6.25.2014

What They Don't Tell You

There are just some things they don't tell you about motherhood, and just some things I didn't anticipate.

For example: though I knew we'd be feeding Isabel every three hours or so, I didn't realize that my life would suddenly really be lived in three- hour increments. And somehow that makes the days go by quickly. You wouldn't think so, since I'm awake about twenty hours a day. But seriously, they fly by.

Everybody wants maternity and newborn photos. With the rise and reign of Pinterest, I think we've come to expect that our maternity and newborn photos will be Pinterest-worthy, and that not only will the photography be stunning (definitely possible), but we will look stunning (less possible than you might think). I was just really puffy in my maternity photos and lack the kind of winsome face and normally-sized body that is necessary if your maternity photos are to be Pinterest-worthy, like this one: 
Stop it, smiling pregnant woman with an open Oxford shirt. Just stop. I know you have a lot to smile about because your ankles probably never swelled, but just stop. You make the rest of us look bad. 

But I can't even begin to scoff loud enough at these beautiful newborn photos:
Ladies, ladies, ladies. Your luscious locks are flowing and beautiful. Your limbs are lithe and not even at all swollen. Do you even have a residual baby belly? I think not. You're supposed to look bad. You're not sleeping and your body just underwent something extreme. Come on.

To be fair, these women have it, so they can surely show it and enjoy it. I'm not hating on them because they're unusually beautiful despite their circumstances... just to be clear.

But let's just get real: WHO LOOKS LIKE THAT JUST DAYS AFTER YOU'VE GIVEN BIRTH?!!?! I am still slightly swollen (four weeks later), I still have a post-baby kangaroo pouch, I still have 30+ pounds to lose, and I have now added dark circles under my eyes and heavy and painful inflatable water floaties attached to my chest. I wear maternity pants still (that are now saggy) and often just over sized men's button-downs. My hair is usually piled on top of my head because it's probably three- day hair. I haven't shaved my legs in maybe a week and a half. I have plucked my eyebrows. So... you know, there's that, at least. 

Don't get me wrong; it's all worth it. But it's not Pinterest-worthy. Not even at all. And I so wanted it to be. 

They don't tell you that when you get home from the hospital, you will feel completely overwhelmed and not have a clue where to put all this new baby stuff so that can be used practically. I didn't think I'd be creating a baby bottle station on one of my counters and a baby bottle washing station on one side of my sink. You do figure it out, though.

They don't tell you HONESTLY how many diapers you'll go through!!! "Ten or eleven diapers a day is normal." THAT IS NOT TRUE. We feed Isabel eight times a day and she has at least two diapers in a three- hour period (told you live my life in three- hour increments), and that's not counting the wasted ones when I put a fresh one under her bum and suddenly things are being excreted. Ugh. In short, stock up on diapers during the full nine- month duration of your pregnancy.

Also, I knew that things like "pee-pee tepees" were necessary for boys, but my daughter has straight up had an arc to her surprise pees during diaper changes TWICE. Once, she hit me with it. What. The. Heck.

And while I knew I would be emotional after childbirth, I never imagined exactly what it would be like. Now I cry every time I see a sick baby or hear of parents who have to endure the death of a child. Now I cry even thinking of Isabel in pain. Weak sauce. You have a baby, and you morph into weak sauce.

On that note, as someone who has taught for eight years, I thought I'd have no problem being firm as a parent and letting my daughter cry when necessary for her sleep training. That's some hard stuff. They don't tell you that your child's cry will be the most heartbreaking thing you'll ever hear, and all you'll ever want to do is cuddle her forever and ever.

These are some of the things nobody can prepare you for. Reading this will not prepare you either, because you just have to live it. But it's the not being prepared part that might actually be the best thing. I'm the kind of person who makes the Boy Scouts proud: I'm always prepared. I'm a planner. But with this baby, I was not/am not prepared. That means I can't take any credit for any success. That means I have to fully rely on the Lord for energy, wisdom, etc. So this motherhood thing might be the thing that changes me the most. And that is a really great thing.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." -- Galatians 6:9

xoxo, A