With the first week of motherhood under my belt, I can look back and very safely say that it has been complete chaos. The Little Bit is lying on a pillow next to me, squirming and squeaking. She’s trying to wake up, and I think she’s going to wake up hungry.
That having been said, here’s what I’ve learned:
1. EVERY ADULT TAKES SLEEP FOR GRANTED…until you aren’t getting any. I’d give my kingdom for four hours of uninterrupted sleep without dreaming of diapers and bottles and all the frightening things that could happen to my little girl.
2. THE TINIEST THINGS MAKE THE BIGGEST NOISES. And cats don’t like that particular brand of noise. All three of the furry children are steering clear of the little human except to try to steal her bottle or attempt to sleep on her blankets.
3. NETFLIX IS YOUR FRIEND. There is nothing on television after midnight except infomercials and skin flicks. Neither of those is conducive to caring for a baby. I think I have no watched almost everything in the Netflix catalog. At least some of it can be considered “research material.”
4. DAYTIME TELEVISION IS A DISTURBING HABIT. I don’t particularly care if you’re the father or not… get a life, please. Maury, Jerry, and Steve should all be smacked for instigating that sort of low-life, trashy behavior.
5. CHILDBIRTH KILLS ROMANCE MOJO. It could just be me, but when attempting to write love scenes, I have no interest right now. I know that very act is what caused me to feel like I’ve been sitting on a porcupine for the last week and a half, have no sleep, and spend every two hours wiping butts and feeding little bird mouths. Let me forget what it felt like to be ripped apart from the inside out and I might be interested in sex again.
6. WOMEN NEED THREE PAIRS OF HANDS. One pair to tend to the baby, one pair to reach for things needed to tend to the baby, and one pair to do everything else in the house. She’s a week and a half old, and I’ve already learned to do so many things one-handed. If only I could learn to type that way. Voice recognition software is looking pretty good right now.
7. OTHER WOMEN LOVE BABIES. One her one-week unbirthday, we took Alice out for her first adventure into the great big, wide world. First stop was Applebee’s, where every woman in the building cooed over her. Next we went to Babies R’ Us to exchange some nursing stuff for a bottle warmer (that’s another story that I’m not getting into right now) and every woman in the building gravitated toward the little, tiny baby in the basket. When other people tell me she’s beautiful, I feel so proud of her.
8. CHILDBIRTH IS UNCOMFORTABLE. Yeah, we already knew that…but what the media doesn’t tell a mother-to-be is that there’s residual pain, cramps, and bleeding. There are stitches – whether you’re cut or you tear – and women learn very creative ways to go from standing to lying down and vice versa in those first few days. A friend of mine, Lucy Blue, said it best when she said a friend of her explained it as “first you feel like you’re sitting on a porcupine, then like you’re sitting on a pine cone, then on a pineapple…then finally it feels like you’re just sitting.” I haven’t made it to the “just sitting” point yet.
9. YOU DON’T REMEMBER HOW MUCH YOU MISS CAFFEINE UNTIL YOU GET THAT FIRST CUP OF COFFEE. Then you end up zooming around the room for twenty minutes before the hard crash hits and you want to pull your head off. I’m actually suffering from a caffeine headache right now because I’m going through withdrawal. I thought I’d broken this dastardly habit… guess not.
10. NO MATTER WHAT ELSE HAPPENS, IT IS ALWAYS WORTH IT. When my daughter opens her big, brown eyes and looks at me, I want to cry. She is so perfect and so beautiful, and she is absolutely everything I never knew I wanted until I had her. All the pain, every sleepless night, every spit up, every dirty diaper… it’s worth it. To have her tiny hand wrap around my finger or to see her smile is all the reward I could ever want. She’s beautiful, she’s perfect, and in the words of Edwin McCain, “I could not ask for more.”