Monday, May 24, 2010

Let's Be Honest.

Prompted by a comment a friend made, I thought about this statement and what it has meant to me in terms of raising a child. Plenty of my friends had already had kids by the time Arlo came around... and looking back, I now notice there seemed to be a little something missing in their advice to me for after his birth. Not that they weren't being honest, but let's face it- no one was totally, brutally forthcoming with detailed info.  Everyone was really vague... " oh, the first couple months are weird"  and " just remember to sleep when the baby sleeps" and  " just remember, what you say to your husband in the middle of the night doesn't count".  Little did I know that they were being vague on purpose... because how can you convey to someone(in the nicest, least scariest way possible) that those first months are pretty much going to drain you silly, turn your world inside out, and freak the hell out of you? I remember one morning at 2AM, having not showered or brushed my teeth in days, baby screaming, looking at my haggard husband and going " WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL US ABOUT THIS??? WHY DO THEY HATE US??" And now I know. They didn't say anything because they loved us and there was nothing anyone could do or say to prepare us for what was to come. The honesty then came in the form of an abundance of support once we realized what we were in for.. and that we still receive to this day.

I also remember thinking that everyone who said they "loved" having a newborn were total liars. Not that I didn't love Arlo, or wasn't totally and completely grateful for his presence in my life-- but who really LOVES getting up every hour to feed?( not to mention that breastfeeding was totally rough those first few weeks. I left the hospital not even being totally sure what the hell to do) Who ENJOYS being sleep deprived?  I fell down the basement stairs Christmas morning and really didn't find that to be a charming side effect to being up all night with my son. Then I thought-- you know, maybe some people do. But I wasn't and am not one of them. And this doesn't make me a bad mom or any less "maternal" than those that relish in those moments. That's awesome that some people do and I admire that. But I've come to realize that I'm a different kind of mom with different strengths and weaknesses and that's okay. There's no point in trying to force myself to like those things just because current society's definition of being a "mother" say that I should or that there's something wrong with me if I don't.

So if 'm being honest with myself... I adore my son. He's the greatest thing ever to come into my life. But I refuse to beat myself up anymore when I get frustrated with the various and sundry things one gets frustrated with when having a newborn.

1 comment:

Heather said...

My take on why no one gets into the real nitty-gritty about how awful newborns can be: People are secretly afraid that maybe they're just screw-ups and everyone else masters babycare a lot sooner, so they just keep the truth to themselves. It's like when I was in first grade, and every single girl in my class (including me) got head lice. Why did we all get it? Because NONE of the moms would admit that her kid had it, so we all continued having Brownie meetings and sleepovers without halting events until the pests were eradicated. If one or two parents had said something, a lot of agony could have been avoided, but no one wanted to seem like a bad parent, so no one said anything. There's no shame in having it, just like there should be no shame in admitting that raising a kid is crappy sometimes, but people don't want to shatter the illusion of perfect mommyhood, so the cycle just perpetuates. Dumb. We should all be honest with each other about this stuff.