(This will probably be an on-going list that I come back and add to.)
That there is a massive list of things, good and bad, that go beyond sleepless nights and sweet little giggles. There are so many blessings that come from having a baby, but there are some insanely ridiculous things that come from having them too. And I figured I should make a list. Does this list make it less worth it? Of course not! But there are things I would’ve wanted to be prepared for (the possibility of happening), just in case. More importantly, I want anyone reading this to realize that it’s normal and you’re not alone when it comes to your own list of “ridiculousness.” Some of my Ridiculous List is stupid, some silly, some series. Maybe you’ll find something you can relate to… better yet… I should hope you don’t, right? Ha!
[Let me also say that I dealt with (and sometimes continue to do so) a bit of Postpartum Depression, along with Postpartum Anxiety. I have been dealing with depression and anxiety since I was very young, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that I’d deal with it once I gave birth… but it did come as a surprise! I never imagined my anxiety and depression would hit so hard, but it did, and I’ve done a lot of what needs to be done to rectify the situation in a way that works best for me and Oliver. With that said, I’m aware that some of the things on my “Ridiculous List” probably stem from the issues I have. While it’s a serious matter, I wanted to make it light-hearted and funny too.]
- The semi-crippling fear that something will happen to your baby.
This feeling is so intense that I never wanted him to be out of my sight. It probably took at least 2 months (or close to it) before I could go more than 5 minutes without checking on him while he napped. And even then I would often pull the pack and play into the living room and let him sleep in the bassinet.
I worried about some of the dumbest things (in my opinion). Would he suddenly learn how to roll over at 2 weeks and suffocate? Would he suddenly learn how to stand up and crawl out of a crib at 2 months? What if a spider floated down from the ceiling and bit him? (I am LEGIT terrified of spiders, btw) What if someone knew I had a baby and decided to break in through the bedroom window and steal him? What if I suddenly couldn’t hear him cry, so he cried his eyes out for the entire 10 minutes I couldn’t keep myself away?
Ugh. Let me reiterate… he rarely left my sight.
- The semi-crippling fear that something will happen to you.
This is also incredibly intense. I finally drifted away from the fear that something could happen to him and it morphed into something possibly happening to me. This is actually going on right now (he’s almost 4 months). I can’t leave the house without being convinced that there is a huge possibility that something horrible will happen to me. What if I were to get arrested for a crime I didn’t commit, but was found guilty? And what if that sentence was to last for 3245 years?! He’d never see me again! Or what if I got in a horrible car wreck and died? What if I was hit by a stray bullet? What if someone beat me to death while looking at baby clothes in Target? What if, what if, WHAT. IF!? I finally opened up to my Mom about this one and felt much better. I still do a bit of a freakout, but it’s getting easier.(and now it gets less serious)
- Your dominant thumb will hurt.
Oh, is that just me? Yea, probably. I’m not kidding. The thumb on my right hand (at the knuckle) has been hurting for probably 2 weeks. It could be a number of things, but I’ve recently come to the conclusion that it is due to the amount of things I have to button, unbutton, buckle, unbuckle, etc. Babies bring on a mass of objects that require opening and closing, buckling and unbuckling, snapping and unsnapping. It’s no joke. I’ve never been more aware of what my thumb does in a day as I am now.
- You will spend a LOT of time de-tagging clothing.
I am convinced that the people who put those damn tags and plastic things (that hold everything together and are actually called tag barbs, but will be referred to as simply tags or plastic tags in this paragraph) have NEVER had children or bought children’s clothing. As a matter of fact, I bet their make their own clothing in their super cute sewing room. Because SURELY an individual who has had kids would never make another individual spend 10 minutes on one outfit. Yes, it has taken me 10 minutes (a guesstimate) to completely de-tag and full take apart an outfit. I took one apart yesterday, actually. Well, it was a towel/rag set. 3 rags and 1 towel. Super cute, btw. It had approximately 15 plastic tag holder things. I am well aware that these are here for presentation purposes, but I DO NOT care. I happen to know that some clothing companies are more than happy to use double sided tape to keep their products presentable. I wish I could remember who they were, because I’d love to send them cards (note: There was probably only 3 outfits that used tape. My kid has more outfits than I can count right now… all but 3 had TAGS).
