I was reading this really hilarious post on Pinterest today about the ten things people NEVER tell you about the after effects of giving birth and though I laughed (this lady was HILARIOUS and a potty mouth which- I must admit, when used well in literature, bad language makes me CRACK up. Bridget Jones anyone?) and though I did agree with a lot of what she said (first period woes) I also thought she was really down on the whole thing.
Now, I am not saying being a new mom and the parts of new mom hood that have nothing to do with your kid are easy- and I do think I had a much easier time of it than some- I just think that compared to pregnancy itself- parenting is a cake walk.
I dreamed my whole life of this happy cute, big belly thing. The excitement over kicking etc. People always say how wonderful pregnancy is. How you glow etc etc.
My experience with pregnancy is like a few choice moments on Friends.
One, Chandler tells Phoebe that she is glowing. Phoebe sneers at him and says, "That's just sweat. You try throwing up all day and you'll glow too."
And two, Rachel yelling at her ginormous belly, "Get out get out get out!!" (not lying- I TOTALLY did this. In earnest.)
Pregnancy is more than worth it. I will go through it again and again for the joy of kids. I am ACHING to be pregnant right now. But... for the results it brings. Not for the joy of it itself. Because truth be told? I HATE being pregnant.
And it was easy for me relatively. I had no morning sickness. No preeclampsia, no depression, no infections, no diabetes.
However, let me tell you why I hated it. First trimester. By eleven weeks I had gone up TWO bra sizes. Yeah- from a D to an E. I had to special order bras that looked like straight jackets. And my chest ACHED. Breastfeeding felt AMAZING after the aches and pains my breasts went through to get ready for my kid. People tell you how much it hurts when you breast feed, they never tell you that the pain in your breasts that pregnancy might cause is actually WORSE. My boobs SHRUNK when I breastfed no joke.
Also first trimester. People talk all about morning sickness and yes I KNOW I was lucky not to have it. However, people don't talk about the woes of food aversions. Meaning, no I didn't throw up. But for three months I ate NOTHING but green apples, saltines, and mashed potatoes. PLAIN I might add. I couldn't go NEAR red meat, onions, anything that smelled strong enough to be appealing. Which of course through the whole - gain 2 to 4 pounds rule- out the window. I think I gained ten in the first three months.
Note: Food aversions suck. Not being able to eat at all? Sucks more. And I know this and I FEEL for you that couldn't eat at all. Which is why I feel bad talking about my aversions. But hey, it still sucked for me :)
Lets fast forward to my last two weeks of pregnancy and why having a new baby was so great.
1. No more heavy food aversions (still no onions, still no red meat, and LOTS of Mexican food) but double heavy boobs. When my son was born I was an F. Awesome (not). Not kidding, the only trouble with breastfeeding that I had was that my boobs were bigger than my sons head so I couldn't see if he was latching. It was so humiliating to get help for this issue that it was hilarious. To me AND the nurse.
2. I was 200 lbs. Granted, I put on 50 lbs total throughout pregnancy but the last month I gained the most because I retained water. People talk about pitted edema AFTER pregnancy but did they tell you you can have it during? Without risk of preecclampsia? I seriously swelled up like a balloon from the Thanksgiving day parade.
3. I was TIRED. All that exhaustion from the first trimester came ROARING back. You women who don't work while you are pregnant don't know how LUCKY you are. I was on my feet working full time (not a desk job mind you- a full time retail job at the mall during Prom season).
4. Your cute tiny baby- MOVES. its super exciting the first time. My best friend thought it was great the whole way through because movement meant her baby was safe. Mentally, I knew this but emotionally- I would have promised my kid a CAR to get him to stop for a while. CONSTANT rolling, kicking, punching. It hurt to stand, to sit, to lay down.
My most hilarious pregnancy moment was while I was helping some girls find a prom dress, I realize their friend is looking at me like I am a MONSTER. I am scanning myself wondering what it is until I realize she is watching my belly. Which is VISIBLY rolling.
Ladies with teen girls- you want to scare them from sex? Have the job shadow a pregnant lady for a day. They'll be trying to join convents after.
5. So imagine being the most tired you have ever been, feet huge and filled with water, body aching, but when your kid is moving so much, and the weight is sitting on your bladder- forget sleep. If I didn't wake up to vigorous kicks I was going pee.
6. Peeing in number six. Were talking every half hour.
7. If I am not waking up to kicks or peeing, I was to weird dreams. VIVID dreams. Ever hear of that pregnancy symptom? It is one. Were talking weird sci-fi stuff, to making out with old boyfriends, to accidentally killing my baby by falling down stairs. So real that I would wake up confused to where I was. (No joke, I had ALL of those dreams.)
So is it any wonder, that the huge, water filled, peeing, tired, gassy, acid reflux woman that I was would take the after affects of pregnancy over pregnancy itself any day?
Yes, when you have a baby whether its c section (like mine) or vaginal, you are scared to poo. (I voluntarily asked my doctor to put me on stool softeners and I still sat on the toilet for 30 minutes trying not to hurt myself).
You DO bleed for two weeks or so. And yes you have to wear monster pads. And yes it is gross so I would suggest, to be blunt, SHAVING EVERYTHING before giving birth. Wondrous.
And yes, for the first little bit it hurts to actually SIT UP in bed.
And yes, you still look like your pregnant for a good month or two.
And yes, your baby wakes you up every four hours.
But you know what, even though you are no longer sleeping 8 hours at a time, the four hours of sleep you get BETWEEN feedings- is THREE TIMES better than 8 hours of sleep when you are pregnant. I slept ten hours the whole first three months of my sons life. It just took me twelve hours to GET three hours of sleep.
And do you know how good it feels to pee on your own for the first time and pee a cups worth and then not have to go again for three hours? Do you know how good it feels to be able to hold it in all night long?
Do you know how good it feels to be able to reach your legs in the shower to wash them- SHAVE them?!
Me, with my pitted edema woes, I lost 30 lbs in the first six weeks. That tells you how much water weight I was carrying. And I promise you, the first day I could see ankles again I made my husband take me out to dinner to celebrate.
Do you know that I almost CRIED the first time I put on a NORMAL bra? Do you know how good is feels to breastfeed and get some relief from a swollen breast?
And yeah, those movie births are not real- no newborn looks like that, no new mother looks so coiffed. But the REAL glow, not the sweat glow, that is on the parents faces as they look at their tiny kid- that is REAL. It may not sink in for a day or two (give yourself that time- its hard to feel parental love when your drugged and tired).
I am not saying it is easy in the slightest. But what I am saying- is that its worth it. I have my melt down moments. Even now when my son is over a year I still have days where I have to hand him off to my hubby or put him in his crib and shower to drown him out for a half hour.
But by the time that shower is over, even if he still is crying, I want to hold him. I LOVE to just watch him. Step back, look at this thing you made, this thing that looks like the two people you cherish the most in your life, and realize that it does not matter that you haven't showered in two days.
It doesn't matter that dishes aren't done, that you are ten pounds overweight, that nothing fits- nothing matters but your child. No pain or annoyance can compare with the serious and true joy of being a mom.
It does suck sometimes. And you do have the right to sulk or complain or demand special treatment. But just try to not let the time you give to the negatives outweigh the time you give loving and admiring your place in life. Because it is the best place to be in.
Nothing in my life, compares to the joy of being a mom. Nothing.