Once upon a time I drafted about a half of a book titled, What to Expect When You Weren’t Expecting. I wrote it just after I had my first baby, and it was about dealing with the (shocking, emotional, painful, vomit-filled) truths of pregnancy, and the gut-wrenching feeling of faking thrilledness for a surprise bundle of joy. I can hardly relate to the heart of that work anymore, because after three pregnancies, three perfect babies and six years experiencing motherhood I can’t even comprehend how I was unthrilled about Brynlee’s life at any point in time.
But back then, it was the truth. There is only one piece of that not-so-book that still speaks to me — the dedication. It read:
For my daughter, Brynlee (and any future daughters I don’t know about). I hope this book gives you someone to relate to when you get pregnant. Because at that point I’ll be way too old and jaded by the joy you’ve brought my life to remember any of this stuff.
As moms, we become jaded oh-so quickly by the joy our children bring to our lives. It’s why almost every woman with grown children reminds us mamas in the thick of diapers and feedings and sleeplessness how fast it goes, how much we’ll miss these days and how we should cherish every moment.
They don’t actually want us to stop blinking. Or expect us to miss pacing the halls with a screaming newborn at 2 a.m. with a woken, whiny 3 year old over there in the corner. They don’t assume we will actually cherish trying to get smushed banana out of the carpet or permanent marker off of the walls.
I could promise that I will never tell a mama of littles that she will miss this, and instead tell her that she will make it through. But just six years ago promised I would never scream, “You must be so thrilled!” to a mama who just found out she was pregnant…and I have totally already done that.
Every time I’ve had a newborn, I’ve been surprised at how hard it is. My kids are not even three years apart, yet each time a new one has entered our lives I have been far enough removed from the grueling newborn stage to forget just how sleepless and exhausting and physically demanding it is.
That’s why I started writing, right now. In the thick of 8 months, 3 and 6. In the middle of diapers, sleeplessness and school routines. Because if I try to write about it later, it will come out as a filtered set of memories tainted by the joy of the outcome, rather than an honest look at the struggle in the journey.
Find the mamas who are in the trenches with you, whatever trenches those my be on your journey. It will help validate that even though none of this feels normal, it is all totally normal. And that you're doing a wonderful job.
Originally posted on Please Bring Coffee: a blog about surviving chaos on laughter and luke-warm coffee.