|by William Warby, Flickr|
(Warning: first, I would like to make a few things very clear, namely a) I love children, babies, toddlers, teenagers, all youngsters... and it usually seems to be reciprocated; 2) I am profoundly convinced that even if having and raising children is a LOT of work, it's TOTALLY worth it. Now proceed at your own risk!)
The 8 steps of motherhood
1) Figure out if you want children
Don't laugh, it's an important question. Do you want kids? Really? Think about it, 'cause when it's done, it's done! (Wallowing naked in somebody's arms is NOT a good time to make that decision!)
2) Find a mate
Ideally, this mate should be: handsome, kind, smart, polite, well-mannered, funny, hard working, well-read, humble, devoted, strong (mentally as well as physically), fit, athletic, sexy, cute, dynamic, clean, well-dressed, caring, nurturing, a good cook, an enthusiastic traveler, willing to change diapers, and of course, rich. The longer the list, the better!
Bonus points if he a) owns a tropical island; b) flies a private jet; c) grows and makes his own pinot noir; d) is an expert at either or both foot and head massage; e) allows you to have a pool boy.
That's the fun part. Enjoy it! Keeping in mind that practice makes perfect.
Oh, and the best position to increase the chances of conception isn't always the one that first comes to mind. So, er, as long as the right thingy goes into the right thingy... experiment!
4) Be pregnant
Ugh. There's this occasional woman who pretends she enjoyed being pregnant (haha), but seriously? You spend the first 3 months either constantly nauseated or constantly falling asleep (or, if you're lucky, both). You spend the next 3 months worrying if that baby will be healthy, if you will be a good mother, if you will lose the pregnancy weight, if labor really hurts as much as they say, and if your IQ is high enough to change a diaper. You don't rest much at night either, hit by cravings in the wee hours (mine were Gatorade and escargots with garlic butter!!!) The last 3 months are spent either a) walking like you've just rode a horse for a full week nonstop; b) using the bathroom every 20 minutes; c) being annoyed by strangers who try to touch your belly; d) trying to have more than half a cup of food at a time without feeling you're about to explode; e) scratching your belly as the tremendous stretch makes it so itchy; f) feeling pain in your joints as they loosen; g) all of the above. And I'm not even mentioning the fact that you've become insomniac and that you can't even have a small glass of wine to help unwind.
5) Give birth
Warning: if you're a young female who hasn't had babies yet, please skip this part. I repeat: SKIP THIS PART!!!
Okay. Everyone seems to have their idea of how to deal with labor « discomforts » (hahaha). Apparently, if you have the right attitude, and breathe properly, everything will be manageable (hahahahahaha). In fact, if you trust that it won't hurt, and if you welcome the sensations with serenity (hahahahahahahahaha), it will be just fine! (hahahahahahahhahahahahahahhahaha - rolling myself on the floor - hahahahahhahahahahahahahhah)
Reality check. Labor hurts like hell. Yes, like hell. I had a leading expert in pain research for a professor at McGill, and he taught us that based on standardized charts and interviews with many, many people, it's been established that in terms of pain, giving birth is equivalent to having your digit cut without anesthesia. So tell me, would you be willing to have your fingers cut without anesthesia, over and over again, for HOURS?
If that's hard for you to imagine, try to remember the time you felt the most pain in your life. Like the worst, worst, ever, feeling of pain. Got it? Great. Now, multiply it by about A MILLION, and make it last for HOURS. You're not even there yet!
Have you ever felt pain so intense that you almost wished you were dead? No? Then you haven't experienced labor.
I was not lucky enough to be awarded any pain relief the 2 times I gave birth, because I do it too fast. Before you start thinking I'm lucky, imagine a cervix that dilates from 3 cm to 10 cm in about 30 minutes, think of the strength of the contractions that make it possible, and have a minute of silence. Thank you.
You're now holding a wonderful, precious bundle of joy in your arms. Bliss.
So you thought we were done with the painful stuff, hey? Hahaha. Think again. See all those peaceful, beautiful pictures of women nursing their perfect baby? Hahahahahaha. One of my friends, who had her first child before me, told me « I had always thought breastfeeding was natural, until I had to do it. » Based on my quasi-empirical observations, here's what usually happens:
- Some women will seemingly not have enough milk, or their milk won't seem to be good enough, or any other variation of that « Jeez, is it that bad if I supplement? » situation will occur.
- Some women will have enough milk for triplets, meaning they will constantly leak and overflow in between feedings, and will feel uncomfortably full (it actually becomes very sore, just like if your whole breast was a giant bruise... and that's usually the moment your partner chooses to feel you up - ouch!!!)
- Some women will get cracked, bleeding, possibly infected nipples. Now try to get it to heal when a tiny but nonetheless powerful mouth sucks on it every 2-3 hours! Good luck.
- Some women will have a baby who has trouble latching on properly and/or gets extremely fussy at the breast (unlatching and screaming, which, if you're nursing in a public place, makes it hard to be discrete to say the least!) and/or will fall asleep before s/he gets the needed amount of milk (leaving your breasts even more sore from engorgement).
Those situations aren't mutually exclusive, so if you're lucky like me, you will experience a couple of them at the same time. And I'm not even mentioning that my first baby being born premature, I had to pump every 4 hours for 3 weeks and a half (and feed it to her through a tube), until she was finally able to nurse without it causing apnea (baby stops breathing and becomes blue) and bradycardia (dangerously slow heartbeat)!
(That being said, and before you run to the grocery store to buy formula, let me clarify: despite all those obstacles, and because I really believe in breastfeeding, I did it for both my daughters for almost a year. Ya, despite the pumping, the overflows and the pain! There are some sacrifices you are willing to make in life, and that was one of mine.)
|Sometimes, you wonder...|
7) Survive the first couple years...
... On sleep deprivation. Never ending messes to clean. Spending your time with a self-centered, immature little being with whom you cannot reason, who throws tantrums, and whose main pastimes seem to be a) to do things that will make you angry (eg. destroy your belongings); b) to try and injure themselves in all kinds of creative ways.
There's a reason Mother Nature made toddlers cute: it's the only way we would keep taking care of them!!!
|They look so innocent to the untrained eye|
8) After all the hard work... enjoy!!!
My daughters are presently 7 and 9 years old, and in all honesty (and gratitude), it's a CHARM! What a pleasant time. I don't know how long it's gonna last, so you can be sure I savour every moment of it!