Like most expectant mothers of the time, I found myself at Barnes & Noble perusing the parenting aisle for the bible of all pregnant mom’s to be: What To Expect When You Are Expecting. Right there with Brazelton and Leach was the hefty book with a friendly, peaceful looking lady all cozy in a rocking chair. She looked so happy. So confident. So reassured. All would be well she said to me. What was I so worried about??!
I was sucked in like a sailor to the siren on the rocks. Duped into buying that expensive book which, I would find in short order, was going to rule my pregnancy like a wet blanket soaked in terror. I was certainly not that calm, collected lady on the front. And that book was the reason why. I am sure that it has it’s place somewhere. I’m sure there will be those who come forward and tell me how wrong I am, that the book is informative and wonderful.
However, much of what I endlessly poured over, bookmarked and never read past my weekly chapter on (saving it like a great dessert, one spoonful at a time) was in a word, rubbish. I certainly didn’t need to know all the information they were peddling, all the inaccuracies, all the stuff that can go horribly, devastatingly wrong, reducing me to a pile of rubble, contemplating which blood test I should get next and whether genetic testing was really for me.
Years later, as a wise experienced mother of three, now I can truly say that I needed a much different, looser Powerpoint presentation as to what was on the horizon for me. I think it only right and proper to write down what I wish would have been told to me during that special time.
For your kind consideration:
Things someone (doctor, parent, mailman) should have told me as soon as the plus sign appeared:
1) Your ass is gonna get fat. Forget Posh Spice. Your butt will never look like that. It will grow at an alarming rate to match your stomach. Anything less than that and you will topple over. I have seen Posh fall. It ain’t pretty. Really.
2) While there are a few amazing, incredible women out there that run marathons at 37 weeks and rule the world while pregnant, you do not want to be one of them. They cry in airport bathrooms while shoving chocolate in their mouths. Move yes, but sit your behind on the couch and rest. You’re gonna need it.
3) Keep negative people away from you. Especially that woman (everyone has one) that loves to spout how awful her labor was and how terrible you are going to feel any moment now. Just give her a shove. Growl a little too so she thinks your crazy. The police will understand. They don’t want to arrest a pregnant woman. Do it, you will feel better. But most importantly DON’T LISTEN. She’s icky and that was her experience. This is yours.
4) Remember that women have this down. You are not the first, nor will be the last, to go through this process. Trust. Worry does nothing but make you lose the little voice inside you that guides. You are going to need that little voice. Especially when people say stupid crap to you in the grocery store. Voice: do not shove anymore people today. You do not look like you are carrying triplets. Ignore and walk away before you get arrested again.
5) Labor will hurt like hell. But you can do it and you will feel like a bad ass after. Good job Mom. That’s what you say to yourself as you hold your baby. Good Job.
And because What To Expect When You Are Expecting gives a little postpartum yummy advice, I submit the following:
6) Your body will resemble Austin Power’s Fat Bastard after. That’s O.K. It will bounce back. Except your boobs. Sorry.
7) Milk will squirt sideways out of your breasts making your husband vomit in his mouth a little and look at you like Sigourney Weaver in Aliens. Oh, and you will kinda feel like her too.
8) Do not expect to get right back in the saddle. Like #2 there are women who do but they are also the ones who look all pinched in the face. You just stretched a human being out of your hoo hoo. Or you were cut open. Or you just had a newborn placed in your arms. You are gonna feel nuts, exhausted and like you cannot do this. You can. You just are going to feel like you can’t for awhile. And anyone who does should be shoved. Be careful though; the police are still watching you and you are not pregnant anymore.
9) Accept that this time will not be an episode of Little House On The Prairie. There will be moments you will HATE your husband. Much like dispelling the facade of the rocking chair peaceful pregnant lady, do the same with this. I thought we were supposed to be so ridiculously happy. And we were. But we were also sleep deprived and grouchy, overwhelmed and doing everything we could to take care of this new little being. Be gentle with yourself. And him.
10) Enjoy. Like the little old ladies in the grocery store who tell you it goes by so fast, they are honestly not talking smack. It’s true. One minute you are cuddling your newborn and the next she is rolling her eyes at you asking for 20 bucks and informing you, you have “like, no style whatsoever.”
Parenthood is fun. Cathartic. Engrossing. Messy and joyful. One freakin’ wild ride. And with it the rule: no rocking chairs allowed.
About the Author: Andrea Ardito is a writer and mother of three hailing from the Seacoast of NH. Andrea feels quite strongly that box wine is a lousy, unacceptable alternative to a romantic trip to Bermuda, but she will take it anyway. Check out her blog Negativity is not for Annie Oakley.