The other new Mom came back to work this week. My heart went out to her on Monday - though she seemed so much more put together than I did that first day. Why does EVERYONE seem so much more put together than me? Regardless of how she seemed (did I mention it was way better than me?), I know that first day back had to suck. The whole first week actually… But we’re not actually that close, so I didn’t say much – just sent her an email to welcome her back, tell her I know it’s hard and to let me know if she needs anything.
Anyway, today I had walked over to a meeting (OK, so the building had an ice cream social if you must know!) with her along with some other coworkers and the subject of mommyhood came up. As we were talking, she mentioned that incessant crying those first few days / weeks. The other moms joined in with their stories of the same (and one non-Mom shared how her sister had the same experience). Oh, THANK GOD, this is not just me! But why do we as Moms not tell anyone about this beforehand?
I remember a former coworker of mine mentioned making some complaint about pregnancy to a single friend within earshot of a Mom when she was expecting her first. The Mom took her aside and said – look, you are now a member of a club. Your job as a member of this club is to recruit more members! Do not tell the single / childless girl about the difficulties! The way she told the story… I think her friend was serious… And in many ways, it seems this is true.
While I know that I’ve mentioned that I have a few friends who complain quite a lot about their kids, for the most part, people really don’t tell you the “true” difficulties that come in those first few days. Maybe I did hear that it’s “normal” to feel overwhelmed and unprepared the first few weeks, but I don’t think anything I heard prepared me for what I truly felt – for how scared and alone and a thousand times more than overwhelmed that I really was. And I’m not talking post partum depression here – that’s a whole other, much bigger issue. I’m talking about just normal, run of the mill – holy shit, what the hell have I done!? Get me out of here! You know? That. Sure I’d heard of the baby blues – but really? Are you kidding me? That’s what that feeling is called? That innocuous cute little name is how you describe a totally hormonal, scared, tired beyond belief, questioning of your whole nature / purpose in life / being? Oh yes, that’s just the baby blues. What if we got more realistic on the name? What if we called it the baby emotional apocalypse? Sure, people would still downplay it as no big deal - Oh yes, that’s just the baby emotional apocalypse. But I feel like you might be better forewarned with a name like that!
But the truth is – we all forget! We don’t even think about it after it happens. If someone else mentions their difficulty, then maybe you remember and say – oh yeah, that was rough. I forgot. But now that you mention it, I did cry for 4 days straight. Or, hmm, funny, it hadn’t occurred to me till you said something, but yes, now that you mention it, I did consider running away from home and changing my name to a Native Indian tribal name – Leaking Milk. Oh is that one taken? Is Wearing Dirty Shirt available? How about Doesn’t Wash Hair?
It’s been only 6 months and anyone who has read recent posts can tell you that I’ve already just about forgotten and am starting to long for the next one. Not just the next baby, but the next pregnancy! Now that’s just crazy. I mean, do I miss the projectile vomiting of the first few months? The headaches that woke me up at night because I thought someone was trying to crack my skull open? The Chinese water torture of when she’d choose to just keep kicking in exactly the same spot – over and over again? The round ligament pain? The Braxton Hicks contractions? Heck – stepping on the scale during the last few weeks of gestation?! Who is this woman I’ve become?
Oh yes, I know. I’ve become a mother. The thoughts of back pain and images of swollen body parts have been forever replaced by that big gummy smile when she sees ME! God knows how crazy I’ll get the first time she calls me Mom…