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Speaking truth to bullshit

At naptime yesterday, I did the treadmill for a while and cleaned up the kitchen and picked up some toys and read a bunch of your comments on my last post while bawling my eyes out. And I mean bawling with much snottage and looking like I had been in a fistfight after, which had probably been coming on for a while but hell, who has time for that sort of thing? And it wasn't even everyone who told me it was going to be ok, because I know it is going to be ok, better than ok, and while I do appreciate hearing it, I don't need to hear it. What I did need to hear was what you told me, that I wasn't a bad mom, wasn't a bad person, that you had thought the same things, worried about the same things, and gotten through all of it to the good bit at the end.

I don't know why the internet makes this easier, why I am better able to say to the world at large that hey, I'm having these bad thoughts or I'm feeling these things that I am sort of ashamed of feeling than I am able to say the same thing to a friend or to my husband. Or maybe I do know, maybe it is because when you say that to one person there is the risk that they will look at you like you are a lunatic or unworthy or a bad mother and will have no connection whatsoever to what you are telling them, but when you tell the internet the chances are good that someone out there will have gone through the same thing and be willing to own up to it and just to say yes, yes honey, you are not the only one, and it will be ok in the end.

And that is partly why whenever I am asked by a pregnant woman or a brand new mom how those first few days and weeks were with Mia, I tell them the truth. They were miserable. I had been fed all the lines by the stupid pregnancy books that as soon as the baby was in your arms the clouds would part and a radiant swath of sunshine would illuminate your life and the angels would sing and you would suddenly know a love like no other that made it all worth it. And that is bullshit. I mean sure, maybe it happened that way for you, and if you had asked me early on I would have claimed it happened that way for me, but it was nowhere close. Really it was just bizarre and miserable and confusing. I was drugged and in pain and couldn't quite understand that I was no longer pregnant and that this alien being I had been handed was the child I was supposed to love more than air.

I wanted to sleep. I wanted an hour to myself. I wanted to be able to get out of bed without being in agony. I wanted this strange little person who I would certainly never understand to stop chewing my boobs all to hell because it hurt like a motherfucker and made me really, really angry. I wanted, more than once, to just jump out the window and run far, far away. Yes, of course, I stayed and cared for and protected that baby, but only because she was helpless and it was my responsibility, not because I felt any particular adoration for the squalling, messy thing. And it wasn't post partum depression, and it wasn't hormones, and it wasn't anything wrong with me. It was that it was hard, very hard. And I don't want to scare the new parents, but I wish that someone had told me ahead of time that it might take time for me to love my child so much that I would happily lay down and die for her and consider it a small price to pay, and that it was ok if it took that time. That I would get some sleep and get to know her a bit and it would happen. So that is what I tell people, when they ask me.

And so my deepest thanks to all of you who told me that you had doubts and fears about the second one, and that it worked out in time, and that it is ok to feel that way. I needed to hear that more than you can know.

Comments (57)

I didn't comment yesterday b/c I didn't have anything to say, I'm only having 1 child. But, I have hard others express those same fears.
And, I'm glad someone is honesty about those early days of motherhood. The first night home from the hospital Michael cried every minute. And we had a ped appt the next day and when I told the dr. he said that was true of most babies. And no one had told me that was common. And no one told me that.
Now I tell new moms that the first night is really hard, and it's ok to want to throw the baby out the window. It's just not ok to do it.

I don't have any children, or any plans for them, but if I do it? I want YOU to be my pregnancy/baby BFF. I love that you are honest about it. It's likely cathartic for you as well. Bravo.

I genuinely think that it is the internet's greatest achievement: women (and men) around the world know what pregnancy and childbirth and having a baby is really like - the good AND the bad - and can talk about it honestly. When my brother was about to have his first, I told him that there would be a point in the first 3 months when if he was handed papers to sign to put his child up for adoption, he would do it. No hesitation. But that it gets better. And I was right. I tell anyone who asks me the same, but I still went ahead and had number 2 and never regretted it. You are going to be great.

And thank YOU for sharing this.

If I had been around yesterday, I too would have told you that eventually, it would be okay. I went from one to three and really, the first 6-9 months are a blur. I remember two babies nursing at the same time and I remember the severe lack of sleep, I remember recovering from surgery with anemia and I remember the lack of sleep. Did I say that twice? But even typing this, as I remember the hard times, my eyes well with the love I have for all three and I tell you - I would do it again and again, because it's so worth it. You are one helluva mom to Mia and will be to this little guy as well. Congratulations Momma, only 8 more weeks.

