Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sunshine and Butterflies?: An Expose on What Having a New Baby is Really Like

 Social media is full of pictures of old friends' newborn babies, and many well intentioned comments such as - "Enjoy every moment with your little one!" or "Isn't it SO much fun to be a mommy?" or "Wasn't it worth the wait?"

As the birth of my second child approaches, I find myself reminiscing on what it was like to have just given birth AND have a newborn in the house.

Admittedly, I have no idea how it feels for dads, and I certainly cannot speak for all the moms in the world. I can only speak for a handful of my friends who have all shared in many new-baby-era difficulties.

First let's address: "enjoy every moment":
 1. You're bleeding. No matter how that little homeslice arrived, you're bleeding. A lot. Ew.
 2. You're sad. Hormones are a beating. They make you sad and lonely, no matter how many people are there to help you.
 3. That tiny thing that now lives in your house needs to be fed like... every moment. Guess what - that means you have lost any identity you once had, and have become a feeding machine. Whether you are nursing, pumping, formula feeding, or a combination of any of the above, that means you're on call. At every moment.
 4. You feel super sexy because your belly still looks like you're 7 months pregnant, minus the firmness. Lots of sag. Fantastic.
 5. You smell awesome. You haven't had a chance to shower in days, and even if you have, it most likely was at least 2 spit-ups ago.
 6. You feel guilty. Either you're formula feeding because nursing just did not work out for you, or you're not cloth diapering, or you're vaccinating, or you're not vaccinating, or you're using store-brand baby lotion... And all of these decisions are against what someone told you to do.
 7. And MOST IMPORTANT - you are wondering why in the world you haven't completely lost your mind with love for your mini-me. Yes, that's your child. Yes, it's super cute. But it doesn't seem to really care if you hold it or your boss's wife holds it. It doesn't seem to really mind much, really. As long as it's got a full belly and a clean diaper. And your instincts have kicked in, so you'd have a stand-off with a lion if you needed to protect the mini-me. But that overwhelming, heart exploding joy everyone keeps talking about is missing... maybe it got stuck in the breast pump somewhere...
   - by the way, isn't it time to feed again? Don't forget to sterilize your bottles first.

The really good news is, it does get better. The mini will start smiling at you. It'll start giggling at you. It will start sleeping. It will keep growing, despite your choice to formula feed. It will start preferring you to strangers, despite your choice to pump or not co-sleep. It will still pee and poop just fine, despite your choice to use disposable diapers. You'll stop wondering why you STILL smell like spit-up. You will start to breathe outside air again, and interact with adults.
And best of all, that overwhelming, heart exploding joy they keep talking about... it WILL show up. And it'll knock you on your butt.

But in the mean-time, when people say "enjoy every moment!" - it's okay to ask them to hold the baby while you enjoy a few moments of alone time. Maybe in the shower.