By Jenny Studenroth Gerson
When I was pregnant, everyone was all about “warning” me about what was coming next. I walked around much of those ten (let’s face it, pregnancy is ten, not nine, months) absolutely terrified. The warnings flew at me from every angle – in the checkout line at Target, on the street, slipping my shoes on and walking out of the yoga studio. Warnings, warnings everywhere about what was to come – from the excruciating, mind-numbing pain of childbirth to the shell of my former self I was about to become once I had her. There were times I felt like a prisoner on death row, trying to force myself to enjoy some tiny luxury despite my size and discomfort, because if you asked around, apparently my petty joys would be ending pretty soon!
“Enjoy your husband now – you’ll be so consumed by the baby you won’t spend any time alone together when she’s here!” “Invest in a cute one-piece for next summer – your body will never be the same.” Or WORSE, from one of my female doctors, when I expressed concern about staying sexy for my husband, “You’ll lose the weight this time, but with the second one forget it. You’ll be so tired by then, you won’t care.” Yikes!!!
AND you all know my personal favorite, “Sleep now while you still can!” (And its sister statements, “Enjoy the quiet now!,” “Get your nails done – you won’t be doing that again any time soon,” and the good old, “You’ll never have time to shower.”) But with all these scary warnings that made me feel like the end of the world was coming, they forgot to warn me about what was really ahead.
They should’ve warned me that after all those hours of labor (half of which with an epidural, which made things totally bearable), the first time I saw her face my heart would burst out of my chest and shatter onto the floor. They should’ve warned me that crying because you’re happy is actually a thing, and it’s a thing you can’t control when you’re a mommy and you behold the beauty in your arms. So you’d better keep tissues on hand at all times, and stock up on the waterproof eyeliner.
They should’ve warned me that despite the exhaustion, waking up to tenderly care for her needs would be the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
They should’ve warned me that I would love my husband so much more once he was the father of my bundle of perfection, that I wouldn’t remember what the old love had felt like. That we’d have challenges, and arguments, mostly bickers, sure – but that we would also create goofy ways to spend time together like driving around the city with her snoozing in the backseat. That we’d come up with ridiculous names for her and laugh our asses off. That he’d finally learn to make sure there was wine in the house at all times for me and that that would be the most romantic thing ever. That I’d overhear him while he changed her diaper saying, “I’m Dada. Da-da. You’ll say Dada first.” And that my heart, molten lava, would melt right out of my chest and all over the floor again.