I am a nurse and work with postpartum moms and their new babies. When I had my first, I liked her ok. Like I like my patients. Every time she pooped, I reached for her chart to document it. I remember being worried I would always feel like her nurse and not her mother. And by the way, WHEN DOES MY SHIFT END??? I have laundry to do.

Of course I came around, like we all do. Why do the books spew that bullshit anyway? At work, I do try to give nursing mothers a headsup on the sucktitude of the first 2-3 weeks of breastfeeding (first I look up and down the hall for any LLL members. Then I whisper.). I tell them it will be easy and they will love it but not for at least 2 weeks. In the meantime, they will be sore and tired and leaky and confused. All of those images they have of peaceful rocking chair nursing sessions by moonlight will not be a reality for a little while. I think otherwise, they think they are doing something wrong, you know? Its really not hard to make new mothers feel guilty, I don't know why we twist the knife by tricking them into believing its sunshine and roses from the beginning.

It is a good thing, this internet. I totally agree, that first little bit sucks the life right out of you, and no one really tells you that. In all honesty, it gets a littler harder that way with each baby, especially if (like I did this time) you end up recovering from a section also. But you do get through it, somehow, and the clouds do eventually part and you know it's right. It's just surviving the early days/weeks, getting acquainted with the new person and learning what works for everyone. That part is nuts. Sending kleenex and hugs for you, sweet mama!

I didn't read comments yesterday because your post resonated with me so well and I couldn't afford to cry. But this morning... niagara falls, baby. :)

What makes me feel bad this time is not focusing much on the baby before she's born. I haven't read TO her (she hears us when we read to her brother), haven't played her our favorite tunes with headphones around the belly like we did with him.... so yeah. Guilt and wondering how it's all going to work out. BUT! We're going to DO THIS THING and be so gobsmacked by all of the big love in our little lives, I just know it's going to be magic.

After the first 2 weeks to 3 months, of course.

Ahh! The first few weeks are horrible! My husband and I knew it would be hard but by week 6, we were at the ends of our ropes! We had to sit down and talk about a lot of things having to do with making sure we each did things for the baby and then we had to reconnect with each other, because it was all baby all the time and we sort of forgot that we had each other first and foremost. Hopefully with a second child things will be better. Here's hoping it is, for you. :)

Thank you for sharing this. NO ONE, not one single friend I have with babies has ever said this to me so I just keep my mouth shut but this is EXACTLY 100% how I felt for weeks and weeks which turned into months (and to top it off my charming loving older sister had the gall to tell that how I was feeling was wrong - that I should NOT ever had a baby had I felt this way at all... that I was irresponsible for doing that...) It literally took me months to get myself together and be a "good mommy" after that comment and those feelings I was feeling. I felt like such a shitty person for not feeling all glowy and lovey and perfect the way others I knew presented themselves (which I believe now were mostly lies told to the public and to themselves like to get by...)

I hate that people gloss over it and so like you when people ask me (but not my immediate group of friends) about what it is like I tell them. I may simply say it is hard - all of it - breastfeeding, lack of sleep, going back to work & leaving your baby behind with a stranger, feeling like absolute shit because your hoo ha is ripped open and that this ripping generally happens to everyone who gives birth vaginally... That there seems to be NO light at the end of the tunnel some times BUT that there is...

That is basically why I said what I said yesterday - I hope I did not offend in that I did spend almost two years before deciding on #2. I love what we three have now and a new baby will change that but on the other hand, I now know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am basically hanging on to that light with a fierce grip and hope that it will get me through what I know will be the rough early months (and if I nurse as long as I did the first time, the early years!)

Thank you once again!