- You will have some intense body odor.
It is possible to smell almost as bad as a 12 year old who hasn’t discovered deodorant yet. Geeet ready, my friends. It used to be that I could put on deodorant and make it through the day. Mmm, not quite. Most of the time, but not all of the time anymore. I also remember the times I could forget to put deodorant on after a shower, and still make it through a huge chunk of the day. Yea, no. The time frame on that one has gotten much smaller too. Sometimes my pits are rank. Can’t lie about it. I would recommend trying to take a travel size deodorant with you… just in case. That’s advice I haven’t done yet, since I just thought of it. Oh yea, and your deodorant may not work as well either. Heads up.
- You will pee on yourself.
See, some folks will have you think this happens while you’re pregnant. There’s a huge possibility it will. It kind of happened to me a couple of times, but it was always from laughing or sneezing. Even then it was only a tiny bit. But sometimes it can happen after pregnancy. You had 9 months of something extra pressing on your bladder. You think your bladder is going to immediately become strong like Superman just because the kid is out? Doubtful.
Earlier tonight, I yelled and literally pissed all over myself. I mean that I felt it start to go down my thighs. I was pissed about being pissed on… and I had nobody to be mad at but myself. Honestly. I have peed on myself more times in the last 4 months than I have since I was a little kid. Each time it’s from coughing (I had the flu and sinus ick that lasted for a while, so that’s what started it all, I think) or sneezing, but tonight it was from yelling. Damn football games. There’s no shame in wearing a Poise pad, ladies. No shame at all. (Don’t worry about me. I have a doctor’s appointment in Feb and plan to ask about it then) Better to slap one of those on than have to continually change your underwear and pants.
- You will get some sleep.
Pretty much everyone I encountered during pregnancy felt the need to tell me this huge secret. They thought they were giving me great advice by saying, “better get sleep while you can, because once the baby gets here… that’s it!” Well, I would have you all know that I stopped getting sleep at about 7 and a half months. Anyone who got decent sleep beyond that can kiss my ass. My belly ached and it hurt SO bad to turn over and get comfortable. I get better sleep now than I did during pregnancy. Sure, I get woken during the night, but at least it’s a restful sleep (after the first couple of months, when you’re not waking up every 5 min to make sure little so and so is still breathing) and not an “oh my sweet goodness I hate my body” kind of sleep. I know that some people really do have horrible sleep patterns and go without sound sleep for quite some time. But that isn’t everyone and shouldn’t be considered the norm. If it happens to you… sorry. You shouldn’t have listened to me. But if it doesn’t, don’t say I didn’t warn you about possibly getting some good sleep.
- Life as you know it isn’t over.
This goes along with the last one. I realize that some people had to give up date nights and outings for who knows how many months or years after having children. But that doesn’t have to be everyone. And if it is, then you WILL get those things back. Life shouldn’t be considered over because you can’t go out and have a drink or catch a movie with friends. Having children shouldn’t make you feel like there’s nothing awesome left. You’ve been inducted into a world full of awesome. You just might have to redefine what awesome truly is and learn to see those outings as icing on the cake or something.
- Your childless friends will still be childless.
It’s true. Just because you have children doesn’t mean your friends will, nor does it mean they will suddenly think like a parent. It’s not their fault. They weren’t aware of the fact that they should develop a parental mentality to make your life easier. You’ve had roughly 9 months to mentally prepare for the many ways your life will change. Your friends, on the other hand, have not. They’ve prepared to see a cute baby that never poops, cries, gets sick, or grows up. They didn’t prepare for your declined invitations to late nights out, random lunch dates, shopping trips, spur of the moment anything, spending on anything non-baby related, etc. It’s not your fault and it’s not theirs either. You’ve just been inducted into a different group, the group listed below.
- You’ll get bumped into a new group.
