Es birth day. 2004.

E's birth day. 2004.

Two weeks ago at the hospital, one of the young (twenty years old) housekeepers and I were talking at the nurses station.  She was commenting on “How lucky” I am, and “How cute” my boy is, and how “You must love him so much.” I had to agree with her on all accounts.  I am a lucky girl; E is a beautiful boy; and yes, I do love him more than anything in the entire world.

But then this tripped out of her mouth…..

I can’t wait to have one of my own“…………….

And I let out a GASP.

Listening to this, my instinct was to be honest with her….but, in truth; I don’t know her that well.  I usually reserve my honesty for those I feel are entrenched in my life.  Those few individuals in our lives that are given a most honest of blow by blows.

So I stayed mute.

And then the silence was broken by another (more outspoken) mama/nurse, who blurted out…..

“Are you NUTS?”

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Being a mama is not at all cut and dry…..There are AMAZINGLY wonderful days; the ones you never want to end.  And then there are the HORRENDOUSLY difficult days.  The ones you wish you could just fast forward through and start fresh on the next one.   Most of us are careful not to divulge too much of either side of it to extremes; for fear of sounding like the unattainable SuperMom…..or worse; a bitchy, ungrateful, nagging Mom.

But we’ve all had days of being both.  Haven’t we?

Most strangers…… they almost demand a sugar coating  in regards to details.  They aren’t asking for the truth and we don’t feel comfortable sharing it anyway.  They want their excitement to be nourished, to know the good…So we give them the lolly-pop version…… We tell them how beautiful the birth was,  how we ‘forgot’ about all the pain once we held our babies, about how gorgeous they were when they came out.  And we tell them all of the wonderful things about being a mom, about the wonders of firsts.  We tell them about the midnight snuggles and listening to them breathe; about the first laugh, first taste of food, first steps, first words.

We leave out the gory parts, just as we do in regards to the birth.  No one wants to hear the bad bits.  We carefully leave out the part about the 5 IV attempts, the tears and episiotomies, the peri bottles and sore nipples; the cheesy substance covering our babes when they emerged from our nether region.  Just as they don’t really want to hear about the exhaustion; of the balonga sandwich breakfasts; of the 2am fevers with full blown fits of refusal to take Tylenol, and the constant bath partner.  Of the forgotten identity of husband and wife; or of the ‘just getting by’ finances.  It is all just too real for them; with the exception of the dearest of friends.

It is a common knowledge in women.  We don’t want to scare each other; yet after the deed is done, we all are told by some other more seasoned Mama…..“Oh, didn’t I tell you about (that part)?”

And once the baby is born,  and the newborn euphoria dissipates, the questions begin.  Because the omissions become obvious to even the greenest of mothers.

” What did you do?”

” What should I do?”

” What do you think is wrong?”

“Did you ever feel this way?”

The quests for advice and the evidences of motherhood reveal themselves.  The truths slowly dribble out of all of us.  The commiseration in love of kids and endless selflessness begins.  Our versions of the answers are spewed……. as we are bonded together in motherhood.

And what a sacred bond that it is.

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