Thank You....thank you with all my heart. I am due in 3 weeks with my first and 99.9% sure my only. I am scared and these stupid books piss me off. I am worried, and scared, and tired, and 9 billion other things (probably hormonal too) but there is no real perspective of all this until you helped me. We are also having a boy and hell....I quite frankly am losing my mind.
Thank you Beth.
XOXO
Cheryl

Thank You....thank you with all my heart. I am due in 3 weeks with my first and 99.9% sure my only. I am scared and these stupid books piss me off. I am worried, and scared, and tired, and 9 billion other things (probably hormonal too) but there is no real perspective of all this until you helped me. We are also having a boy and hell....I quite frankly am losing my mind.
Thank you Beth.
XOXO
Cheryl

I had fears about #2, but more in the way of how #1 would be and react to #2 and how I would have enough time for both, enough love for both, etc. But it comes and I can't imagine my life before #2 and I don't want to - he just fits perfectly with the 3 of us. And it is hard. I have even less time for things for me, but I have these 2 great little guys and that is what I try to remember when it is hard. And while I did not feel the instant rush of love, joy, etc with #1 - with #2 it came much faster, almost instantly, but I had a different birth with him so I think that is why. So I wish you the best, but I won't tell you life is grand with both - because at times it may be, it's mostly more just hard as hell. And if you need anything, we'll be here for you!

I cannot believe you are using the treadmill, I'm too lazy to excercise and I'm not even pregnant!

PS-you are a wonderful Mom!!

This should make you feel awesome:

When the Goon Squad was about six weeks old I was so tired that I seriously considered abandoning my family just so that I could sleep.

Hi Beth. I'm a long time reader, first time commenter. I just had to tell you how much I appreciated this post. After many years of ttc, several miscarriages and couple rounds of IVF, I am expecting my first baby in June. Because it's been so difficult for us to conceive, I have felt this obligation to only be positive throughtout the pregnancy and I felt guilty if I ever complained about anything - the nausea, the headaches, the cellulite on my thighs (yikes!), etc... I also felt like a horrible person whenever I started doubting my abilities to be even a half-decent mom and to take care of a baby and whether or not I've made the right decision. Don't get me wrong, I want this baby more than anything in the world but I definitely have moments of doubt. Reading your post, however, has made me realize that it's ok to admit feeling miserable and that I'm terrified to death at the thought of giving birth and being responsible for another human being. And that it's not a reflection of the type of mom that, deep down, I know I will be.

So, thank you.

Thank you Beth! Because with 5 weeks to go everyone keeps asking me if I am ready, if I am nervous, excited, etc. And honestly? I am scared of how little sleep I am going to get. And how I am going to care for this baby, this baby that I want so badly, but now that it is close I know I will be tired and cranky and hormonal and sad and all the books in the world try to paint a different picture. So thank you for being honest!

And just from reading your blog I have no doubt your love for your son will be so huge you won't know what hit you.

It's so important that moms know it's OK to think "wow this really sucks" ESPECIALY in the beginning...bc well it does suck...sucks big BIG time. I was so annoyed after our first was born. It wasn't supposed to be like this...I wanted my life back. But as you know that all fades away until you can't imagine what life would be like w/out them. There are times I'd like a day or so off to just be me, not the mom w/ all the responsibility but i know that I'd still worry about how much they slept, ate, etc. so there's no point in running away even on the worst days bc god damnit I love them like crazy. Sorry I'm rambling. I actually have a point about #2. Because i knew the beginning was going to suck the second time around & i knew what to expect it wasn't so bad, not bad at all actually. I wondered what i hated so much about it the first time...of course then i didn't sleep but for 2 hrs that night & then i remembered.
It's easier AND harder w/ 2. PLUS w/ the bonus of appreciating #1 a million times more than I did before.
Good luck to you even though you don't need it.

I think that the first few weeks hit us all the hardest. It was scary and a blur and I regret that I can barely remember so much but I remember waking up in the dead of the night and listening for the little squirmy thing next to me, to make sure he was still breathing. And I remember thinking, well, if he's decided to leave us, I can still handle it.

It felt like standing at the edge of a cliff, staring into the unknown (the love and the adoration and the absolute bliss that parenthood could bring) and talking myself down. Saying it would be all right if I lost the baby RIGHT THEN because then I wouldn't have to commit my heart and soul to this little person who still felt so different and foreign.

And now that there is going to be another one, I look at my son and can't decide how its possible to split my heart into two when I've invested so very, very much into him. How its possible that I won't immediately think of where he is or what he's doing when I wake up. That I won't be able to meet his needs so readily. It is a scary place, and I want to be here, I do, but it doesn't leave me any less frightened of what's to come.

Thanks for being brave and sharing this. The internet is an amazing thing.

Nobody can ever tell you how you're going to feel when you become a mom. But, from the sounds of the other commenters, it sounds like it's all going to work out just fine.

