This weekend, I had a rare opportunity to get away for a night with the girls. The conversation as it often does shifted to our husbands and our children. One of the ladies in our company did not have any kids. She listened as we told horror stories about botched birth plans, sleepless nights & a variety of other less than pleasant experiences. After sitting silently for a while, she finally chimed in, “The more I listen to people with kids, the more I realize that I don’t want them.”
I realized at this moment, that this is probably the case for any non-parent sitting back & looking in. How many of us only talk about the negative things, whether it be about our work, our husbands or our kids? The good stuff is never nearly as much fun to talk about. I find my friends and I arguing over whose child was the worst infant & who now has the most tantrums & meltdowns. I think mine normally wins. There are many different facets to parenthood, some are good, some are bad & some are just plain nasty.
All of these things began as early as pregnancy. Some people I know loved being pregnant, I however did not. I had every possible pregnancy symptom that there was. If only 5% of pregnant women had it, I fell in that 5%. I had morning sickness, let me correct that, I had all day sickness for 8 out of the 9 months. My toothbrush terrified me to the core because of it.
I had nose bleeds, carpal tunnel, round ligament pain, hemorrhoids, constipation & heartburn so bad that I did not eat in my 3rd trimester. When my ninth month hit, I could hardly wait for my pregnancy to be over. I was eating fresh pineapple & eggplant, massaging the webs between my fingers & tweaking my nipples while simultaneously bouncing on a yoga ball. That baby needed to come out.
When the time finally came, nothing went as planned. During my 24 hour labor I had 4 botched epidurals, endless Pitocin induced contractions & an emergency C-section that was a thing of nightmares.
In the hospital, I struggled as my daughter & I tried to learn together how to nurse & feed. Breastfeeding is not as simple as it seems. I cried for days as tried unsuccessfully to nourish my baby as an unsupportive nurse hollered at me for doing it incorrectly.
Once home, those tears continued as my nipples chafed, the lack of sleep set in, and I flipped through books & websites trying to find ways to get my daughter to stop crying.
Parenthood is a difficult thing. You surrender your independence & your freedom to this little creature. You don’t realize how much you took for granted before. Things like running to the store for milk or going to the bank are no longer a simple process. Sleeping in is a thing of the past, unless you consider 7 am sleeping in. Your immaculately decorated home now looks like Romper Room threw up all over it. Trips to the grocery store alone feel like a day at the spa. You need to schedule time to take a shower. Privacy in the bathroom is non-existent.
You get pissed on, puked on & pooped on. You may even get lucky & have all three done at the same time. Freshly picked boogers will be handed to you on a regular basis. Your lunch menu consists of half-eaten, soggy cheese sandwiches & left over juice with backwash. Breastfeeding, diapers, potty training, tantrums & tears, these are all a part of being a mother or a father. I have been exhausted for the past 2 years, 8 months and 16 days.
Before we made the decision to start a family, these were the things that scared me off from wanting children. My friends never shared the good things with me. If you think that you can handle all of the above, remember that there must be some reason that even after all of this, women are still willing to try for baby #2. Being a parent is tough, but trust me when I say that it is worth it.
Here are some of the things that make it all worthwhile…
The first time you hold your new baby in your arms
The anticipation & excitement of every milestone
Watching & hearing them laugh
Every kiss, even the snotty nosed ones
The first time you hear mama or dada
Seeing them grow & transform
The sweet sound of all the I love yous.
Seeing parts of yourself mirrored through your child
The awe & excitement in their face when they experience something new.
All of the funny things that they say that make you smile or laugh
The pride you feel as you watch them learn new things
Being the one that teaches them those new things
Unconditional love & forgiveness
Hearing them screaming “Mommy!” when you come home from work
Hearing them sing
What are your favorite things about being a mother? Let’s share all the great things too.