14 Feb Ten Things I Never Anticipated
So I have been at this motherhood thing about 22 months. To say it has been a ride is an understatement. A big understatement. Pregnancy for a first time mom brings about a sort of naivete if you will. You work so hard to take your pregnancy as far as you can and just when you think you have accomplished the most amazing challenge of your life the real lessons haven’t even begun and your entire thought process morphs into something you could never have predicted nor would you have ever believed if you read in any of the million pregnancy self-helps books out there or been told by family and friends. I would like to share with you my candid list of the ten things I never expected after having children.
- That I would ever be so comfortable being naked in front of complete strangers. Let me clarify this before you start thinking I just go around stripping. I conceived thru IVF the second time around. Between all of the pre-testing (holy hell the HSG procedure), the needles, and the timed visits that literally rule your life to the actual pregnancy itself. When you carry multiples your visits are far more frequent along the way. I would also like to mention that your anatomy scans alone are a guaranteed two hours and could be even longer when trying to decipher genders! It’s safe to say that you spend more time in gowns than actual clothes. It gets to the point that you tell the doctor they don’t even have to leave the room while you change because literally everyone has already seen your pretty far more than you have. In the hospital you’re surrounded by numbers of medical professionals that you have never seen before and you truthfully think, and for some of us outwardly say, “I could care less who is looking at my vagina, boobs, swollen well everything, cellulite )shit there is a ton of it), and how little I have shaved down there in the amazon because well I can’t get there at the present moment and I honestly don’t care.”
- How I could be hit with postpartum depression and anxiety at all, let alone so fiercely and so quickly. As I’m sure you have read in some earlier posts PPD and PPA hit me within two days of having my boys. The drop in hormones was severe and my body was in what I like to call shock. This shock hit like one of the strongest earthquakes that could hit someone and didn’t begin to subside for what felt like forever. Asking a pregnant woman in her third trimester how she is feeling emotionally is not enough prenatal care for such a possible catastrophic event that could occur in a woman’s life. We need to be more prepared with the tools to first recognize what we are feeling and then identify with it, but to also give us first time moms more of an insight into the first few months at home. Meeting with a social worker or counselor should be covered by insurance companies and play far more of a role in the prenatal care process. So many women cannot decipher between “the blues,” and “this really doesn’t feel right” and I believe more focus on this underserved topic could help save many lives.
- I thought I knew what love was when I met my husband but I was not prepared to ever say that I will never love my husband like I love my kids. OK, let’s not get bent out of shape here. Let me explain. The love you feel for your children is a different kind of love, a different kind of passion, a different kind of emotion. It’s a consuming love that almost takes your breath away each and every day. It’s the continual uneasy feeling and worry that you carry with you day in and day out. It’s the maze of chaos in your brain 24/7 trying to keep doctor’s appointments straight, clothing sizes up to date, the “foods of the moment” fully stocked in your pantry, ensuring milestones are met, what diaper size they have moved into and trying to wrap your head around how they could grow several inches over night. It’s the continuous staring at the monitor in hopes that they will move just once more so you know they are breathing. It’s the feeling that you would literally trade your life for theirs without a second thought. It’s deep rooted in your soul in a place that was saved just for them. I love my husband with everything I have and consider myself incredibly lucky that my children get to have such a strong role model for a father and I, in turn, such a strong and amazing best friend, but the love I have for my kids consumes me and has altered my life forever. Each day I say thank you and pray that they remain healthy, happy, and safe. All we could ask for in life.
- That I could be so madly in love with my kids but absolutely loathe them at the same time. If you are in the toddler years, as I am, you know that toddlers are worse than us during that time of the month. Between the mood swings and the indecisiveness it could literally make you want to tell them to go “F themselves” (and maaaaybe some of us have muttered that under our breath at one time or another), flip them the finger and walk out. They are the most selfish beings on the planet, often times little assholes, and they suck the life out of you. There are days that you literally don’t know how you are standing and all we continually think about is when our heads could hit the pillow, but after the day is done you find yourself standing over their crib reaching to pick them up because you miss them. And you get up the next day to do it all over again. You hustle and wouldn’t trade it for the world…unless they were using glitter during arts and crafts. Yes then you would trade it.