Best of luck and Merry Christmas!

{{{hugs}}} You're amazing. Never change.

You and your family have a good Holiday!

I also didn't comment yesterday because, as you know, I only have one. But part of what has kept us at one (besides not being able to begin to afford another) is my fear that I wouldn't love him/her as much, combined with the fear that I would and then I would have two hearts outside my body; two heartaches waiting to happen (which is a really awful way to look at it, but you know how thoughts go when you're worrying...).

And I, too, was a little confused when Cole was finally put in my arms. Suddenly he was years worth of dreams come true and I just wasn't prepared. In fact, I kept saying "No Way, No way!" to which the nurses kept responding "Uh- YES WAY!" Though they live in us for 9 months before, our children are strangers to us until that moment. Needing time to bring your head around to all the newness seems normal to me.

It's wonderful that you are that honest about motherhood, I'm sure there are a lot of moms out there feeling the same way who are encouraged and relieved to read your words.

People should be that honest about the first year of marriage.

I don't know about a second child, but you've pretty much summed up everything I felt when we first took K home.
I would've killed (well, not really, but you know what I mean) for someone to have told me the reality of it all - especially the breastfeeding part.

Thank you for posting this. We're trying to get pregnant and these are the things I hope people share.

WOW thanks for putting that into words. My first is now 11 and I can remember wondering when I was going to feel that feeling that I had read so much about and that everyone was telling me about. It took a while--don't know when it finally did--all I know is that once it hit it compounded daily and I felt a love like no other. Honestly I don't think my husband even understands it and he loves our kids with every ounce of his being. My second will be 6 in a couple of week and it was even harder with her. She was not an easy baby as #1 was (had I known then how easy he was!). Amazingly I do have room to love both of them equally.....although they might argue that I love one over the other. I worked with a girl at one time who told me that if she had to choose, her husband or her son, she would choose her husband....THAT is something I can't fathom, I hope she has changed her mind.

Well, dang it! I missed commenting yesterday. I will add that even with #2, full well knowing what wonderfulness a child can be, it still took a while to feel a bond and undying love for her.

Oh, I wish I got here yesterday to console you. I had SO much anxiety about the second one. And, it is HARD. Yes. And, I get resentful and frustrated and angry and selfish. And, sometimes I have to let him cry (which I HATE to do) because I. just. cant anymore. There are so many different feelings that emerge with the second. You can't know what to expect. So, it's a big UNCERTAINTY when you're pregnant. Just trust this: you will adapt. Don't think too hard about the what ifs and how will I's because, no matter what, you'll adapt, and you'll get through it. And, there will be moments when you can't believe how big your love can be. Email me anytime if you need support. I'm here. And, you and I are in the same boat....

Oh, I wish I got here yesterday to console you. I had SO much anxiety about the second one. And, it is HARD. Yes. And, I get resentful and frustrated and angry and selfish. And, sometimes I have to let him cry (which I HATE to do) because I. just. cant anymore. There are so many different feelings that emerge with the second. You can't know what to expect when you're expecting your second. So, it's a big UNCERTAINTY when you're pregnant. Just trust this: you will adapt. Don't think too hard about the what ifs and how will I's because, no matter what, you'll adapt, and you'll get through it. And, there will be moments when you can't believe how big your love can be. Email me anytime if you need support. I'm here. And, you and I are in the same boat....

I didn't comment yesterday, because this one is hard for me. I really didn't think I could do a second. I loved that first one so freaking much, bordering overly, and good lord I thought I was going to ruin the second one by loving him less. And then he came, and an interesting thing, albeit scary, happened.

I loved him more.

This is the hard part to admit. He, being #2, had no choice but to be a little more self-contained. He HAD to wait sometimes, and he was okay with it. He didn't cry as much, slept more easily, my body hurt less because it knew what it was doing, and by god...my affection for the second grew larger than the first. I really, really felt like the world's worst mother.

It all sorted itself out, and as they got older and got their own little personalities, I remembered more clearly why I love them both so equally and so differently, but it was hard for the first 6 months. Undescribably hard.

Two kids is gruelling. It's tiring. It's hectic. And it's the most perfect thing ever. Mia is old enough to really shine through this, and you are going to find a whole new, bigger level to love her. And the new baby is going to take over that baby-love spot.

