Preconception – My Kid Will Be A Mini-Me!
The Lie: When my kid comes along, not only will she be just like me, but we’ll always agree and have so much fun. This should be awesome!
The Reality: So one, I had a boy, something girly, glittery, shiny lip-gloss wearing, pink-loving me never thought possible. I honestly believed I had so many girl genes in me, that there was no way a boy would slip into my world. Wrong. Also, because the gods are funny, my boy is ALL boy. No pink, no ballet, no girl anything, and trust me, boy did I try. I bought this kid all sorts of multi-gender toys and books. I pushed “boys can like dolls and girls can like trucks” talks on him. But no, all he wants to do is roar loudly and push a million little hot wheels around for hours on end. Secondly, we’re nothing alike. I was a strong extrovert as a kid. I’d talk to anyone, acted in a million plays and joined the debate team. My son is the extreme opposite. Slow to warm, shy and pigs will fly before this kid gets up in front of anyone. Unlike me he loves sports, Lego blocks and plenty of alone time. I really thought my kid would be more like me.
The Perks: Being the mom of someone shy has taught me a lot. I never understood how differently the world treats extroverts vs. introverts, and that alone has been an eye opener. Now I can build Lego structures, roar as well as anyone, and I can try and sometimes succeed at sporty activities. Plus, while I always thought I’d contribute feminism to the world via killer skills passed on to a daughter, now I know that one of the best way to push for gender equality is to raise boys who respect girls. Having a boy who is unlike me in every way possible has for sure been different than I imagined, but also a great learning experience.
Pre-birth – I’ll Have The Perfect Birth Experience
The Reality: I read way too much Spiritual Midwifery while pregnant. I did get the midwife – so this part came true. Everything else on my birth plan pretty much crumbled to pieces. I had some unusual complications that no one saw coming, which made me unfit for home birth and landed me on midwife / doctor watch. Because of said complications I had to be induced with pitocen, which makes labor extremely more painful, yet for some 20 odd hours I clung to my whole, “NO epidural” speech. But guess what? After what seemed like an eternity of complicated and painful drug-free labor, threats of a cesarean looming, and my midwife having to hand me over to a doctor, I took the damn epidural. I wasn’t thrilled, but it beat a c-section, which thanks to the epidural allowing me to rest, I was able to avoid. Other parts of my birth plan fell away as well. Nothing is peaceful when you have complications, and I didn’t even get to hold my son or breastfeed right after he was born because they rushed him away to make sure he was okay.
The Perks: You can’t plan anything perfectly and the sooner you learn this the better. So, my birth experience didn’t go as planned, but neither has much of parenting, so this birth was a good primer for me. Also, although a natural birth is achievable for some, it’s nice that in this day and age we have options if they’re needed.
Newborn Time – I’ll Breastfeed Forever And Love It
The Lie: I’m so going to breastfeed like a pro. Not only that, but I’ll love it. It’s going to be tranquil and a great bonding experience. I’ll probably even do extended breastfeeding.
The Reality: Oh my gosh; breastfeeding is hard! My son was a lazy eater, wouldn’t latch on, and I clearly remember sobbing through the first night of new parenthood due to my frustrations. In fact, at one point during that first night, I had my not-wanting-to-latch baby in my arms, both of us crying, while my son’s dad was passed out on the couch in our hospital room. I couldn’t figure out how to stand up while holding the baby, and I couldn’t reach the nurse buzzer, so I started grabbing stuff off the night table and throwing it at my son’s dad to wake him up. Real tranquil huh? After hitting my son’s dad in the head with a large plastic pitcher, my shoe and some assorted baby goods, he finally woke up, got the nurse and she helped, but it took weeks for me to become good at breastfeeding. On top of this rocky start, I thought breastfeeding was way boring, it took up a lot of my time and I sucked at pumping milk. It was not fun for me. Then, although I wanted to do extended breastfeeding, my son self-weaned at just over a year. I’d never heard of a baby self weening so early on and never thought it would happen to me – but it did.
The Perks: Breastfeeding was the first real challenge I faced and overcame as a mom. I never loved breastfeeding, but I got really good at it and feel very proud that I did something so healthy for my son in spite of all the trouble.
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