For me, there is no greater experience than being a mom.
Seriously, these past six weeks with Piper have been amazing, exhausting, but amazing. Its been a little bit of an experiment trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. You have to be able to go with the flow and improvise on the fly (quick: you’re at the mall and your kid just shit all over themselves, what do you do!?). Since I’m a first time mom I really have no idea what is normal and what isn’t, I try to just go with it.
Somewhere midway through my pregnancy I noticed that my google searches got a lot more interesting. They all seemed to start with “Is it normal to….” And the frequency (and weirdness) of the searches only increased after the baby was here. See, sometimes your friends don’t tell you EVERYTHING. And unless you read those stupid “what to expect” books from cover to cover there is going to be some stuff that comes up that has you saying “WTF is this about?”. In these situations there is Google, which is both a blessing and a curse at the same time. You will find out some very startling information when you start a google search with “Is it normal…” So to save you some time, and provide you with some entertainment, here are 10 of the things that I found myself searching during pregnancy/post partum.
**Special note: If you haven’t had a kid yet this post should serve as the best birth control ever. I’m giving you the opportunity to stop reading now if you don’t want to be scared.
1. Is it normal to be afraid that you won’t like your baby?
I felt super guilty about this one, but I’ll be honest I wasn’t sure I was going to like this little human growing inside of me. I’m not a big fan of kids. They’ve always been OK in small doses, but I didn’t really like the idea of being the one in charge of wiping asses and carrying on conversations about legos and power rangers. I’m also a pretty big fan of my alone time and I had heard that goes away when you have a kid. I was fearful I’d be resentful of that and simply annoyed by all the “kid stuff.”
As it turns out, I like my baby. I had all that fear for nothing. When I thought about being a parent all I thought about were the responsibilities (diapers, feedings, etc) I couldn’t know or understand all the rewards I’d get. Smiles from a baby (even if they are just gas) are enough to keep you going for days.
The love you feel for that tiny human is unlike any other.
Oh and for the record, I’m not some changed woman. I still don’t really like other people’s kids, but my kid is pretty cool.
2. Is it normal for your boobs to leak before the baby is even born?
Ok this one shocked the shit out of me. One day when I was about 24 weeks pregnant or so I had just gotten out of the shower and was getting ready (topless) when my husband said, “Hey babe, I think your nipples are crying.” I was like, “huh?”. And then followed immediately by saying “OH MY GOD, WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT ABOUT?”. I promptly fired off an email to my best friend berating her for not telling me that this was going to happen to me. I mean really, how dare her? Turns out it never happened to her, but it was happening to me and both are completely normal. Luckily my boobs only ‘cried’ a very very small amount just after I got out of the shower. So yeah, look forward to that one.
3. Is it normal to bleed like crazy after the baby is born?
Ok I expected this to one to happen, but what you don’t always know is that it continues on for weeks.
At the beginning, right after the baby is born, its kind of like a murder scene to be perfectly honest with you. You have to wear these huge pads that may as well be a diaper, its not much fun. After a couple days it gets significantly better, but you still bleed like you are having a period for 2-6 weeks. Oh, and you can’t wear a tampon (not that you’d want to be sticking anything in your vag yet) so you are walking around with these bulky pads all the time.
Let me tell you, it is very SEXY.
4. Is it normal for the love you feel for your husband to increase 10 fold?
Answer: Absolutely, for sure.
There is just something about seeing the man that you love cuddle the child you made together. It’s an amazing thing.
When I walk into a room and I see him talking away to her and her intently focusing on him it makes my heart grow three sizes.
5. Is it normal to hate your husband after the baby is born?
Ok, yee you love them more when you see them cuddling your baby — yada, yada, yada. But, you also want to stab them in the face at times. Like when its 2am and you are awake again feeding the baby and they are sleeping soundly.
I’ll be honest, I’ve kicked my husband just hard enough to wake him up (yet not hard enough that he knows I was the thing that woke him up), I’m not doing this shit alone.
