Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What Kind Of Mom Did You Think You Would Be? When Did Reality Finally Set In?

Way before I got pregnant, I had some ideas, actually they were Bohemian fantasies, of how I would be as a Mother. I dreamed of sweet smelling little babies, perfectly decorated nurseries, extreme, Martha Stewart~like organization, a perfect pregnancy, easy delivery, a happy, joyful infant and angels singing lullabies with faeries and butterflies flitting around. My Husband and I had already decided that we were going to be smart parents. That's an oxymoron if I ever heard one! I was going to nurse him or her for at least the first year. No formula for this baby, no siree! I was going to be Earth Mother incarnate.

Now I wasn't going all cloth diapers and he
mp clothing, I do have limits, but I was going to be a good Mama. No candy. No soda. Only limited television and that would have to be PBS shows and Baby Einstein only. He or she was going to get organic baby food and toys without all the lights and sounds. No super electronics for our baby. He or she would have "learning toys", wooden blocks, soft teething rings. Nothing of those toys that make kids want to sit and play video games all day. Then reality set in: I got pregnant.

I had major morning sickness {this little "ailment" was obviously named by a man...} that lasted all freaking day, boobs that hurt like they were beaten with a cat-o-nine tails and swelled to Pamela Anderson proportions. Finding maternity clothes that both fit and were stylish was a Herculean feat. And I won't even talk about finding a decent, comfortable bra! It was not fun. At. All. I did not get the perfectly decorated nursery or the uber~organization that I desired. Nor did I get the easy, sweet baby. I got The Diva. I love her more than my own life. She is also so utterly frustrating some days that I fear I am going to lose what little of my mind I have left!

As some of you may know, at 11 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with the HPV virus and cervical lesions that could not be treated until after I gave birth and ultimately turned out to be cancerous {you can read more about it here}. I also had two Grand Mal seizures at 17 weeks whose cause was never quite figured out. I was exhausted and scared. I watched all the dreams I had of how pregnancy and Motherhood would be dissipate into the ether. It was not at all what I expected to be. Fortunately, after my two "incidents" were over, my pregnancy was relatively normal. I did have to endure 12 weeks of non-stress tests 3 times/week for my whole last trimester, but other than that it was pretty good.


Unlike a lot of pregnant women, I did not get uncomfortable and really "want this baby out already" until she was 3 days overdue. By that time I was just done. My OBGYN set up a time for me to be induced, but that didn't happen because I was already in labor by then and they found my baby was in distress. The Diva was born by emergency C~section exactly one week past her due date. She had meconium aspiration {a bowel movement in utero which she inhaled} and was in the NICU for 18 days. Boy was that an adventure!


OK, I need to back up just a bit here, I already knew it wasn't going according to plan when I ended up with the emergency C~section, but what made it both worse and comical was the "Lithium Nurse" who talked to me not 5 minutes after I woke up from the anesthesia. The birth hospital did not have a NICU, so my baby had to be transferred to another one that did. I was not amused. I asked to be transferred along with my newborn, but it was a no go. Then "Lithium Nurse" says this to me, "Your baby has to be transferred to another hospital with a NICU. We do not have the facilities to care for her here. But we will have our own NICU within a year and be able to take care of all the babies then. It will be state~of~the~art, staffed with the best Neo~Natal doctors." She said all this with a huge smile, a lilt in her voice and the speed of a crack whore. My response was "And exactly how does this help me and my baby out now?" The shocked look on her face was classic. Even in my groggy state, I could still unleash a zinger! HA! But I digress...

