Being a New Mother

Mar 28, 2015 | Opinions


Well, that was an extended leave of absence. My apologies to all, but I was somewhat preoccupied with being very, very pregnant, and then being quite sick, and then actually having a baby. Blogging on top of that might be asking a bit much. But still! I’m back, more or less, and now I have a newborn daughter to write stories for as well. She’s happy, healthy in spite of various shenanigans involved in birthing her, and the joy of my heart.

Normally I’d stick to blogging about writing, publishing, and various sword-related things, but if you’ll allow me a short interlude into mommy-blogger territory, I’d like to discuss a few things – specifically, over the last nine months I’ve been told all kinds of things about what to expect from motherhood, and somehow the following stuff was completely missed.

Your boobs get ‘bigger’

Oh yes, everyone says things like ‘your milk comes in’, or ‘your breasts will get bigger if you breastfeed’. But no one mentioned a few key points: one, by ‘bigger’ they actually mean ‘transform into rock-hard balls of pain’, and two, it happens OVERNIGHT. I literally woke up with boobs that’d make a porn star cry out of jealousy, and found that I’d gained two cup sizes in my sleep and now none of my regular bras were even close to fitting me.

LOL diapers

So. Many. Stories. SO MANY. I was regaled with tales of poop, diarrhea, projectile pee, and more, presumably in an effort to prepare me for the worst. And what I’ve found is that, by and large, diaper changes are a giant pile of meh, no more than a five or six on the one-to-ten scale of gross things. Why, you may ask? Well, I’ve spent years dealing with a particular monthly event where vast quantities of blood, mucus, dead tissue, and other less identifiable but still unbelievably putrid substances gush uncontrollably from my vagina for, oh, five solid days. Mere excrement from a baby’s bottom is just not that big of a deal anymore when you’ve had to regularly handle far worse foul-smelling goo  – and at least excrement washes out of clothes.

Babies are confused as hell

Babies do a lot of cute things, but they also do things that are flat out hilarious. Some of the funniest things are their reactions to sneezes and hiccups that totally throw them for a loop – they’ve never experienced it before, so it confuses the hell out of them. It’s adorably ridiculous to watch a newborn baby hiccuping with this look of complete bewilderment on their face.

You do not have enough washcloths

I asked various parents of my acquaintance what I needed for a newborn baby. I checked lists, of which there were many. No one mentioned that the one thing you really, really need LOTS of is washcloths, or really any absorbent cloths about six to twelve inches square. I did not have enough. I was incredibly lucky that I arranged a cloth diaper service which included a supply of washcloths, and I still had to go buy more because you use them almost everywhere. Babies are messy little creatures, and having a large number of cloths, wet and dry, to hand was by far the most useful thing I did.

The thing about sleep

I’m not exhausted. I have catnaps. The husband and I tag-team our way through the night, trading hours of sleep at a time, so both of us get something like a normal amount of rest. Overall, the breast pain has been a whole lot more awful than the lack of sleep – frankly, I was getting less when I was eight months pregnant.

Normal bathroom breaks

I was told, ‘oh, you feel empty after you give birth’ with the implication that this was not a nice thing. I would like to disagree wholeheartedly – I cannot describe the relief of being able to use the bathroom without having a baby in my torso. The sheer pressure on my internal organs has been lifted, and it feels fantastic. Not that I regret being pregnant (it was all according to plan) but I am not going to miss the fact that I couldn’t bloody well bend over for almost a month, and I had to use the bathroom every hour.