You are fine. You rock. You're a lovely mother. You children are astonishing. You are, too. Thank you for sharing mommy-dome with us.

Hearts....

Thanks so much for saying what you did. I am 29 weeks pregnant and while I have always, always wanted children I now find myself wondering what the hell I have done. I just keep thinking I am too selfish to do what I need to for this child. When I talk to other pregnant women who say that they already love this baby that they do not even know... I stare at them and wonder what is wrong with me. All I know about this baby at this point is that it give me heartburn, makes me tired but unable to sleep, and generally makes me feel like crap all the time. Why would I love that?

I am so terrified, and I really needed to hear what you said. Thanks.

When I first had my daughter, I felt like I had gotten a new puppy. She was cute, she was sweet, but she was just this little being that I didn't know who demanded all of my time, energy, and boobs. You know, I don't think I've ever said any of those things out loud, and if a family member asks, I lie my ass of. No, I'm not scared to have two. Yes, I loved my baby more than life itself from the first minute. And I always say that I can see loving two just as much as one, because I know your heart grows to hold more children, etc. But it's all crap, because I am terrified. Thank you for these last two posts. They have really allowed me to feel normal, like everyone has these moments, everyone worries about these things, and I'm not alone. Thank you.

*sappy internet hugz*
(I've been on MySpace too much today.)

I don't have children, but know, already, that I'll have the same fears you're having now when I get to that point. When things get tough, just go grab Mia, squeeze her until she turns pink(er?) and smother her in kisses. Appreciate the time you have with her as an only child. Aw hell, what do I know though?

Oh, boy, do I hear you. I felt exactly like that at first--with a colicky baby who would not sleep except in my arms for the first three months. It took so long to get used to having so much less private time, too--and I desperately need my time each day with a mug of coffee and a book. It was HARD--and all my friends with kids wouldn't really acknowledge that, they seemed to think I was overreacting and being a much more uptight parent than they would ever be.

It is so, so important to talk about these things instead of all keeping our teeth clenched and pretending everything's perfect. We owe it to other women to be honest about this stuff.

Thank you for your honesty. As Mom to 2 little ones close in age to yours (July 05 and Sept 07), I know what you say is the truth. And trust me when I say that you will get through it and come out the other side.

I also tell people the truth, that it was pure hell for me after my daughter was born. Nobody told me beforehand, and when I was losing it in the throes of postpartum depression with a colicky child, people would tell me that the colic would only last six months. And they thought that was comforting. When you have a child that screams from 5:00pm to 10:00pm every night, gets up every two hours during the night to be fed, and you haven't had more than a couple of hours of sleep in a row for weeks, telling somebody that it "only" lasts about six months IS NOT COMFORTING. Can't imagine why I waited four years before I got pregnant again. :P

We have the same fears Beth. Sometimes I feel massively guilty for stealing away Tim's special time with his parents. For stealing the attention he's getting now. And the fact that the due date is in fact Tim's birthday breaks my heart. I still sometimes consider the baby inside me as an 'intruder' to our family. It's not that she's not welcome, or that I don't love her. I do, but life is wonderful now, Tim is doing great and I don't want the birth of his little sister to mess up his life.

But I do believe it will all be OK. Just like it will be with your family. Thanks for being open about it and telling your story.

So when I frantically email you while having a total breakdown those first few weeks after having the baby, you'll help me through and calm me down? Because while in my head I know the beginning will be tough, I just can't wrap my heart around the fact that it will be anything less than perfect. And the fact that I can't come to terms with reality scares me, because I don't want to set myself up for something that can never be achieved. I mean c'mon--NOTHING is perfect or turns out EXACTLY like you'd planned. Especially because we've never had a baby before, so this will be mindblowing! And yes, the internet is such a wonderful place. I've felt such a sense of community through the whole pregnancy and can't imagine it any other way.

I appreciate your honesty with everything, and if I had some experience having two kids I'd try to help you through too.

Thank you for this post. Your honesty is refreshing.

i don't have children of my own, so i didn't feel that it was my place to leave a comment yesterday, much as i wanted to. but i am so glad to hear that you had a good cry, that you felt the support that was intended, and, most of all, that you continue to be honest.

i was reminded, while reading this, of an episode oprah did a few years ago where mothers, like you, told the REAL truth. actually, it turned into two episodes or more because of the enormous response. i think honesty endears us to people. it makes us closer, more comfortable in our own reality. and it is no surprise that the internet makes this all feel a bit safer, a bit less risky.

on that note, several bloggers seem to be speaking recently about the significance blogging holds for them and how (cliche alert!) it has literally changed their lives. i don't doubt their claims for one minute, cheesy as they may seem.

we're all here pulling for you, beth. just tie a knot and hang on.