I had read all the books. Studied all the articles. I was prepared, damn it! Yeah, no I wasn't. Nothing truly prepares you for Motherhood. The books and articles lied like a rug. Motherhood was not all sweetness and light. I was exhausted. My already large boobs were now Franken~huge because my milk came in. And my nipples were about to fall off. On top of this, I was alone with my alien spawn beautiful baby girl all day while my husband was at work. I felt like the Human Milk Cow. Not stinking was a distant memory. Along with sleep, peace, quiet, eating a meal and coherent thoughts. At 8 weeks old, she went through a growth spurt that made her want to nurse and cry incessantly. For 5 days straight. This was the second time reality smacked me upside the head. I. Was. In. Hell.



I started to think that I was not cut out for being a Mother. I was in a "New Moms" group through the hospital and found myself envious of all the other Moms. They took showers. They got to places on time. They got their babies to nurse easily. Growth spurts didn't drive them to the brink of insanity. While I was a hot mess. I felt so inadequate. I was eventually diagnosed with Postpartum Depression. No, it wasn't the kind where I needed to be put in a rubber room. No, I didn't want to hurt myself or my child. Although I did want to smack my Husband upside the head a few times! No, I had a little known form of it called Postpartum Anxiety Disorder, which just made me sketch out like I was an addict in search of a fix. I couldn't even get the "normal" kind of PPD! Sometimes my uniqueness is a curse. But again, I digress...

This was not the Mommyhood I had envisioned, nor was it anything close to what I had read about in those stupid books! I did not hear angels singing. She did not smell like a freshly bathed baby or baby powder and lotion all the time. In fact, sometimes she was down right dry heave inducing rank! The Diaper Genie didn't even contain the smell! All I did for the first six months was nurse her, change her rock her, pray that she would take a nap so I could have some peace and get unsolicited advice on how I wasn't doing it right and what I should be doing. A family member even told me to eat while I was nursing The Diva. Yeah, ummm, how was I supposed to do that? I had to hold the baby with one hand and my boob with another, lest I smother my precious infant with Giganta~Tit. What, exactly, was I supposed to feed myself with? This family member had never breastfed a baby before and here she was telling me how to do it! OY!!

I bless the day that she could finally hold her own bottle!
That's the day I heard the angels sing! She was just a little over 6 months old at the time. I could finally eat a meal while she was being fed. It was life changing. Literally! At the same time this wonderful skill emerged, The Diva was saying her first word {Mama}, pulling herself up to stand, crawling {sort of} and already had 3 teeth. Teething...now that is a veritable Carnival of Fun! Cranky, crying, slobbering baby. Good times, Good times!

As I said before, we did not want to use the T.V. as a babysitter for our child. But you know what? It ain't so bad. Yes, I know all the theme
songs to every show on Noggin, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Curious George, Little Einsteins and Charlie and Lola but it entertains her {sometimes} long enough to let me have a bit of peace or 5 minutes to myself. And the shows we let her watch are not mindless, they do have things to teach her.


All the experts tell you that if you don't get it just right, you will scar your child for life. That is because they want you to follow their rules. But in the end, you need to find what works best for you and your child. She is still not allowed to have candy or soda. She eats fruits, vegetables, milk and some organic juice. She loves fresh spinach salads and raw mushrooms. She eats good food. I am very proud of that fact. How many 4 year olds do you know that like vegetables? My Mom let me have Coca~Cola with breakfast when I was 5 years old! I am so not going there with my own child.

The Diva will undoubtedly blame me for ruining her life at some point. I will make mistakes. I don't always know exactly what to do in every situation and I was a Psych Nurse in a former life! For example, a few months ago, The Diva swallowed a penny. My nursing instincts kicked into gear, I swept her mouth with my finger and then performed the Heimlich Maneuver. The penny came out, along with some red stuff that I feared was esophageal blood. It turned out to be ketchup. After I was sure she was alright, I sat on the couch and visibly shook for 20 minutes. Had it been someone else's child, I wouldn't have been so upset, but it is a whole other ballgame when it is your kid.

