Monday, July 21, 2014

Warnings to moms

I was having a conversation with my sister in law the other month about our respective   pregnancies. She is due about a month before I am (I'm excited to have these cousins so close in age).
It's the summer now and our next 1-2 months of growing humans will take place as the temperature continued to rise. 
We shared and compared our stories of all of the people who have felt compelled to warn us about how big and hot and miserable we will be during the long scorching summer months. Because apparently we were probably not aware of this phenomena they call "summer". 

Now I believe that these people were probably trying to be helpful. Or it's make conversation. Or somehow well meaning. 

It got me to thinking about all of the ways that people, especially other parents, feel the need to "warn" and "prepare" you for how horrible pregnancy and motherhood are. Most of these warnings start out with "just wait till...____"

Just wait till the middle of August and you're ginormous and pregnant and miserable

Just wait till your nursing and (fill in the blank for the discomfort of the first 6 weeks of nursing)

Just wait till you are unable to sleep again until they are in college

Just wait till you have to deal with sibling rivalry/temper tantrums/ the terrible twos/ etc. 

Just wait until they start getting sassy and talking back. 

Just wait until the hormones start kicking in. 

Now. I know that being pregnant and motherhood is challenging. But it's not impossible. People have been doing it since time began. I've seen seemingly less than capable people turn their offspring into perfectly well adjusted human adults. 

And I do wish there were some areas of more open discussion about the actual surprising parts (like needing freaking depends for 6 weeks post birth. Post-partum depression. Or the astronomical cost of buying bras for your ever changing size) But seriously, summer being hot is not a shock. I've lived in the Midwest my entire life. I understand the weather patterns. 

I guess I am somewhat confounded by the need for all of the warnings. But what about the excitement of new life and new beginnings? What about warning parents of all the abundant joy you might experience.  What about sharing or warning about how adorable your child might be. Or about how emotional you might get when your child starts saying "no thank you" instead of screaming "no!"  Or warning that your child might actually sleep or nap and you could actually have some "me time". Warning about how much fun it is to see your child's eyes light up when they meet Batman or dad comes home or greets some other superhero in their world. Or how you think you might die of loneliness after leaving your child for a short girls weekend. 

Where are those warnings? 

We live in a world it seems so warped by negativity. And yes, I value honesty and there are negative things to parenthood and the world around us. But why do we give that so much credit and power? I don't want to focus on that. I want to be mindful of the good. Both the yin and the yang. Take it all in. Relish the moments. Not fear them. 

I was given a huge gift about a week before my wedding. Someone told me to take a moment to myself, silently, before I walked down the isle. Take in everything and everyone I saw. Take a deep breath. And I did. And in that moment there was no worry. Only peace. And I fondly remember that moment 9 years later. More vividly than many other moments of that day. (Where there were some messy moments too). And in the meantime, marriage has been messy. But I am learning how to try to hold those precious moments, like I was advised to so wisely.

Can I please do that with my children. My pregnancies. Relish them. Even in the chaos? 

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