Kate and I have been friends for…hang on, need to get the toes involved here, too…carry the one…holy crap…20 years. Longer than we haven’t been friends. Whimper…I’m old… At least through the modern miracle of email and cell phone plans with unlimited minutes we are able to keep in touch easier. I don’t think her psyche could handle reading hand-written letters from me anymore; there’s a valid reason I learned to type like a maniac. She’s like a sister to me and I love her dearly. And since I know you’ll go to her website, drop her an email as well and tell her how fanfreakingtastic her photography is. I have one of her prints hanging where I can see it every day and it never fails to bring me peace.
Kate is pregnant with her first child, a son. Now, that alone gets me to laughing. She will be a member of the Sisterhood of Sons and I’m proud to have her join me there. Snicker… Please remember I love her like a sister…but she has no idea what’s about to hit. Not the whole having a baby thing…but the having a son thing. Damn, I love having boys. Ain’t nothin’ like ’em. I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately; she’s about to have her first, and my oldest is about to turn 7…and if they share a birthday I’ll be thrilled. When I had A I didn’t know any other moms or pregnant women, except my sister in law, who lives in Iowa. No one nearby, and I was so isolated. Kate and her husband just relocated to southern Illinois, so I’m a bit worried about her. At least she’ll have some family in the state.
I thought about the things I wish I’d known before A was born…even though I probably wouldn’t have believed anyone had they told me, or would have totally blown off the advice. So today I bring you “Thirteen Things I Want Kate To Know Before Giving Birth…Even Though She’s Well Within Her Rights To Totally Ignore Every.Single.One. Of These.”
- Childbirth hurts. Um…duh! Despite this, women have been getting knocked up and poppin’ out kiddos forever. The old analogy of pulling your bottom lip over your head is not entirely accurate. Think more of…hmmm…being drawn and quartered by rabid bunny rabbits while a very large rubber hose is wrapped around your gut by pink elephants laughing at your
blood-curdling screams paindiscomfort. Something like that. Drugs are good, but if Lil’ Elvis insists on coming fast and furious and you don’t get so much as a Tylenol (yes, I’m talking to you, J!), well…I feel your pain.
- Ok. I know your husband is a wonderful man. Regardless, at some point during the delivery, you are going to want to wring his neck, scream at him to shut the absolute f*ck up, and hit him with an IV stand. And every single woman who has gone through childbirth will support you at your trial.
- Your husband is also an anesthesiologist. When the time comes that he clicks into “doctor” mode out of “incredibly supportive, would you like more ice chips because I love you so much and I know I did this to you-husband” mode, those same women would also testify that you were well within your rights to insist he have an enema administered right then and there.
- If, for some reason, nursing is difficult (and since it’s not something you’ve been practicing since you had boobs, it probably will be a little challenging), don’t despair. Make friends with the lactation consultant at the hospital. Insist you meet with her before you are discharged. Send her flowers. Bake her a cake. Give her a gift card for a pedicure. You want to be friends with this woman, for she is going to grab your tits and squeeze them and stretch them and do things you never heard of in health class (oh, and the whole lanolin thing? Skip it…my kids just slid right off; no fun for either of us). And, if for some reason, nursing just won’t work, it isn’t your fault. Sometimes that happens, that’s why formula was invented. Your job is simply to feed the child, somehow. Get food into him. A well-fed boy is a happy and sleeping boy. I speak from experience here. I so desperately wanted nursing to work and tried everything, when the best course for A would have been to just formula him from the start. My body couldn’t give him the nourishment he needed and he was hungry and crabby and miserable. Funny how he finally started to sleep through the night when he started on solid foods. Just remember it isn’t your fault.
- At some point in the first year of Lil’ Elvis’ life, you are going to want to divorce your husband at least once. I say this, not because I know any details of your marriage, but because every woman I’ve known has flipped to “attorneys” in the phone book at least once that first year. Before you drop-kick him to the curb, go out with a friend. Trust me.
- Once you’ve got the nursing thing down and can tipple again, join a wine of the month club…because you’re going to want the wine and you’re going to feel like Sleezy Mama of the Year if you go into a liquor store with a newborn. Don’t ask how I know this.
- And join Netflix if you haven’t already. I can’t remember the last grownup movie I saw in a theater. Oh…Pirates 3. Eh… That said, I can practically recite Cars.
- One word: Spanx.
- Get help. You will need/want/pray for help. I don’t know what kind of help you’re thinking of, but I’m thinking of someone coming to clean your house a few times a month. It’s something that I wish I had been able to do when my sons were born, but couldn’t. It’s something now I’m considering, but probably won’t go through with (I’m still hoping for those elusive extra hours in a day…). Hire someone to clean your house; you don’t want to take “baby is sleeping thankgod” time to clean, you want to sleep then.
- Find a playgroup/moms support group. Now, playgroups aren’t for the kids, they are for the moms, don’t let anyone tell you differently. Playgroups exist solely for moms so they don’t go batshit crazy staying home with the kids. You can get together with other moms, drink coffee, and share birth stories (BTW, those stories are the major topic of conversation until your kids start school; then it’s deconstructing the teachers). And moms’ groups exist so moms can get the heck out of the house without the children for a change (and for getting recommendations for babysitters). I recommend Mothers & More.
- It will get easier, I swear to the heavens above, it does get easier. He will sleep, he will sleep, he will sleep. I promise…and this is coming from someone who gets run through the wringer daily by her
- After procuring a babysitter, get out of the house with your husband; it’ll prevent the inclination to drop-kick him to the curb.
- Finally, and this is one that I struggle with daily…you are not a failure as a mother if you do not absolutely love every.single.freaking.minute. of being a mom. Really, how much can you adore wiping up snot, changing another “holy hell, he exploded!!!” diaper, and picking up the Hot Wheels for the eleventy billionth time that day so no one dies stepping on them? It is the hardest job I’ve ever had and I will be completely honest here. There are days when I hate being a mom, there are days when I tolerate being a mom, and there are days when I’m content to be a mom. I rarely have days when I love everything about being a mom. And that’s ok. I think a lot of women feel this way, but few are willing to come clean about it. I adore my sons to the point of breathlessness, but being a mom is a tough, dirty, unappreciative job. It requires that you put yourself on the back burner indefinitely and you risk losing yourself there. At the very least, you get that disgusting “food skin” on top. Bleh. But you also get sweet smiles and kisses and tickles and “I love you”s and you can fart in public and blame it on the kids…not that I know anything about that. It’s all good. Just be sure to learn the words to all the fart songs. You are having a boy, after all.
So there ya go. Take it or leave it…just don’t leave me. ‘Cause I’m dying to kiss Lil’ Elvis. Ain’t nothin’ like boys.