Friday, December 30, 2011

Newborn nostalgia (aka the lies we tell ourselves)

It wasn’t so long ago that I was the clueless mama of a newborn baby boy.

But it’s been long enough that I look back on those days with the sepia-toned lens of nostalgia—one not covered with spit up or smeared with overflow from a leaky diaper.

In other words, my memories of that time are filtered through a thick layer of bullshit.

See for yourself:
B.S. Mirror: From the moment I found out I was pregnant I felt glowing and embraced the life that was growing inside of me. Yes, there were aches and pains; some discomfort, but it was all going to be worth it in just 40 short weeks.

Reality check: Pregnancy sucked. I was bloated and tired. I worried constantly that I was not caring for this child enough to make a perfect human being. He broke my ribs. He dislocated my pelvis. I was In constant pain but refused to let anyone know. 40 weeks is BULLSHIT. K arrived after 42 weeks of torture.

B.S. Mirror: January 12 is going to be my big day, when I can finally rid of this physical burden on my body. I will be able to move again. My perfect delivery is within sight. This is what we have been waiting for. The pain wasn't so bad. And after all, this perfect human is worth it.

Reality check: My unmedicated delivery hurt like a mother-fucker. My husband did not watch in admiration and love; he was too busy playing on his PSP. K ripped apart my undercarriage to the tune of 53 unmedicated stitches.

When I arrived home with my not-so-cute screaming bundle of joy I did get normalcy back. In fact it was too normal. Vacuuming and entertaining just 12 short hours after K butchered his way into the world. I wanted everything back to my pre-baby honeymoon with dear husband also. So much so that, I ignored the advice and pleas of my midwife to stop causing her to redo stitches.

B.S. Mirror: I see myself cuddling under a blanket on the couch, my son snuggled on my chest. I smooth the downy peach fuzz away from his face and smile, feeling strangely complete as we both drift into sleep.

Reality Check: I am exhausted. I haven’t had more than two hours of sleep in seven weeks. My back hurts. My boobs hurt. I want nothing more than to escape back to my childless days for a little while—just long enough to get a few precious hours of shut eye.

Deciding to ignore all the warnings about the dangers of sleeping with your child, I collapse on the couch, willing myself into unconsciousness. But when I do finally fall asleep, I dream I’m smothering my son and jerk myself awake—feeling even worse than I did before.

B.S. Mirror: I am strolling down the street on a breezy spring morning, my son gurgling happily in his stroller. I chat with him as we walk, pointing out the trees waving in the wind, the puffy clouds in the sky and the brightly colored flowers blooming along the sidewalk. There is no place I’d rather be.

Reality Check: I am walking briskly down the street with my son thrown into his stroller. It’s only after we’ve walked for 15 minutes that his hiccupping sobs finally quiet.

Although I feel like an absolute idiot, I dutifully keep a running dialog going as we go. Why? Well, I’m afraid the Parenting Gods will strike me down if I fall silent and leave him to his newborn ruminations. But really, there’s only one thing I want to know—how many extra calories do I burn with his eight-pound body as extra baggage.

B.S. Mirror: I sit on the floor in the family room, humming to myself as I fold another load of tiny little onesies. The house is clean, quiet and peaceful, and I feel lucky to be alive.

Reality Check: I swear under my breath as I fold yet another load of onesies. The house is in chaos around me. Dishes haven’t been done in days, the carpet is buried under a layer of dog fur and dirty burp cloths are strewn everywhere I look.

Just as I finish, a scream breaks through the silence, and I tiredly trudge up the stairs for the 15 bazillionth feeding of the day. I fervently wish my mommy would come and save me.

I know these things are all true because, well, I have a blog. And I wrote this stuff down, yo. But that doesn’t keep my hormones from melting into goo every time I see a newborn. And it doesn’t silence the voice that says, “Oh, come on. You know you want another one.”

Stupid hormones.

What does your B.S. mirror tell you?