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.