I’m not sure if you’re able to tell from my writing here, or if you’d need to meet me in person to know, but I can be a tad #unfiltered. I assume I’ve always been this way, but motherhood has certainly made it worse.
I’d like to think that since I am now a seasoned mama, and I’ve got lots of great women advising me, that I’ve got some decent wisdom to share. This was not always the case.
Immediately following the birth of my first daughter I was totally and completely shocked about the birth process and about mothering a teeny tiny human in general. I had to tell EVERYONE who would listen how terrible giving birth was, how weird it was that I didn’t sleep anymore and how I wasn’t sure this was something they’d want to do. Problem was that most of the people I was talking to about it were already pregnant.
Our birthing class teacher invited us back to talk to the next class of students. I wrote up no less than four pages of notes on how insane it was to push a human the size of a watermelon out of a hole the size of a grape. At the time I felt we’d all been done a great disservice by being made to think that giving birth was a beautiful thing to be enjoyed. I remember being completely flabbergasted that someone would say that the day they give birth was the happiest day of their life. So far for me it had been one of my worst. And for some reason I felt it was my obligation, my duty, to inform these young women of what was to come. I realize now that it’s impossible to warn someone. And you probably shouldn’t try.
I’m now extremely embarrassed by how much I overshared in those first weeks following my daughter’s birth. And I feel even more shame that I was so very negative about the whole thing. I see now that I was in a bad place. I had asked for an epidural very quickly after saying I’d really like to try not to. (Note: I practically called ahead from the car for the epidural for the second kid!) After weeks and weeks of trying, I “failed” at breast feeding. I was an only child who was quite used to quiet, alone time and I was suddenly in charge of something that required much more attention than the cat I’d had since college.
I know now that sharing my “wisdom” or tips of the trade (bring snacks to the hospital!) is one thing, but it’s just not my place to try to warn someone of what their experience might be like. We are all different. Our births are all different. We all get to motherhood in different ways. Our children are all different.
I’ve come a long way (I hope!). I know now that people describe the day they gave birth as the happiest day of their lives not because that day was filled with wonderful things, but because that day was the start of a truly magical (insane) adventure. And while I’m still likely to scare a single co-worker out of the room with stories of poopy diapers or sleepless nights, I’ve learned to spin these stories to make us all laugh. Because I think we all know if we don’t laugh we’ll cry.