Having a new baby is hella scary. Everything about it just seems uterously (I mean utterly) and completely bizarre, like a poorly-made science fiction movie with really crummy cinematography that came out in the 1980’s. With creatures from other planets, that multiply and expand and morph from a little fish-thing into this whole being that screams all the time and spits goo and leaves a residue of slime everywhere it crawls.
I remember my first parenting class. I remember sitting there in shock. I remember running out during the birthing video crying to my husband that “I wasn’t doing that. Not a chance.” I remember trying to wrap my brain around the entire process:
“Ok, so I am going to grow a person in my belly, a place where only burritos and burgers and barbecue chips have been until now. Like, a whole person, with lungs and blood and toes and the whole shebang. So, I’m going to grow them. Then birth them. Like…push this entire person out through a tiny hole located in my nether-regions. And the only way to make it not hurt so much is to shove a giant needle into my spine. Ok, awesome.
That sounds natural.
And then, I’m going to feed this tiny person I’ve created with milk. Milk that they suck out of my boobs. Like a cow. I’ve been hearing things about chapping and cracking and engorging as well.
That sounds fun.
I’m going to gain a lot of weight, and stretch out. Everything and everywhere. I’m going to have morning sickness in the evening and in the afternoon, and just whenever it strikes. I’m going to get acne and get hormonal and cry at the drop of a hat. And, let me see if I have this straight, because it makes absolutely zero sense to me, while I am growing a person in my uterus, which is located in my middle, my feet are going to grow an entire size. Sooooooo, none of those Jessica Simpson pumps are going to fit me anymore. Which, I guess is fine, because they probably won’t match my diaper bag anyways. Buh-bye cute little cross body.
That sounds super cool.
They’re going to cry a lot, and sleep a lot. But not at night, and not for long stretches of time (which honestly, just makes me think of stretch marks right now). They are going to poop eight times a day and nobody is supposed to worry about the extreme amount of bodily functions occurring in their teeny tiny body.
They are supposed to sleep on their back. Swaddled, or not swaddled, depending on who you talk to. You have to feed them enough, obviously, but if you feed them too much, they hurl everywhere. So, that’s what burp cloths are for. And you need to bring a spare set of clothes just in case their puke gets on you. Ok, got it. So, they send you home with this person that you grew and birthed. Like, they just send you home with them, no questions asked. They don’t send a nurse with you, or anything? No expert to hold your hand? No professional to guide your way? Yeah…that doesn’t sound irresponsible on their part at all. It makes total sense that it takes a year of training and practicing before they’ll let you drive a Honda Passport, but keeping another human being alive and all: let’s just send these fools home and see what they can do.
So, you get six months down the road, and everything is back to normal, right? All the baby weight has melted off? Your breasts have returned to their upright position? No? Still, no? We’re still swinging low, sweet chariot. But everything else – You’re getting sleep now, surely? Your skin is balancing out, hopefully? Again, no. Ok, ok. I’m really excited this is all happening. I’m glad they’re throwing me a shower. Hopefully I get some good stuff. What? Nothing from this moment on will ever be about me, it will all be about the baby. Even though I do all the hard work and they just lie there like a sack of potatoes? Suuuuuper.
This is all sounding glorious. Totally understanding why it’s called the miracle of birth.”
Ok, so no, childbirth isn’t all glitz and glam. It definitely comes with a few, mild setbacks. Labor does indeed come packaged with some unfortunate side effects. (And I was gentle here. I didn’t even mention the giant mesh panties you have to wear for a week while your lady stuff heals or the .) It ain’t all pretty. It ain’t all that Beyonce has made it out to bey. Or be.
But trust me, when I tell you that it is crazy worth it. That the stretch marks pale in comparison to the undeniable mark holding your newborn baby leaves on your heart. That the feeling of swollen ankles are nothing if it means you get to feel that baby kick and move and wiggle inside of you for nine months.
That the pain of labor doesn’t hold a candle to the joy of loving your little one.
That the growing of your waist is nothing compared to the growing of your home and heart.
That your hair falling out is absolutely, completely worth it to get to experience falling in love with this person that you are holding in your arms.
That the sleepless nights don’t shape your life nearly as cmuch as the time you spend rocking your newborn goodnight.
Yes, from here on out, you’re going to pee a little every time you sneeze, but it’s ok, because you’re going to learn to give and to grow and to love so much. Plus, it’s fine. How often do you really sneeze or jump on a trampoline anyway?
I love red lipstick, graphic tees, and Diet Dr. Pepper a little more than I probably should. Most days you can find me lounging in sweatpants, running kids from one place to the other like a crazy person. My family is my home and my passion is helping women find courage, confidence, and the deep-rooted knowledge that their life has a deep and significant purpose. Find me on Facebook, or come join my FB group at In & Out Beauty by Amy.