My daughter has an attitude that rivals my own and makes me want to run away and hide on a near daily basis. She is creative, intelligent, funny, entertaining and sanity robbing all at the same time. No, I didn't achieve "Earth Mother" status, I am more in the Slacker Mom category. I hate cleaning and laundry but wish for a white glove clean and organized house. I will never be a Soccer Mom. I will also never expect my child to meet unattainable goals. I want her to be who she is, but I would like to have a child that actually listens to me when I tell her to "stop" or "don't do that" or "could you go play quietly while Mommy works?" or "please go use the potty" or anything else that parents tell their children.

And I want to be a better Mom to my daughter than my Mom was to me and my Big Bro. Oh, at some point,
and you will never see this one coming, you will open your mouth to say something to your child and WHAM! you will hear your own Mother speaking. It is both frightening and funny when this happens. And trust me, it will happen.

Man, reality can be a real bitch sometimes!

8 comments:

The Head Eagle said...

You know..thats a really good question. Looking back..I don't know what I expected. Everything I knew and wanted it to be was shattered the day I lost my oldest. I have never been able to reclaim those moments of blissful wanting in motherhood.

One thing I know for sure..is the shock I endured when I discovered that we must earn their love. I assumed that my boys would just love me. I am their mother. Not happening...I should have known better. Don't get me wrong..they love me..but They are strong willed, and not easily persuaded..just like their mother.

Kristina P. said...

This is one of the reasons why I love the blogging world so much. People tell it like it is. Not everyone. There are still those blogs I read that basically make it seem so easy and nothing ever goes wrong.

Jessi said...

Oh my, I'm so glad I subscribed to your blog, you truly make me feel like there is someone out there that understands what I'm going through....

My son was a surprise, when I found out I cried for three days stright... out of fear not happiness, because I was told when I was 16 that I was never going to have kids, and I was happy for that... stupid doctor!!!

But when he was born, it was... ok, the real trouble didn't start until my daughter was born 2 years later, got the PPD, and the child "just like me", she's 2 and I still don't get showers everyday, and my house looks like a tornado goes through it all the time! dishes (I've had to wash enough dishes so we can eat, though this part is getting a tad better... my laundry isn't I'm always, like 5-7 loads behind (my son is wearing the last "clean" pair of pants he owns...

I would love to talk to you about Mom's sometime, it sounds like you have one as bad as I did/do...

Or we can talk about anything, If you want to you can email me at

harukamae at hotmail dot com

(Please don't use the gmail one, it's for junk mail and I rarly check it!)


Hopfully ttyl
Jessi

ChicagoLady said...

Your post reminds me again why I have never wanted children. I KNOW I would not be a good parent.

As frightening as your story is, with everything you went through while pregnant, you were still able to inject some humor in it. I couldn't help but laugh when you used the terms "franken-huge" and "Human Milk Cow".

The ADD Housewife said...

Your blog is just amazing first off. Secondly I can't remember ever thinking about what motherhood was going to be like. Your right all the books lie flat out lie! LOL Never in my wildest dreams did I think raising children would be so draining. I have 3 little ones now and wonder some days when they are fighting and yelling and making a mess... What WAS I thinking LOL.
Keep up the good work your blog ROCKS! =)

Dorkys Ramos said...

Oh man, I have my own illusions as to what kind of mother I'll be and they're very similar to the ones you had. I wonder how I'll fare once I'm on the other side (many years from now)!

Tina said...

I'm not a mom yet, but I know I do not want to be the kind of mother my mom was to me. She just did not want to be involved with anything. Maybe she was just tired. She did have my sister and I (twins) at 16.

FranticMommy said...

OMG..I almost cried with relief when I read your post. I am not alone! That is the BEST one I've read in awhile. You are an awesome writer and just just NAILED it for me. We too have a Diva who is 27 pounds of demand (she's 3). And lucky us, we alos have the male version of the Diva who is now 6 and I am still praying he will outgrown his uber-needy status. Does someone know where I can buy a bale of PATIENCE? I seemed to have misplaced mine.....

 

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