I could never have imagined how the most menial, trivial things would become rare, precious commodities.
Then I gave birth to my son.
I expected sleep deprivation: I did not expect to only acquire five hours total sleep over the first three days of his life. My crystal ball neglected to inform me that some babies will only stay asleep if they’re being held – cribs are simply fancy dust catchers. I learned the car seat was the only place he’d stay asleep -other than someone’s arms – and wondered where was that tidbit of information in “What to Expect?” I realized four hours of
exhaustion sleep a night were something to curse be grateful for.
I expected to breastfeed him: I did not expect it to be a painful, exhausting, ten hour a day ordeal. I did everything correctly, but somehow my son had the ability to retract his tongue from cushioning the lower jaw – resulting in full pressure on me. My insanely stubborn nature, pumping milk for the majority of the feedings, and nipple cream saved me. Yes, nipple cream – more valuable than gold in surviving the first two months of nursing my son. Then he outgrew the retraction thing and I finally had the sweet bonding “whip-it-out-on-demand” experience I’d initially anticipated.
I expected my son would demand a lot of attention: I did not expect my bathroom to transform into Grand Central Station. Before my son, nobody ever saw me use the bathroom – I was a private always-lock-the-door person. Never in all of my Motherhood Dreams did I ever predict I would have an audience 95% of the time.
I expected I might have to give up some “me” time as a mother: I did not expect the basic need of “take a shower” to become so difficult to achieve. Until my son went to a single nap a day, his daytime sleep schedule was unpredictable. If I believed he would sleep an hour, he’d sleep fifteen minutes. If I thought it would be just a quickie, he’d sleep two hours. If I dared try to shower during the day, the act of stepping into the hot spray would send a telepathic message to his sleeping brain saying, “Hey! Time to wake up screaming!” I learned to wait until my husband returned home in the evening to even try to shower. I finally joined a gym when he was a little over six months old – not to just work out and lose the baby weight, but so I could shower before 7 PM.
This upped the Stay at Home Mommy Happiness Factor by about 1000%.
I expected I would have to put his needs ahead of mine: I did not expect to kiss good-bye any hope of consuming a hot meal – while it was still hot – for the next eighteen months. Like the “Wake Up Mommy Is in the Shower” signal, all it took was for my food to arrive or finish cooking and suddenly, my previously happy child turned into a demon spawn unless I completed whatever task he needed from me. This was most often feeding him instead.
I expected I would love my son: I did not expect the overwhelming you-would-do-anything-for-this-person-even-give-up-showers-peeing-alone-sleeping-or-eating-hot-food-without-even-blinking feeling. I could never have imagined loving someone so unconditionally, so deeply, when they had yet to speak a word to me. The days my son first smiled and laughed are still among the highlights of being a mother.
When he was a little over two and half years old, I gave birth to his baby sister.
Then the whole world shifted.
Your assignment for this week’s prompt is to write a piece that begins with the line, “I could never have imagined” and ends with the line, “Then the whole world shifted.” We’re going to stick with the 600-word limit this week.
Disclaimer: This is my first Red Dress Club entry. I wrote this with a sinus headache rivaling the thunder of a wild stampede of toddlers dancing on a metal floor in tap shoes. If for some reason you still enjoyed it, feel free to check out my main mommy blog at Dances with Chaos. If you didn’t, I apologize. I’m a work in progress.
Comments and constructive criticism are always welcome, even when content is written while my head tries to re-enact the scene from Scanners where that dude’s head blew up. Especially then.