I've been reading blog entries lately about people who say "Just wait!" about whatever stage you're in with your baby, and warning you about how much WORSE it will get. Like when you're pregnant, maybe you'll say you're tired. And they'll say "Ha! You think you're tired NOW? Just WAIT - you don't even KNOW TIRED!". Or maybe you've had a fussy-poo baby, and you say, "well, we had a very rough time with our baby, but we learned some coping strategies, for us and for the baby, and now things are better". And they say "Ha! Just wait until the baby starts TEETHING! Just wait! You don't even KNOW FUSSY!".
First of all, it all makes me think of this excellent song. Secondly, I am in shock that people can be such giant, giant jerkstores. I think about when I was pregnant with Anthony, and people used to tell me that all the time. Alllll the time. I did have some trouble sleeping and I would mention that I was tired and some people would tell me that it was to practice for when I had the baby, so I knew what it was like to be so tired. And I would think, can you hear the words that you're saying? Why would I need practice to be TIRED? I have been out until 3:00 in the morning and then gotten back to work at 7:00, FOUR HOURS LATER. I know what it's like to be tired, you big dummy. WHY do people feel like they have to TALK so much?
When Anthony was so fussy and crazy when he was small, and I never slept for that first two months or whatever, it was obviously hard. I never once thought, thank God I practiced being so tired! Phew! I really know how to do THIS! No, I thought "I wish I could have slept better during March, April and May so that I wasn't so bitter about missing so much MORE sleep now". My friend Susie, a girl I've known since we were fifteen, called me when Anthony was days old and I didn't take the call. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I felt SO dumb, so unprepared, so miserable. I couldn't fake my way through a conversation with such an old friend. So after a few tries, she left a message and said, pretending to be my voice mail message, "Hi, this is Joanne, I can't come to the phone because I'm so tired I can't see, quit calling me!". I called her back and we chatted and she said "I wish I could have told you about the tired, but you can't tell anyone". It made immediate sense to me, I wouldn't have believed her. How do you explain that to someone? How do you say "you're going to have a baby and maybe you'll be in labor for 24 hours and then you'll have a c-section and you'll throw up and be sick and the nurses will be so weird and every single person that comes in your hospital room (and there will be thousands) will have different advice for you and you'll be so confused and sad that you won't be able to see. Then you'll go home and the baby will start screaming and he won't stop, it will feel like, for several months. Good luck! Happy baby shower!? Ha!
My long-winded point is this - there is no way I could have been prepared for motherhood, but there is REALLY no way that I could have been ready, been prepared, to be Anthony's mother. I couldn't be his mother until I was his mother, if that makes any sense. It's a very personal thing, to be someone's mother, especially someone like Anthony. I had no idea what was in store for us - I still don't! So it doesn't do any good if anyone says "just wait!" to me, about anything. What are my options? To not wait? To ... fast forward? To quit? If we have a good day with Anthony, a good HOUR, I'll take it. And if the next hour or day or year sucks, I'll take that too. So if you're tempted to say "just wait!" to someone who is talking about a rough patch with their baby, just shut up. Think and take a deep breath and shut up. Go get a journal and wtire about how smart you are and how much you know and leave everybody alone. Because it's not kind and it's not helpful and there is no point.