When you have a baby, at some point, you forget how overwhelmingly overwhelming “the beginning” was. From the delivery room to those first days and weeks (that feel like months) at home, you forget just how much pain you were in, how scared you were, how agonizingly awful the sleepless nights feel, and how petrified you are by the body you see in the mirror that you’re convinced will never be the same.
And then, magically, strangely, sadistically, you FORGET… It wasn’t that awful. It wasn’t that painful. Overnight, your birth story becomes an old war story: You literally survived D-Day. You’re able to sit around with your girlfriends, sipping your chardonnay-nay, shaking your head, “You ripped all the way to your a**hole?! Me too! But I’m fiiiiine now” Or, “OH, my gosh, I remember those nights of putting the car seat on my bed and bouncing to get him to sleep. Those days were awful. How did we do it?!”
Yup… as luck and science has it, “the beginning” becomes a blur and you don’t entirely remember just how “in it” you were. You remember how hard it was, but it seems manageable looking back. Like it wasn’t THAT bad… because hey, you went on to have another kid, or maybe another… And just like that, you become a welcomed member to a club of “survivors” that lived through “it” but will never ever remember everything…
But as an 8-year “Baby War I” veteran myself, this puts me in a bit of an awkward place for I am kind of a new but old mom. When Oliver was born, I was so far removed from those days of baby Jonah that that any shred of knowledge I once had about said beginning was GONE. Caput. Nada. Science has worked it’s magic and I have forgotten EVERYTHING.
Does Oliver want to start learning multiplication and play little league? Because I can help with that. Does he want to watch movies with the F word and listen to me repeatedly remind him that it’s a special occasion but in real life that word can’t be repeated? ‘Cuz I got that covered. Does he want me to yell at him every time he whines that I never let him download games or that he goes to bed earlier than like. Every. Second Grader. In. The. World. EVER? I can definitely make that happen! Does he want me to take a toy away and then give it back an hour later because mommy is terrible at disciplining and needs two minutes to take a shower and hasn’t taught said child how to self entertain? HELLO! Hand raised here! Because I am mommy, hear me roar. And I got that shit down. I’m like the Phil Jackson or Steve Kerr in the world of 8-year old mommyhood. (Hubby helped out with that one). So good, so ZEN I can call shots from the sidelines. Who needs my help, mamas? I mean, I’m like winning CONSTANTLY.
But can I ball hard in the world of basic baby sleeping, eating, keep your milk supply up and don’t let it look like nonfat milk game? Eh, not really. My brain took too many hits over the years (I’m now trying to make a football reference here but the coffee I’m drinking is super weak and typing from the toilet requires a lot of multi-tasking… but you catch my drift, right)?
In all seriousness, I’m not going to lie… the last 12 weeks of new/old mommyhood has been rough. My anxiety levels have reached new heights, my emotions have reached new lows, and my breasts have reached new volumes (and really only one of the people in my house appreciates that). I feel like I’m just finally, finally coming out of the haze… Ollie is sleeping for longer stretches and I’ve trained my brain (and breasts) to appreciate “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Below Deck.” (I swear I pump more when these gems are on. Can you even imagine what will happen when “The Bachelor” returns???? Could this be why our world is in such a sad rut??) But I digress…
In all seriousness, giving birth to a baby who has a medical condition takes up a lot of headspace. Of course it’s no wonder I’ve forgotten all the basic stuff—I’ve got big stuff on my mind! I’m trying to be kind to myself and patient as I get used to having a newborn again, but it’s not easy. This is completely unchartered territory. Nothing that any veteran mommy friend could have prepared me for. Thankfully, I have an awesome support team… From Peter to Jonah, to my mommy friends (new and old), to the Bravo network making me want eyelash extensions, I am starting to feel normal again… minus the FUPA situation that happens after a C-Section. Um, WTF?! I’m guessing this is something that none of you ladies out there actually forgot, you just failed to mention it to me. Just like I never told my girlfriends who delivered vaginally that it may look like you’ve been attacked by a shark. I figured I’d spare them that tiny detail. I guess some things we veterans don’t forget, we just choose not to share… After all, how else can we get our friends to enlist….