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Issue 6
August 20, 2004

The Things No One Tells You
It's really remarkable that we can read so many books and talk to so many people about our forthcoming motherhood and still be left so shell-shocked once the bundle of joy arrives. As far as I can tell, you can be fully prepared with regards to all the things you must buy. (This is a real shocker. How amazing that we are good at consuming retail items under the guise of necessity.) Diapers, wipes, baby clothes-out-the-wazoo, blankets, strollers, bassinets, toys for six months out, a crib, yummy linens, a Britax car seat, a Bjorn, a diaper bag... it goes on and on. And we should all enjoy this part of it. It's the only time your husband won't question your purchases, as he's always wondering if his child's not having said necessity will scar him for life. But the bottom line is that all that stuff quickly fades into the background and you're left with your boob hanging out wondering why no one told you ...

  1. Your nursing bra is the size of a kite. If it weren't so nasty from the stains of the petroleum jelly-ish-but-worse nipple cream, you could fly it at the beach. Each triangle is a veritable tent. In my weakest moments, I've thought that we should all hang them from our flag poles as a sign of someone 'on the boob'. It could be a sign of joint suffering.
  2. Breastfeeding is emotional warfare. There is not other way to describe it. In defeat, it is physical and psychological agony. Your nipples may bleed, your entire boob region aches, and you feel like a milkcow with no brain. (Breastfeeding makes you stupid. Seriously, you'll be amazed at how much you'll forget. Plus, most of the time you're just sitting there with dirty hair in nappy PJs staring at the cracks in the ceiling because you're too tired to do things like read enlightening books on how to enjoy the miracle of breastfeeding.) If the baby is hungry, you feel guilty. If the baby is full, he throws up on you. And you start again. In victory, the defeats are made negligible. The bonding, the loving, the fact that your baby is growing because of what you are creating for him. Well, it's better than having a Prada bag in a roomful of snobs. It's perfection.
  3. Your husband will never understand any of it. Don't even try to explain. The elation, depression, confusion and wonderment at having delivered a human the size of a football (Boys take an hour and a newspaper to go #2. Can you imagine the production of them giving birth?), the bittersweet of going out on date night (sweet) in your fat girl jeans (bitter), why you need to talk to your mom 4 times a day, or how you don't know what you've done all day even though you didn't have time to get dressed and how it makes you feel when he asks you how your day was even though he's trying to be nice. He will never hear the baby cry in the middle of the night before you do. He will never truly appreciate the smell of sour milk curdling in your baby's neck fat rolls. And he will never know the love of a mother.
  4. Speaking of husbands, when bambino number two arrives, it is confirmed by sources in my playgroup that you will not talk to your husband unless you schedule a meeting. There is no time for casual conversation. You must plan a meeting to discuss spaghetti, play school, doctor's visits, leaky faucets, rodents in the basement or any other matter pertinent to your daily life.
  5. You will become socially anxious when around chic women without newborns. It's payback for when you were single/without tot and you rolled your eyes at the 'baby talk' and swore you'd never go on and on about nipples, feeding schedules and nap time. Now that you live the life of a fembot with bad hair and wretched coffee breath, socially acceptable females with no concept of the sour milk perfume that is all the rage in your house will make you very nervous. I know you don't believe me, but you will also not know (or care) what the "it" bag of the season is. You will opt for comforticon over glamour when it comes to shoes. And you will not care what you look like when you go to the grocery. Shocking, I know, but you need to go ahead and accept the fact that you may forget to get dressed and run errands in your husband's boxers.
  6. You will love more than you thought possible. You will replace all the selfishness of your twirties with an unconditional love for a person who in about 13 years time will ask you to drop them off two blocks from school. You will race to see them sleep after a night out. And you will forget all the agonies, pains and frustrations when they look up at you from their crib and smile.

And that's news from boobland. Have a happy and sour milk-free weekend.

 




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