As women, we share stories, experiences and our very lives with one another in a beautiful sisterhood of camaraderie. When I became pregnant with my first child, I was naive, but so very excited.
My friends and family showered me with love, support, and glowing stories of the joys of pregnancy and motherhood. They never told me about the naked table dancing…or the projectile poops…or the alien protrusion from your midsection that moves as your students gawk in horror.
I expected it to be hard. I expected it to be beautiful. But there are quite a few things that I never expected. Peeling the rose colored glasses from my eyes were the tiny hands of baby reality — adorable, clumsy, and oh so very sticky.
A Picturesque Pregnancy
Let me just give you a taste of some of the truths and (and their underlying meanings) of what it is to be a parent:
- “The feeling of the baby moving inside of you is the most beautiful feeling in the world.”
- Ever seen the movie Alien? As a teacher, my students shared in my excitement of my upcoming child; however, when lecturing one day looks of abject horror came over their faces as my sweet little Dean visibly rolled within my swollen belly. “OH MY GOD, MISS!!” I doubled over in pain. Yup, he kicked me in the lungs, then rolled — I’m sure of it. Freshmen in high school do not handle the “beauty of pregnancy” as gracefully as one may hope.
- “You must be pregnant! You have that glow!”
- There was no glow. My skin was both oily and horribly dry. There was splotchiness, and random dry patches that manifested themselves up and down my legs and itched like nothing I had ever felt before. Some people are ethereal and beautiful pregnant, but most of us just look exhausted.
- “Children are so free-spirited at that age…”
- Three words: Naked. Table. Dancing. Really, the table dancing happens with or without clothes. No matter how much I scold, yell or admonish, the clothes come off and the free joy of a wagging booty find their way onto the coffee table. Never mind the random flashing and screaming, “Nipples!!” at Wal-Mart… (Breastfed baby alert!) Please tell me this isn’t a foreshadowing of future professions…
- “Changing the baby is always a surprise.”
- Ladies and gentlemen, we welcome you to the world of the projectile poops. Nothing can prepare you for the moment when you are at Rivercenter Mall, gathering up your adorable bundle of joy amid “ooohs and ahs” from well dressed, beautifully put-together women waiting in line for the bathroom, and upon lifting your son’s legs to wipe his bum a huge shot of yellow-green poo paints the wall beside you from floor to ceiling in a sort of Jackson Polluck-style modern baby-art masterpiece.
- “Nursing for the last time is so hard. I cried.”
- I CRIED WITH JOY!!! My second son stopped nursing at 14 months. No, he did not go willingly. By that time he was clamping down, laughing at my pain, and yanking as hard as he could while burying his nails deep into my breast. I. Was. Done. I gave the baby to my husband and said, “Your turn, dude.” I loved that I was able to nurse for that long, but working and pumping, along with his not-so-gentle feeding style meant it was time to throw in the towel.
Finding out you’re pregnant is a whirlwind in and of itself. There are so many questions, feelings, anticipations surrounding the entire process. If there’s anything I can say, it is that I know my friends and family meant well, but painting the pretty picture only served to make me feel more alienated in my struggles.
Was I wrong? Was I destined to be a horrible mom because I didn’t feel comfortable with some of the “beautiful” aspects of motherhood? Absolutely not! Now I look back at those moments and giggle. Geez. This mom thing is silly.
How many “beautiful” things can you think of that didn’t quite end up being so picturesque?