Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Is It Fair?

Is the way that we talk about motherhood with one another fair? I think that we tend to glorify it. We paint it with bright colors. Say things like, "it's a moment that will change your life forever." We take pictures of grinning moms holding little bundles as they're discharged from the hospital. Newborns resting peacefully on bare-chested daddies.

All these moments happen and they're wonderful. However, my recollection of the first six weeks of motherhood included lots of other moments. The nights upon nights when I woke up every two or three hours to nurse. The afternoon when I sat sobbing, bare-breasted on the hallway floor. The two empty bags of pads that I'd soaked through. The night that I excitedly texted my mom at 4 am to let her know that James had slept for an entire 4 hours straight.

It's not that I'm complaining because all those moments were 150% worth it, it's just that I'm wondering whether we adequately prepare women to become mothers. Did any of us really, really know what we were getting ourselves into when we became pregnant? Aside from a few flip comments, like, "Sleep now, while you can," did anyone pull us aside and tell us the dirty secret, "The first few weeks? They suck." Maybe "suck" is the wrong word. As James has gotten older, I find myself nostalgic for those maternity leave days when I could spend a whole day in bed, unshowered, with a tiny baby on my breast.

Maybe people tried to warn me, but I wouldn't listen because I was so excited to become a mom. It wouldn't have mattered had I understood. I would gladly and repeatedly take on those first six weeks for my son. I just think being mentally prepared for it would have been handy.

I just think we owe it to each other to be honest that those first six weeks will pretty much kick anyone's butt. But how and when? I don't have the answer, but I just can't stay tight-lipped and watch another women get blindsided by just how hard this mommy thing is.

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