Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chronicle 12: The Ideal vs. Reality

Growing up, I would wait anxiously for Friday nights, when new episodes of the sickeningly cheery sitcom Full House would finally air. The week in between each episode felt like absolute torture. And missing a show? Completely out of the question. I knew that I would have to return to school on Monday without the knowledge of what had transpired in the Tanner household. And then endure bouts of jealousy as my friends chatted away about the particularly funny things Michelle said or did. I felt as if I had been left out of something important.
That's what these types of shows do to us. They gloss over life's milestones, slap a band-aid over the boo-boos, and miraculously move on to bigger and better things. A 2 minute talk and voila, feelings are acknowledged and the issue is instantly resolved. Deep down we all know that is not how things work. However, we feel guilty that we can't make it work like they do. Why can't I forgive and forget as easily as the Tanners? Why can't I just confront the issue head on?

We felt as if their family was what the quintessential American family looked like, that their word was gospel, and every situation should turn out like theirs did each Friday night. I was completely reassured that I would grow up to raise a family that ate dinner together every night, and wholly supported every thing each member did, unselfishly. Ice cream sundaes after every home cooked meal. A father that could work at home instead of trekking into the office. An easy pregnancy and labor, with a few quirky mood swings that were laughed off and tolerated as a joke.

I had to laugh as I recently re-watched an episode of Full House. Becky, with a tiny body and basketball belly, cutely waddles out to Jesse, smiling. "Honey...it's time!" Jesse immediately does the rushing around gathering suitcases act, while Becky looks on smiling. No evidence of contractions or pain. She says that the "indigestion" she's been feeling is now 7 minutes apart.
REALLY? Did ya not attend a Lamaze class or parent preparation course, BECKS? Confession time: it is not like TV or the movies in any way, shape, or form. If you're a normal human being, you don't walk around smiling when you start to feel contractions. Not for long at least. Also, surprisingly, most women's water doesn't break at home, or even at all (on its own). Another thing, Full House, they will send you right back HOME if your contractions aren't at least 3-5 minutes apart. That's right! They'll send your pregnant ass right back home. Sad. By the time you are ready to have your baby, your husband will be just as prepared as you. So don't worry, ladies, he won't drive off without you!

Why? Why on EARTH doesn't anyone sit us down and tell us the truth? I would rather be prepared for what I'm going to have to do, than be living in ignorant bliss and then shocked the hell out of when I'm finally hit with reality. So, I have compiled a list. Don't be scared, mamas! Reality is not always harsh. Sometimes it can be heartbreakingly beautiful and amazing. Feel free to add your own in the comments!
You will just "know" when it's time to go to the hospital.
You will spend much of your labor at home, timing contractions and moving around to help move things along. You will have time to inform family, load the car, have something light to eat, and drive to the hospital safely (and within the speed limit).

You will bond with your baby as soon as he/she is born.
You're so mentally and physically exhausted after birth that you may not feel that connection right away. That is perfectly NORMAL and OK. You do not know anything about this new little life, except that you love them. It could take days or weeks to really understand how you feel. If it takes more than a month or so, please talk to your partner or your doctor. You may be dealing with post-partum depression.

Your relationship with your partner will/will not change.
Your relationship with everyone will change, one way or another. You may get closer to certain people, and you will certainly drift away from some who are not in the same stage of life. This is also normal, and can be painful. Just know that you are going through a HUGE life change, and the people that want to stick around and support you are the most important people in your life. You WILL find alone time with your partner again, and you will resume a normal life eventually. TRUST me!

Some moms have it all together.
There is not one single mom out there that has it all together or completely under control 100% of the time. Those that say they do are lying or delusional. Children affect your life in so many wonderful and unforeseeable ways. You're going to make mistakes because you're on a steep learning curve. It lessens with every child, but it is still there. You're going to be late. And, you're going to leave the house at least once with spit up or poop on your person. Just sayin'... be prepared. You know what helps? Laughing those moments off. Before you know it, your baby will grow up, and those moments will be gone.
Love you, ladies! What were some of your idealistic expectations that were completely different in reality? Please share, I would love to hear your thoughts!

The Hot Mama

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  1. Heather3/01/2012

    Idealistic: I thought I would be more prepared the 2nd time around with a baby. Easy breezy! Realistic: I was so not prepared. Once you get past a certain point with one child, ie diaper changing, bottle washing, 3am wake up calls; HUGE wake up call! :) it's gets easier but it wasn't as easy as u thought it would be!

    1. Heather3/01/2012

      Should say not as easy as I thought :)

  2. It's funny how quickly you forget what it was like. This has to be Life's way of encouraging us to keep having children! Its only been six months and it's hard to remember those first few weeks. I would think it would be more difficult with two...you're such a good mama, Heather!! Xoxo


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