I am so happy that I had two friends who told me how strange it was for them when they first had their babies and all of the emotions that they went through.

Even with the warning I found myself presented with a baby after labor and an emergency c-section. I remember kissing him on the forehead while my arms were strapped down and thinking that I should kiss him, but I wasn't really sure why. I spent the next few weeks feeling as if I was pretending-I protected him and took good care of him, but I felt as if I was pretending the emotions.

He will be 11 months this week. My husband and I were just talking about how much we love him and like him now and about the time when we were not sure that we would every feel that way.

So, keep telling new moms the truth. The truth for you is it will be mindblowingly difficult and incredibly worth it!

Best wishes

First off, I laughed my ass off after reading Em's comments.....I too am a OB nurse, mother of 4 kids, and feel the exact same way..These moms come in with "their" plans.. plans for a great delivery, happy baby that sleeps all the time and nurses great from the get go.. then, reality happens and they think 'what the hell is going on?' Why, that's not what it said in the zillion books I've read. I get moms crying over whether to give the baby a pacifer because they're scared shitless by the lactation nazi..I tell em, it's your baby, you do what YOU feel is right, not some lady. I think the key is, just relax and take one day at a time (cue sitcom music) oh and I always tell them that they're gonna hear lots of assvice from their friends, family, nurses, internet, but that they should take it with a grain of salt and pick and choose what works for their family..

I always tell people that my hardest transition was none to one. They look at me like I'm crazy, since I have 4 under 6. But, truly, that first one nearly did me in. Like you, it was not PPD, it was just overwhelming realization of what I was in for. Those books and magazines can be such liars.

I couldn't read your comments to yesterday's post, and I didn't leave my own, because I feel the same way and I'm not even pg with my second child. I want one, but I'm already worried that I won't be able to do it. I barely made it through the first year of this child -- my marriage barely survived it, too -- and I'm afraid that things might spin even more out of control with another. But I still want another baby.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you that I also tell the whole truth when someone asks me what the first year is like. I felt the maternal connection very quickly with Bennett, but it was still veryveryvery hard. I don't want some new mother to feel bad about herself for being overwhelmed by motherhood because I didn't tell her the truth about my experience. I think one of the reasons I'm so in awe of my little critter now is that we went through fire together and he's an amazing little man.

I couldn't read your comments to yesterday's post, and I didn't leave my own, because I feel the same way and I'm not even pg with my second child. I want one, but I'm already worried that I won't be able to do it. I barely made it through the first year of this child -- my marriage barely survived it, too -- and I'm afraid that things might spin even more out of control with another. But I still want another baby.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you that I also tell the whole truth when someone asks me what the first year is like. I felt the maternal connection very quickly with Bennett, but it was still veryveryvery hard. I don't want some new mother to feel bad about herself for being overwhelmed by motherhood because I didn't tell her the truth about my experience. I think one of the reasons I'm so in awe of my little critter now is that we went through fire together and he's an amazing little man.

Beth, this is a wonderful post and I only wish it had been written and posted a year and a half ago when I was pregnant with my second child. I remember when I took my home pregnancy test and discovered I was pregnant with my second baby, I was thrilled to see the positive sign on the pee stick but seconds later I literally said “oh, shit”. My closest cousin gave me the low down on how hard it is with a second child. Her words to me were “going from one child to two is like going from one to one hundred. You will be pulled in every way possible but eventually, you’ll learn to manage”. She was dead on. The first weeks were hard. I was recovering from my second C-section and this time I had no help other than my husband. The day he went back to work and left me alone with my two year old and my new born I nearly freaked out. I was on the phone with one of my closest friends nearly any time I wasn’t napping and she talked to me to keep me from leaping out the window. She was my life support till I got the hang of living with a toddler and a new born. Life will be tough for a few weeks after your baby is born, but hang tight because it will get better.

