Back in February, I told y'all about our friends, Matt and Erica, who were getting ready to have their first child. Well, d-day is tomorrow. The baby is breech and Erica is a tiny little thing, so they've scheduled a c-section. After I gave her the little book I made in which I compiled y'all's excellent advice, she noticed that I had not given her any advice myself and asked me to contribute something. I ended up telling her a few things, but here's what I wanted to tell her -- and I'm only putting this down here now because I'm pretty sure she's not going to read it tonight:
Y'all, that shit is hard! THAT's what I wish somebody had told me. Oh sure, they tell you it's the toughest job you'll ever love (the Army SO stole that from mothers). It's so challenging but it's so rewarding. Blah blah blah.
Nobody ever told me that it was going to be THAT hard. Nobody told me that there would be days when I dreamed -- awake of course because you never sleep -- about running away. Nobody told me that there would be days I would call my SIL, mother already to three, wailing "All he ever wants to do is nurse! I feel like that's ALL.I.DO." Nobody told me that when I went to lie down so that I could "sleep when the baby sleeps" that my ears would be constantly straining for his cry, wondering "Was that him? Did he squeak? Oh for the love of God, just go to sleep for five minutes so I CAN SLEEP." Nobody told me that, vigilant as I was for it's signs, that I would suffer from a mild case of postpartum depression. And that making that phone call to get help would be one of the hardest things I would ever do, even though I am an avid proponent of therapy in all forms.
And that's not really fair, you know? Somebody SHOULD tell you how hard it is. It's like sending you into battle with no map, no weapons, without even knowing what battle is. I think if I had had any inkling of how hard those first days, weeks, heck even months, were going to be, then I might have been better prepared. Less likely to question myself. More willing to seek help instead of thinking that I could, should, do it all myself. Less likely to beat myself up if something didn't work. Nothing about becoming a parent comes easy, but maybe knowing that would have made it easier somehow.
So should we tell soon-to-be-parents all of our horror stories? Or do we keep it a secret, making it some whacked out rite of passage that everybody has to go through? Or would we just be scaring them to death? Do they HAVE to learn it for themselves?
I don't know. Hindsight is, of course, 20-20. But I kind of wish I had known.
Updated to add: Matt and Erica's baby girl was born at 9:47 this morning. She weighed 7 lbs 10oz and everybody is doing great. And even though I wrote about how hard it all was, when I got the news I got a little teary eyed and all I could think was "Awwww....it's so wonderful." I should just shut my piehole.
5 years ago