Having babies ain't for sissies. And I'm not talking about all the stuff that women go through during pregnancy. All the aches and pains and morning sickness, being kicked and prodded and having things stuck up you. It's rough. But I'm talking about actually having the baby and then life immediately after baby.
One minute you have this life inside of you that no one else really knows like you know. And then suddenly he's out in the world for everyone to see. Something so private, so personal is now out in the public. And it's wonderful to meet your baby, but you still find yourself putting your hand on your tummy or feeling something inside like a kick. Oh wait, I'm not pregnant anymore. Can't be a kick.
The nurse gives you the baby, and at first you think it's just so you can hold him. But then you realize you're supposed to feed the baby. "Hmm...how exactly is that supposed to work?" Your arms are awkward; your baby is awkward. You just don't know what body parts are supposed to go where. So you call the lactation nurse. And if you haven't already, you let go of all modesty.
After you have the baby, you feel pretty special for a few days. You have breakfast, lunch, and dinner (as disgusting as it may be) brought to you in bed. You have visitors. You receive gifts. You are full of joy. And yet there's another side to it.
When the the nurse first tells you to get up and walk (keep in mind I've only had c-sections), you look at her like she's come from another planet. "Ummm excuse me, but my insides might completely fall out if I do what you are requesting." But with moaning and gritted teeth and crying on your husband's shoulder you somehow make it to the bathroom. Forget pulling down your underwear. There's no way you can handle that yet. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
People come and see you. And you look like death. I know there are some of you women out there who look as good as you did on your wedding day, but I'm just not like that. I wish I were, and I can't say I'm not a little jealous of those post-baby beauties. But seriously, I look like I just died. My face is pale. My lips are peeling. My eyes have deep, dark circles under them. And I'm supposed to take lots of pictures like that?
And then they tell you it's time to take your baby home. And if it's your first time, you try to look like everything is fine, but inside you're thinking, "Are they crazy? I have no idea what I'm doing. I babysat in high school but never took care of infants. I still get nervous that I'm putting the diaper on wrong. I might forget something. Don't you need a degree in Parentology to take this kid home?" But, you go through the motions and get cute pics of the baby in the car and pray that your mom is at the house to help you get this baby bathed and dressed because he might wear this sweet going home gown for the rest of his life.
And once all your relatives leave your home, and once your husband goes back to work, you think, "What in the world am I doing? Are you sure I can do this BY MYSELF?" You go to Target to get out of the house and people say he's cute. And you want to say, "Do you know what I just went through? I just had a baby inside me and it was pulled, pushed, vacuumed, tugged, or cut (you chose the method) out of me days ago." But everyone just smiles at your baby. You're glad they smile, but you think people just don't get it. He was just INSIDE me. He's more than just cute. It's pretty miraculous that he's here. And it's pretty miraculous that I'm still here. And you continue to walk through the store with breasts like anatomical bombs that might explode at any moment. Or maybe you just get depressed when you pass the nursing bras and hooter hiders because you're one of the ones who can't feed your baby.You try on some clothes but determine that there no longer exists a size that fits you. Liz Lange for life!
You leave with a pack of diapers and some Mylicon drops and get in the car. What do you know? There is a radio commercial for St. Jude kids and you burst into tears. You go to Walgreens to pick up some medicine and they have the wrong insurance information. You burst into tears again. And you just can't stop crying. And it's embarrassing. And you feel like you have absolutely NO CONTROL over your emotions. But you need to stop crying because you have this adorable baby, and everyone will think you are sorry you had a baby if you don't stop crying.
You see, having a baby can make you a bit of a crazy person. It can make you pretend that you're something you're not. You feel like you need to prove to everyone that you know what you're doing, but the truth is all us parents are trying to figure it out. We're trying to make sure we don't screw our kids up by buying the bottle that causes tooth decay and we're debating on whether we should eat peanut butter while nursing because it could either give our kid an allergy to it or make him not have an allergy at all.
I just had my third kid, and I still don't feel qualified for this job. I've only been doing it for 4 1/2 years. It's rough having babies. It's the most natural thing in the world and yet the most unnatural thing in the world at the very same time. And it's precious and wonderful, but man, it just ain't for sissies.