I actually went into my first moments of motherhood thinking that attachment would be delayed, because I had heard so many stories the same as yours. So it was surprising to me that I had a bit of the parting of the clouds thing, and not all the confusing/angry stuff.

I'm posting this only to say that no one can generalize those first mothering days, whether they be blissful or hellish. It's a lot of stuff thrown our way all at once, and we sort of all throw the dice.

I actually went into my first moments of motherhood thinking that attachment would be delayed, because I had heard so many stories the same as yours. So it was surprising to me that I had a bit of the parting of the clouds thing, and not all the confusing/angry stuff.

I'm posting this only to say that no one can generalize those first mothering days, whether they be blissful or hellish. It's a lot of stuff thrown our way all at once, and we sort of all throw the dice.

I'm coming a little late to the party - ok? I've had a lot of holiday preparation to do...but I'm soooooooo in your corner. I remember a friend telling me that her mother told her, "How can you expect to love your newborn instantly? It's basically a stranger. You FALL in love with your baby." That was comforting for those beginning months when I thought - "Holy Shit. Who is this child? Why did I think I could do this?"

I remember looking at my son for the first time and thinking, "You don't look ANYTHING like I thought you would. Are you really mine?"

But, now there is NO DOUBT that he is mine - all mine - and he is no longer a stranger because I've fallen head over heels in love - well, most of the time.

I'm not a parent, but the whole thing does sound pretty scary to me and it is refreshing to read some honesty.

I may not be a parent, but I am a big sister and although I was older than Mia is when the first sibling came along it was hard and we fell out a lot and my nose was out of joint, but I'm so glad I have all my brothers and sisters. To be honest, the hardest adjustments I've had is with my brothers, they were born when I was 17 and 19 and I probably had more jealousy then because my dad was acting like a first time father. Young children in a close, secure family had it easier, even if they don't know it!

PS, there's something up with yours and Chris's RSS feeds, you haven't appeared in my Bloglines for over a week now, I was getting worried...

ok, to be truly brave, you have to be afraid but act anyway.

To be truly professional, you have to turn in a good performance even when you're not in the mood.

To be truly married, you have to work hard at respect, spontinaity, showing your love with actions, even when you're not feeling that 'fluffy love'.

To truly be a parent you have to care for your children even when you don't 'feel' like a parent or feel like you're in love with them etc.

Oh an incidently - i found going 1 to 2 children EASY, and 2 to 3 INCREDIBLY hard, contray to what I had read. 3 to 4 was fairly easy and 4 to 5 is going ok so far!

I also didn't feel with any of my 5 that they were strangers after the birth - I felt that we had tuned in/begun to tune in to each other during the pregnancy.

Oh and Em - GREAT comments re breastfeeding!

Thanks so much for this post! I am pregnant with my first (15 weeks tomorrow) and so far it's been a rocky pregnancy. I actually just got out of the hospital after three days because of persistentblood pressure problems. I am reading that "What to expect when you're expecting" book pretty much cover to cover but I really appreciate you giving the straight details on the things of motherhood that aren't so golden. I try to be as optimistic as possible about things but I think realism is important. Thanks a bunch for telling it like it is. I needed this!

Hey. You're great. Crazy Internet People love you because you're a great parent and person. People who are great parents and people are the ones who pull through the tough times and end up on the other side as happy as you are with Mia.

I just keep thinking about the picture of Mia feeding your belly with that big spoon and I know without a shadow of doubt that YOU will do great, MIA will do great, and CHRIS will do great. Therefore, by the transitive property... so will your baby. I'm excited for you. Very excited.

I'm going through all this right now. It's my third, but my kids are 9 and 10. I don't have energy for my boys right now and feel so guilty and I think I must be crazy to start over again. I know it'll be okay in the end, but still...there are always doubts and worries.

You are definitely not alone. Sorry I'm late to comment, but I felt that I had to. Being a parent is never easy. I think that may be a sign that you're doing it correctly. We kick ourselves constantly wondering if we're doing the right thing or the best thing and in the end, it will be okay. Having a baby - first, second, fifth - is a huge change and it always takes us awhile to get used to change.

Thanks for posting this, to know I'm not alone. I felt the same way you did with our first kid, Greta, who was born almost 3 months ago. I felt like the first month was a disaster, but of course I would have never admitted it to anyone at the time! Thank goodness Greta has started to get into a routine and become more interactive! I'm loving this stay-at-home thing more every day!

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