't even remember what labor was like. You'll be FINE!"

...when she asked...

How bad are the diapers?

"Sure, the diapers are disgusting, but in the grand scheme of things that are terrifying about having an infant in the house, they barely register."

"Eh, the diapers never really bothered me all that much."

...and when she demanded...

How do you deal with the lack of sleep?

"You don't really deal with it. You just endure it. The first eight weeks are pretty brutal. There are times when you feel as if you've JUST put the baby down and it's crying again and it's 4am and for a moment you seriously consider walking out the front door, getting into your car, driving to the airport, and beginning a new life in Guam under the name Guadalupe Hidalgo."

"Oh, it's not that bad. You kind of gut check for a few weeks and then before you know it, it's over. I have a great sleep system. I'll email it to you."

Because as I watched the two of them trying to prepare themselves for their first baby, I was overwhelmed with a desire to try to help them not worry.

When I was pregnant with my first I spent HOURS poring over 'What to Expect When You're Expecting' nightly and reading hospital pamphlets daily to make sure I knew everything there was to know. I wanted to be PREPARED.  

But looking back, I now realize there is really no practical way to prepare oneself for a human that appears from your nether regions and then demands constant care and attention. 

So the way I figure, you might as well just relax and attempt to enjoy the kind of awesome anticipation of waiting to see what your little being is going to look like and how it is going to change your life in every single way.

Because that is crazy exciting and fun -- if you will only let it be.

Which is why I'm definitely not going to tell the neighbors about the lengthy weird eye goop phase or the part where they yell for hours for no reason. 

Definitely not.


  1. It's the great betrayal. We don't tell new moms what it's really like because--why? Or, if we do, they have a strange ability to ignore that and file it under "exaggeration" until they are actually living through and the Force stirs a little and we veterans feel a sudden urge to call the newbie and say, "See? Really craptacular. But it ends. . . eventually."

    Then we bake them something.

  2. If moms-to-be or childless couples had any idea what actually awaited them at times I'm wholly convinced humans would end up on the endangered species list within one or two generations. Sure, a few people would still have kids through sheer denial that they're the ones who will have the baby who sleeps through the night at 6 weeks old or they simply love the idea of babies more than they can stand... the rest of us mere mortals, though? We'd run screaming in the other direction and never look back.

    Or maybe not since now that my daughter is in kindergarten I find myself wanting a baby of my own to hold...

  3. I have a friend who is expecting twins in two weeks. When I met her all I could think of was "boy, she has no idea what she is in for". And I was kind if sorry for her...

  4. Perhaps because I'm a dad and don't experience the physical pain of motherhood, I share horror stories with new-moms and scare them with promises of "things you can't imagine because experienced moms keep secrets."

    IN OTHER WORDS, I let new moms know that there's a consipiracy!! I never once in all my eavesdropping heard anyone talk about sore nipples from breastfeeding or 3:00am leg cramps that wrack the body . . . Just sayin'

  5. The worst thing is that there are aftereffects that are so awful and unspoken that new moms don't even know to ask about them. Like what happens to your lady parts for WEEKS afterwards. Not such a nice development! Of course, as a person who uses words like "lady parts" I am clearly not volunteering to spread the word but JESUS that was a cruel surprise.

  6. I like you better than all the people who seem so eager to tell you their horrifying labor/delivery/non-sleeping experiences, or those of friends, or some shit they read in People but was so traumatic and scarring they just are dying to share it with you. Fuck those people, man.