Republished from September 30, 2009
With Miss Skye turning two months old, I thought I would reflect on the past eight weeks of mommyhood and share my infinite wisdom with all the mamas-to-be out there with this List o’ Lessons Learned thus far:
10. There is no way to put this delicately: My vagina FREAKIN’ HURT after labor. People tell you how much contractions hurt. And how much labor hurts. But nobody tells you that the most pain often comes the days following labor. Or that a nurse has to accompany you to the bathroom and spray warm water on your vagina while you pee, so that your vagina does not fall off from the burning, overwhelming PAIN. Yes! It could fall off, it hurts that bad! In fact, you are in so much pain, that you do not even care that you are squatting on a toilet and spreading your legs for a stranger who must be thinking to herself, “How did I draw the short straw again? I became a nurse to help deliver babies. NOT to hose down this woman’s vagina with a squirt bottle.”
9. Your family does not care that you are in pain. They do not care about YOU. Because there is a NEWBORN in the room. All of that attention they lavished on you during your pregnancy? Done, over, finito. So don’t even bother trying to garner sympathy. Trust me, I tried everything from pouting to dramatically clutching my privates — it was an exercise in futility. The most I got out of my husband was, “What? Why do you look like that? Is something wrong with THE BABY?!”
8. Newborns sneeze a lot. Did you know this? I did not know this. Totally normal reflex, apparently.
7. It does not matter if you wrap your daughter in a pink blanket, stick her in a pink flowered stroller, and write “GIRL” on her forehead with Magic Marker — a stranger will still come up and say, “He is so cute.”
6. You know the amount of diapers you anticipated changing every day? Double that number. Then put a zero at the end. NOW you know what you will be facing.
5. Everybody and their dog advised me to “nap when she naps.” Yeah, um, okay. The only time that was really possible was during her first few days of life, when she slept like Gary Busey after an all-week bender. And I was high on Mommy Adrenaline, so I couldn’t sleep anyway. After that, Skye has slept a few minutes here, an hour there, making it virtually impossible to take a solid nap at the same time. My solution: a daily venti iced latte with three espresso shots. Yes, I nurse my child. No, the caffeine does not make her fussy or agitated. This is why I love her.
4. Remember how your husband didn’t fully “get” your postpartum pain? Well, that may explain why he will want to have sex before your six-week doctor’s checkup. And think that YOU are equally as eager. Delusional horndog, thy name is Hubby.
3. If people like your baby’s name, they will say so: “I LOVE that name!” If they don’t, they will either nod wordlessly or ask, “How did you come up with THAT?”
2. Breastfed babies can eat too much. I was told children who nurse only eat when they’re hungry. WRONG. My little one has eaten to the point of making herself vomit — not spit up, but vomit — a couple of times, making me realize that she was actually sucking out of bordeom and/or fatigue. I can now tell when she’s doing this because she appears restless while eating. And has the same look on her face that I do when Mr. Candy turns on ESPN SportsCenter.
1. As one who still stares at her child in awe for hours on end, I can confirm it’s true what they say: Parenthood really is the most amazing blessing we could ever have bestowed upon us. (Well, with the exception of an invisibility superpower that would enable us to escape speeding tickets and in-laws. That, we can all agree, would trump anything.)