The last month has been filled with a mish mash of various contractors coming to my new home. To install sprinklers. To paint the high ceilings we can’t reach. To configure an alarm system. With them has come terrifying child related advice – since most have been men in their 40’s and 50’s who have children of varying ages.
“Get ready for your life to change” they’ve all said looking at my burgeoning belly in alarming, ominous tones. “It’s the best thing you’ll ever do, but it’s hard. Really really hard.”
“Duh.” I want to say like a 6th grader (do 6th graders still say that?). “Like I thought it was easy.” It certainly wasn’t easy getting to this point, so why would caring for an infant human be any easier than making one with Stage IV endometriosis?
And come to find out, the same thing has been happening to Merp. A colleague with whom he does much of his business, and who also utilized reproductive science to have his daughter, said this: “Man, do you realize how much your life is going to suck?”
Geez thanks. Coming from someone who went through infertility I wasn’t expecting such negativity. But I know how some guys talk and I assume this is probably in the same vein as the casual wife bashing that goes on at any male dominated happy hours across the country, ball and chain references flying like dollar bills to the bartender. Still though I want to tell all these people to suck it. I’m afraid enough as it is, guys. Maybe I don’t lament my fears to every random I meet, but I assure you they’re there without your help. In fact, here are a few of those fears, in no particular order (fears that many a new Mom have mulled around at some point, I’m sure):
Will I become a mommy zombie?
Will I ever be able to finish my book, aka any other project that is important to my identity as an individual (between dirty diapers and all-encompassing care for my helpless child)?
Pass the bar (see parenthesis above)?
Have a career (you get the idea)?
Will I be able to have a vaginal birth?
Will I make enough milk?
Be able to comfort a screaming child?
Will there be birth complications?
Will my child be healthy?
Will I be a good Mom?
How will I measure up to the scrap booking, cake pop baking, crafty mothers out there who make it all seem so easy?
I think I’ve expressed similar fears before and yes, I could go on and on and on, but honestly the thing I’m afraid of most, the very very most is – wait for it – that I will explode with a love so big my 5’9 inch frame won’t be able to contain it. That this love will overcome the me we know right now, and with it new branches of worry will sprout from my already fret filled brain transforming me into another version of the self I know. Because I love so much RIGHT NOW as it is. I sometimes cannot even look at Merp without welling up I’m so overfilled with love for him. I can’t even imagine loving something more than I love my little two dog, one husband family. I’m the type that purposely didn’t have my wedding filmed because reliving those moments is just too emotional for me. Am I a total weirdo? It’s okay, you can tell me if I am.
There’s also the fact that Merp and I, by moving, have been transported to what almost feels like a different state. A few blocks down the street of our perfectly planned suburban community (the type of place I NEVER would’ve imagined living a few years ago) is a gorgeous, brand new stucco elementary school. Every day at 2:30 kids file up the hill, backpacks jumping from little shoulders, papers flapping from little hands, while beautiful young moms nudge them along like they’re vulnerable new chicks bating some imaginary, but very hungry, wolf. It all seems so perfectly foreign, as if just by watching them for a moment I’m committing an atrocious sin. I don’t belong here. I’m no Mom.
Even though we’re almost done decorating the nursery (pictures to come) in light and dark turquoise, orange, and white. Even though I only have a few weeks left of my hospital birth class. Even though Daphne is due in exactly 60-days as of yesterday. Even though baby shower invitations have been sent. I still find it hard to believe that I will most likely be a Mom on or around April 9. A MOTHER. A MOMMY. That person I still cling too when I’m sick or sad or sorry. That person it seems I could never live without.
When I think about what that word means, MOTHER, I’m filled with that same urge I get to look away from old photos. It’s almost too much for me. Too profound. I, with Merp’s help, will be responsible for shaping, PROTECTING, nurturing, educating, feeding, clothing, potty training, and loving a little person who for quite a while won’t give much back but demands. HOLY BAT CRAP.
“But Steph Mignon,” you might be thinking, “Didn’t you think about all of this before? When you were giving up gluten, going to acupuncture, and shooting yourself with hormones?”
Well of course I did.
I mean there were fleeting thoughts about the responsibility of parenthood and blah blah blah, but something happened when I was told I may never get to have that experience. I automatically switched into DO mode. Everything I did was meant to get me here. And now that I’m here, which is almost there, I don’t feel prepared mentally or emotionally. Like at all.
So this is what I’m going to do (I don’t sit idle for long). I’m going to dive back into the message boards I began to neglect after the first trimester. I’m going to read the book my dear friend sent about happy babies on blocks. I’m going to listen to the hypo-babies cds that came in the same package. I’m going to start getting ready for the land of Mom with the same urgency that has brought me to the edge of that land in the first place.
I might still be scared as hell, but at least I can be sort-of kind-of prepared, right?