- How leaving the house looking, and possibly smelling, like something that just crawled out of your trash can becomes the norm. Just yesterday I went to the dentist after the boys went down and I didn’t have time to change my clothes after work. I walked in and my pants were covered with cheese, peanut butter and banana in addition to a few strands from our Bulldog. There are days where I cannot remember if I have showered let alone the last time I shaved. I have worn the same outfit for days on end and folded and put away dirty laundry from the hamper thinking it was clean and ended up wearing dirty clothes. I have forgotten deodorant more times than I could count and have had to stop at drug stores for gum because I also forgot to brush my teeth. I don’t even know what a manicure and pedicure that doesn’t consist of 5+ month old nail polish and just cutting your nails down not to deal with them is anymore. My 20-something year old self would find me repulsive. My current self thinks it’s pretty badass to get that many days out of the same outfit and go a solid 24 hours without knowing that I had a fruit snack in my hair.
- How I would become part of a sisterhood that I never even knew existed. Right from the start when I was battling PPD and PPA I had friends of friends that I never met reach out to me with words of support, offers to come and help, in addition to sending my husband and I food. I remember crying hysterically in the very beginning that all I wanted was for someone to bring me a lasagna. Of all things! I didn’t want to cook and my husband and I were barely surviving between the sleep deprivation and lack of eating. You begin to crave the words of other parents. You begin to crave their support and their own experiences because you long to know that you are not alone in how you feel or what you’re going thru. Your relationships are based on an unspoken understanding that it may be a really long time in between conversations or get-togethers yet neither side becomes upset or judgy and you could still text each other out of the blue, without even saying hello first, to get advice for a sick child and you’re loved just the same. You become part of a network of pure hot messes that are truly so incredibly beautiful at the same time.
- I never knew what my mother actually went thru, especially as a single parent, to raise my sister and I and how grateful I would become for all of her sacrifices. I also never knew how much she loved me until now. I am not part of the group “Moms with Moms.” I don’t get to pick up the phone to call my mother to come rescue me with the kids. I don’t get to look at family photos of my mom with her grandkids. I never got to have my mother grab my hand, or hug me, when I was at my lowest with postpartum depression and anxiety and remind me of all the ways I am strong. I never knew that I would miss the friendship that develops between mothers and daughters as you get older and how I would long for my bestie. Once I became a mom I had this guilt swarm over me for all I put her through as an emotional child and even more emotional, and at often times, out of balance teenager and young adult. I always knew my mother was a hero but becoming a parent made her suddenly walk on water. I was finally able to say from my gut, “I get it now.”
- That I would go from the woman in the store that would say to herself, “Can someone please stop that child from crying,” to the woman that rushes over to help the mom with the screaming child. My husband and I, at one point, were dead set on not having children. We loved to travel, and travel we did, and loved being able to come and go as we pleased. Even more so we loved spending our money on experiences and ourselves. That changed one night as we were talking and I asked him if he thought when we reached our 50’s if we would regret not having children. It took him all of a second to say, “yes,” although I already knew that was my answer. Once you become a parent your wiring changes. You become the woman in the store that looks at the mother of the screaming child and says, “You’re doing a great job. Can I help?,” because you could sense that she may need it. You become so in tune to other parents and their needs.
- That I would crave the old me more than I thought. This momlife is hard! Continually worrying about everyone else and their needs is exhausting. Continually anticipating the needs of said individuals is even more exhausting. We put 99% into our family and 1%, if that, into ourselves. We don’t workout as much as we used to. We don’t buy anything new for ourselves like we used to. We don’t have the energy like we used to and we certainly don’t take care of ourselves like we used to. Our brains slowly melt away between the, well in my case, IVF brain, then pregnancy brain, and then the mom brain which seems to be holding pretty steady at 22 months in. I have become comfortable with the fact that even the simplest of questions now takes me a few seconds to answer depending on the amount of coffee I have consumed, sleep I have gotten and overall moods of my children that day, which in turn determines mine. With all of this there is not much room left as compared to the old days of me, me, me. It’s a continuous hamster wheel though. We don’t want to be depended on for literally everything like we are, but we also find comfort in it as well. Still I would like to go back to one of those crazy nights in that brand new outfit and where my make-up was on point but in actuality the thought of how much energy that would expend makes me slightly nauseas.
- That my heart would sink as they grew and exerted their independence because I didn’t want them to not need me. By nature change is hard for me, always has been. But when your child that you could have sworn yesterday could barely hold his head up doesn’t want to hold your hand because he wants to be a “big boy” and do “it” himself, there is a sense of emptiness. You don’t know what to do with this situation and all of a sudden you find yourself lost. You get yourself back for a quick second to be in awe of what they can do, but then tears form in your eyes as you long for the dependent boy he once was.
What are some of the ways becoming a parent has surprised you?