From behind the lines

I’m looking over at Becky right now wondering if I should hold her or finish the last 100 or so words to make my writing goal for the day. We’re back from a movie and she’s feeling the remains of her entire life slipping away fast as the baby approaches. I’m sure that when the baby arrives it will make this all seem worth it, but right now we’re both kind of scared and pissed. I know people have commented on my crassness at the blog posts about how I view the baby right now, but I’m not going to spread whitewash bullshit here just to try and make myself sound better. I realize this is probably not the most endearing attitude to have a few days before our first child arrives, but what am I supposed to do about it?

The worst part right now is trying to make Becky feel better. I’m torn between hating to see her suffer and wanting to do anything to make her smile and being very lazy and selfish. I mean the first thing I thought of when I heard some people are in labor for multiple days was how I was going to stem off the boredom. Even as I right this I know its from the POV of someone without kids. I really do get that my life is going to change and that the baby is going to be the best thing to ever happen to me, but how do I explain that to my pregnant wife who is feeling old and fat and tired and just wants to have a glass of wine and dance like a college girl?

Some people may think that sounds horrible and that maybe she should just grow the hell up, and I might even be one of those people at times, but I look at myself and I’m no innocent myself. I’m going to get off very easy in this siuation since I will probably be at work during the most difficult times while raising this baby.

Why am I writing this then? Well, part of me just wants to document every honest emotion I have about this baby even if it’s not always happy. But I’m also looking for someone to tell me it’s okay to be scared to death and kind of angry and utterly confused. I want someone to tell me that it’s okay if my wife is not totally on board with this all right now that she’ll come around when she has the baby in her arms. I want somebody to tell me I’m not alone out here and that even though it may seem like it right now I’m not really an asshole and I’m not going to totally fuck up my life or my baby’s life.

Hollaback my people.

6 thoughts on “From behind the lines

  1. That’s perfectly bloody normal, mate. Anyone who says everything about having a baby, before or after, is all happiness and wonderment and light is either a truly lucky individual or a liar. It takes a lot of getting used to, the sheer change it makes to your life, and it’s perfectly OK to feel frustrated about that. Entirely natural.

    FWIW, it passes. Rachel had it very bad, before and after, but now it’s rare for her to go off on one about how her life doesn’t feel like it’s her own anymore. And it won’t effect the baby at all; just because you have to make a huge adjustment and it’s not always fun for you, they’ll love you and you’ll love them. Your own parents almost certainly felt and went through the exact same stuff themselves; everyone’s has.

    Some people do apply a lot of weight of expectation on first time parents, telling them that life afterwards should be somewhere between a Hallmark card and a Ron Howard movie, and that if their mouths don’t hurt from the constant joyous smiling then something’s terribly wrong with them and they should feel very, very guilty. Those people are, well meaning or not, assholes.

  2. I felt so ambiguous about motherhood that I spent the first 12 weeks of my first pregnancy totally pissed off. TOTALLY. I got used to the idea after awhile. Then my first son was born, and it took me another 6 weeks to “fall in love” with him. Even after that… it took another 18 months, and frankly a lot of heartache, to really grow into my new role as a parent.

    Three years and 3 months after #1 I spent the last month of my pregnancy with #2 in agony. I had a bad cold, cracked a rib coughing (since I no longer had the use of my stomach muscles) and spent the entire month wanting him OUT ALREADY and frankly being a little pissed that he wasn’t early like his brother. Of course he, like his brother, had his own ideas. Not only did he stay in until due, but he was one of those days-in-labor types. Which I was fine with (once the process started) but no one else was. I had a big fight with my husband a few days before the baby arrived because he just wanted some predictability, which I couldn’t provide. (Yes, I did go all natural.)

    It IS all worth it… most of the time. You will flipflop constantly. We still do and we’ve been doing it for over five years. We love our kids even when we want to duct tape them to the wall… it’s something you feel deep down even when the surface stuff doesn’t make sense. Take time to connect with that, and you’ll (all) be fine.

  3. When I was 23, I had a one and two year old and I felt exactly like this. It’s not unusual and it will go away.

    We were completely isolated from our families and it was all-Mommy all the time. And still it went away. As they start to grow less dependent, which happens fast, you’ll both feel better. When you see you have a real person there, it helps.
    And you have two families nearby to spell you. Take advantage of it.

    I think these last few weeks are always the worst. Things have already changed yet you don’t have a cute baby to hug yet.

  4. Oh and as far as being selfish… tomorrow is my kid’s first day of kindergarten. This time tomorrow he’ll be on the school bus heading to six hours of school.

    And what am I doing today? Preparing him? Letting him talk to me about it? Hell no!… I’m getting ready to take myself out for the day to write. 1) I suck at things like psyching people up. I’m far more likely to psych them out. So I’m leaving that to his dad. And 2) last week was rough. By Friday I was DONE WITH CHILDREN.

    If anything, taking today will restore my own sense of equilibrium and let me keep my son’s stuff in perspective through the rest of this week/month. So I absolutely do not feel bad about “selfish.” It will end up being better for everyone.

  5. When our kids were born, I was in grad school. Judy had been working, but she quit when Angela was born, so we had next to no income. Then Allen came along. Next no income, two kids, and no clue about how to bring them up. They should make you take a test or get a license or something before you can start a family. But we muddled through and survived. It was a fine, adventurous time, not that I’d want to go through it again.

  6. I have a little different perspective in that I was never pregnant but spent six months being grilled about everything but the kitchen sink by social workers, compiling paperwork, dealing with the federal government, the Chinese consulate, and then waiting nine months for a baby referral. Needless to say, my husband and I got hostile during that time, irritated at the probing into our lives and then waiting waiting waiting. You’d think the waiting would’ve prepared us. But we got that referral, and I took one look at the picture, burst into tears and said, Oh my god What the hell are we thinking?! Yeah, she was cute, but who was I to think I could be a mother?? The second picture came a few weeks later, while we were finally preparing a bedroom for her. And she looked so sad, so beautiful that some of my anxiety dissipated. And then when we finally met her, she screamed and cried for three days, angry, not knowing who we were, pretty much hating us. I took Xanax. Until finally she realized we were feeding her and she finally gave us a smile. It was not the easiest two weeks of my life. I felt like a total failure. And now she’s 11, just started sixth grade, and my only thought is that I hope I’m doing well enough so she never has to have quite as much therapy as I had.

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