Having a baby is really cool. Let’s just move past that for a moment, because having a baby is also a nightmare. And I’m pointing a lot of fingers towards pretty much every person I know, because no one will look you in the eye and call a spade a spade. People have a big problem with using the word miracle and shit-show in the same sentence.
Instead of telling someone how life changing and beautiful the experience is, I wish someone would have slid a pamphlet across a table with the following information. Followed by a very somber, “I will pray for you.” Because there are two things people need when they’re creating life (and consequently destroying their own), honesty and supernatural forces. Jesus, crystals, vibez. An essential oil diffuser. All of it. Don’t tell someone they’re going to “experience a love like they’ve never known,” tell them they might not shit for a few weeks. Tell them that when they do, it might involve their husband physically extracting feces from their rectum. Or tell them both. The baby is the least of your worries.
- Your first thought when you see your body after giving birth will be: WHAT. THE. FUCK. Personally, I wanted the baby to go back in. I did not want to deal with this new body situation. I finally found a body I hated more than my pregnant body, which I thought was an impossibility. You’re going to walk out of the hospital looking 6 months pregnant, you’ll long for the days when it looked like you were smuggling a beach ball. The beach ball has been replaced by a gelatin mold. Save your friends the “your body is miraculous look at what it created, don’t be so hard on yourself” blah blah blah speech. Get authentic – yes it sucks, it’s honestly a little scary. Lower your expectations.
- You are feeding your baby wrong. You aren’t really, but it doesn’t matter how you’re feeding your baby. Breast or formula, you cannot win. Not with yourself. You will NEVER relax. It doesn’t matter how you decide to feed your child, because you will feel insecure about it. If you breastfeed you’ll constantly worry whether or not your baby is getting enough food, if you bottle feed you might worry about what other people are thinking. A fed baby is a happy baby. Aw that’s adorable. Except somehow the end got cut off, a lady with a baby is an anxiety-ridden mess.
- Bodily fluids. So much blood. So much sweat. After you have your baby get used to waking up soaking wet. Maybe it’s breast milk you’re covered in; perhaps it’s your own tears. And no, you’re not bleeding to death… that’s just your lady hole. And just when you think the bleeding has finally stopped, you’ll start again. Do yourself a favor and get Depends for all that post partum vagina ooze magic.
- Your spouse sucks. Doesn’t matter how much they do, they aren’t doing enough. You’re going to swoon over how amazing it is seeing your significant other be a parent; you’ll never feel more in love. And then you’ll be consumed by rage because they changed 6 diapers that day and you changed 10. Be careful how much you take on, it’s easy to go from wanting to do it all to resenting doing it all. The first few months can be hard, you’ll expect your baby’s father to be as obsessed with the new child as you are. No level of excitement will be acceptable unless it matches your own. Prepare to be disappointed.
- There is no pre-baby body. RIP. I was under the impression that after you have a baby you certainly could just go back to your “old” body. Sure there would be baby weight to lose and maybe a few more crunches, but for the most part it eventually returns to it’s pre-war form. Being delusional was fun. You might lose all the baby weight, you might not. You might even weigh less than you did before you got pregnant, but trust me… your body will not be the same. Even if it looks the same to outsiders, you’ll know the truth. It will be wider in some places and softer in others. And it will never feel the same, because you grew a human.
- There’s more to having a baby than stretch marks. Could be hemorrhoids. Or moles. The texture of your hair. Food aversions that stick with you. Me? Well my left nipple looks sad and I still can’t look at shrimp. Forget the past, this is you now. Don’t waste time trying to get back to a distant version of yourself.
- Sex isn’t great. 6 weeks came and went, I was medically cleared and I was equal parts terrified and excited to see what kind of shape my downstairs was in. Was it the cavernous abyss I pictured? Much to my relief it wasn’t. But it wasn’t quite right. It was as if someone lined it with sandpaper, or at least that’s how that first intimate experience felt. I probably could have gone way longer without sex than my husband would like to hear. Like forever. You might not be into sex right away, and that’s ok.
- You need someone to talk to. Someone that isn’t the father of your child. Someone that has children. Sorry, childless friends are not going to cut it. They are important in their own right, but after you have a baby you need someone who knows what its like to want to punch your own baby in the face. Someone who doesn’t blink twice when you talk about how much being a mom sucks, and in the next breath you’re planning a second pregnancy.
Let’s all stop building walls around our truth; when we put limitations on what we share with the people we care about, when we focus on an image we want to portray, instead of the reality we live in… we keep ourselves from what we need, connection. Leave the pleasantries to Hallmark and be a real mom friend.
Scarlett is a stay at home-ish mom, bartender, and wife. You can follow her on Instagram.
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