Remember when you got engaged? All of your other engaged friends wanted to start hanging out. Or what about when you got married? All of your married friends came out of the woodwork and wanted to have you over for dinner or wanted to stop by for a game night. Yea, well, it’s the same when you have kids. Even though you knew about those other friends who had children, you suddenly have SO much more in common now. There’s always a fun poopy diaper story, a spit up story, an adorable outfit you both share, a blanket you just have to get, or SOMETHING. There are tons of things to talk about and share. You don’t necessarily stop talking to your engaged or married friends, but you just have SO much to talk about with your parent friends! Just as you noticed with your spouse-less friends, sometimes your childless friends will “forget” to invite you to do something, or maybe they’ll figure you wouldn’t be interested. It’s easy to grow apart when something new in your life happens, because others figure you’re no longer interested. I remember when Jhavonn and I got engaged, we had a number of friends (who were dating or single) stop inviting us to gatherings, because they figured we couldn’t do something without each other or that we wouldn’t be interested since other couples wouldn’t be there. All of that led to Jhavonn and I unintentionally losing touch with people and not doing things with folks for a long time. Let your friends know that you don’t need that favor. Maybe they won’t listen like some of ours didn’t, and you eventually lose touch. Hey, they may be the ones that can’t handle knowing you’ve moved into a “different category,” but at least your attempt at keeping in touch will show you tried. (Note: Please don’t think that anyone who is single, dating, engaged, married, or with children is better than the next. No group is an elite group. The group thing is just something I’ve noticed and had friends notice. It was a funny thing we talked about amongst ourselves, so if you disagree, you’re welcome to. No offense is intended)
- You will spend hours just making noises.
It’s true. I can spend hours holding or sitting in front of our little guy just cooing and ooing and ahhing back and forth. We’ll have full blown conversations. I have no idea what we’re saying, but it makes him laugh and smile, which makes me laugh and smile… and that means it’s absolutely worth it.
- People love babies, but not baby showers.
Except for me. I LOVE baby showers and try to go to them any chance I get. Well, I did pre-baby. Now that I have my own, my baby fever has been tamed, so we shall see what the future holds. Anyway, it’s a sad truth. People loooove babies and pregnant bellies. They want to rub your belly and give you all sorts of unwanted/incorrect/awesome advice. They also want to play with your baby once it’s here… but they won’t come to your baby shower. For example, I invited approximately 15 people to my baby shower. I got guilt tripped into posting an invitation to my shower at work. There are about 60 people who work there. I had six. SIX. S.I.X people show up, plus my mother, fiance, the host and her mother (it was at her house). Six people. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am BEYOND thankful and we were blessed BEYOND MEASURE by people who were from my fiance’s home town. Due to the distance, they did their own type of baby shower up there and gave us the majority of what received. And I am SO thankful for the people who showed up to my shower. I didn’t even care about receiving things and even told people that if they just wanted to show up it would be fine. With that being said… I cannot explain to you what it does to an extremely hormonal pregnant woman to have people with the nerve to cancel the night before, the day of, and hour before the event itself. I spent 45 minutes (at least) crying on the couch in my Mom’s arms, because I was humiliated. I had a friend and her mom who busted their butts and opened their home to host my shower and the majority of people I invited canceled. And they didn’t even tell my friend. They told ME. They all knew when the shower would be before they got their invitations and still waited to tell me less than 24 hours before. I was convinced nobody was coming. And again, let me stress that this had nothing to do with gifts. We already had just about everything we needed. It was just the fact that so many people asked for invitations (one invited herself about 2 days before and didn’t show), asked what they could do, constantly asked how I was, and then didn’t feel the need to show up or give advance notice. They didn’t care that food had been bought, games had been planned, a home had been opened. Nothing. It makes a person angry. It makes a person hurt. And honestly, if you’re me, it makes a person bitter. So, after all that rambling… I reiterate… sometimes, SOMETIMES… people don’t show up to your baby shower. Sometimes.
- Buy bigger sizes.
This is one I assumed and was thankful I did. Everyone will buy you newborn or 0-3m outfits. That’s fine! It’s great actually. But eventually, your baby will grow up and need bigger sizes. If you find outfits that are so precious you can’t leave the store without them… TRY to find them in a bigger size. Your little one may be too big to wear newborn outfits, or he/she may grow out of the 0-3m very quickly. So just prepare yourself and buy ahead/bigger!