And for once I was SuperMom

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Not so Great Expectations

“There are two basic types of expectant mothers: The Nervous Expectant Mother and the Smug Expectant Mother. The NEM has no idea what motherhood will be like, and she fears the worst. The SEM, on the other hand, tells everyone how long she plans to be in labor and insists to all who will listen, ‘There’s no need for the baby to interrupt our lifestyle. He’ll just have to fit into our schedule.’
“Although the SEM is undoubtedly more at ease during her pregnancy, on the whole the NEM is the better off of the two. When her baby is born, she usually discovers that things aren’t as hard as she expected them to be, and she relaxes as she gets to know her baby. On the other hand, there’s nothing like the devastation experienced by the SEM who has just had the run pulled out from under her and all her grand expectations.”
Hah! For once in my life my anxiety ridden and expect the worst attitude has and will serve me well. I am the NEM. I am the youngest in my family so I never diapered my two older brothers. I baby-sat a fair amount, rarely for actual babies. And usually hated it.
I have two good friends that now have nine month old babies. I look at their sweet faced children that are so calm, and cute and think this won’t be so bad. Then one of them tells me that she hasn’t gotten a full night’s sleep in nine months and you can hear the edge in her voice that dances on the crazy. Then I spend the evening with the other friend and her family and her astonishingly beautiful baby girl proceeds to burst into screams and tears for the whole evening for no apparent reason. Then I rest my hand on my swollen belly wherein lies my child ( who has taken to sucker-punching me in the bladder) and I think, “what have we done?”
I have looked at pregnancy as a liminal stage that is very similar to being engaged. You’re nervous, you have butterflies, you cry for no apparent reason, the two of you fight for no apparent reason, you get cold feet, then those feet get pretty hot…hmmm, I think that’s how I got in this mess. Cold feet in pregnancy are different because it’s a much more permanent process than a diamond and a non-returnable dress. (Which I think they do just to freak you out. I remember taking deep breathes when I put that credit card down.) When you look at marriage, if you are truly in love with that man, the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Companionship, security, someone to share the workload, sex, all these are great things. I have never once had to clean up Scott’s urine, vomit, or poop. He has never kept me up all night with screaming and crying. He has never thrown the dinner I just made onto the floor. He has never thrown a toy at my head. I have never had to threaten to “pull over” if he doesn’t stop whining.
While we were engaged he never gave me heartburn three times in one day that was so fiery I wanted to just give up. To this day he has never once given me gas so bad that I gave up on the day and went to bed. Our fights have made me cry, he has frustrated me to the point of tears. My decisions have to take him into account. I often structure days and make choices to do things for him. Big decisions aren’t made without him. And at the end of the day I love him so much I wonder if I’ve gone batty. How can I spend an entire week with a person and then miss him when he walks out the door?
Here’s where I think my Eeyore attitude benefits me. I mostly only see the sleepless nights, excess noise, and potential permanent detriment to my body. I’m too realistic to go into my doctor and demand a birth with no medical interventions. I know what I would like, and I know that I am physically and mentally strong, but I know that life often has other plans. I know that I watch other parents and think, “I will never..” Then another part of my brain goes, “I wonder what will make me eat my words…”
There’s another part of me that knows that I will be okay on some level because of how I know I would feel if this baby came out less than perfect. Or if she didn’t make it at all. Even though she jabs me I still want her. And I cry at diaper ads.
So who is this little person that is wreaking havoc with my insides? It’s hard to believe what people tell me, that I will love this person more than my own life. We keep doing it though, we keep falling in love and having babies. My mother told me her birth stories and each ended with, “who knew that the love of my life would be short, fat, and bald.” I’m already madly in love with someone bald, can short and fat be so hard a jump?
Written by Lara

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