They try their best and God love them for it, but sometimes he’s complaining about a sore back (come on, I just had a baby!) or he’s at work late is just enough to send you over the edge. Don’t worry, this too shall pass.
6. Is it normal to sweat like crazy after the baby is born?
Answer: Unfortunately yes.
Night sweats. Nobody told me about these.
As your hormones are regulating after the baby is born unfortunately it is totally normal to sweat your ass off at night. For me, I would go to bed freezing cold. Then, I’d wake up a few short hours drenched in sweat. I’d have to change my clothes before I could go back to bed.
Add to that, leaky boobs and a bleeding vagina and you really can’t be quite sure what you are covered in at any point in time. It was a solid 2 weeks before this got better and it was by far one of the worst side effects of having a baby.
7. Is it normal for your milk to letdown when a baby cries (even if its not your baby)?
This one is just weird for me. Last week I was standing in line to pay at Whole Foods and there was a baby behind me. This kid would not stop crying and I just knew what was going to happen. Sure as shit, about 30 seconds in I was plagued with the lovely pins and needles feeling (another normal joy of motherhood) as my boobs filled up with milk.
It’s super uncomfortable, thank God no one else knows that it is happening.
8. Is it normal to be scared to have sex again
Answer: Hell yes.
I’m just going to come right out and say it, I like to have sex. It’s a healthy normal thing.
However, after you have a kid you are supposed to wait at least 6 weeks before bumping uglies with your hubs again. Not a problem…After a person comes out of your lady parts the last thing you want to do is have sex. Its scary, its weird, and its going to hurt at least a little bit. Plus, if you are breastfeeding I’m told you need to wear a bra because your milk can spray everywhere (awkward!).
Truth be told, I still haven’t done it yet. But there is a bottle of wine with my name on it and husband that is primed and ready to go so I’m guessing it is going to be happening here soon. I’ll have to get back to you to let you know how it goes. We’ve officially hit the “six week appointment” this last Thursday and I got the “go ahead”. My husband was a little frustrated that he was out of town at business meetings when I received the news. We’ll see how this weekend goes.
9. Is it normal to become super forgetful?
Before I had a kid I had the best memory ever. Names, birthday’s, addresses, I could remember it all.
After Piper was born I could barely remember my own name, I couldn’t remember what her birthday was it was bad. In fact, one day I was saying to my husband that I had 3 goals for the day. I named off goal 1 and goal 2 and by the time I got to goal 3 I had already forgotten it.
I had to write EVERYTHING down (I made a grocery list for 2 things once) and I downloaded an app to keep track of feedings, diaper changes, etc. Just now at 6 weeks postpartum my memory is starting to come back, but I do still find myself stopping mid-sentence and completely forgetting what I was talking about. Super awesome.
10. Is it normal to have no idea what you are doing?
Answer: Totally normal.
If I want to adopt a puppy from the humane society I have to fill out an application, list references, and have someone from the shelter come and visit my home to make sure it is fit for said dog.
But have a baby and 48 hours later the nurses make sure you have a car seat, then they wave goodbye and secretly laugh at you as you drive away. Once you get home its just a guessing game as to what your little peanut needs. And just when you think you’ve figured them out they change and you have to figure it out again. Seemingly simple tasks like cleaning your baby are actually much more complicated (for example I forgot to wash in between her fingers and all of a sudden her hands started smelling awful, turns out she had dust stuck in them, gross!).
You can think you have a task like swaddling down before the baby is born and then when you try to do it to a real baby you found yourself dumbfounded at how good they are at getting their arms out of that swaddle. My point is that you really have no idea what you are doing you just have to keep trying things until something works.
Here’s the thing about pregnancy and having a baby, almost everything you are experiencing is completely normal. Short of fevers, bleeding (other than after the baby is born), somebody not breathing, and crying that never ends it is pretty much all normal. It’s just all so new to you that it feels strange and abnormal. So my best advice, roll with it. Enjoy the newness. Laugh at yourself, and learn to find joy when your kid barfs all over you or shits on the wall. It goes so fast, before you know it this tiny human will be graduating from high school (yes I have cried about this more than once already).