The Pre Post Partum

As I enter into the final countdown, I keep thinking about what it is I’m about to embark on and how unbelievably scary and exhilarating it feels.

When @ezwass and I had our first baby, we had a lot of opinions on how things needed to be done and how we wanted to raise our daughter. ‘Our daughter,’ how noble of us. One of the values we felt strongly about was no pacifier because we read an article about the importance of a baby being able to self soothe. The first weekend I was home from the hospital, I went to go lie down while my parents watched the baby. She started to cry so my parents tried to give her the pacifier. @ezwass and I started plummeting towards the situation, wanting to rescure her from the rubber monster. “You can’t give her the pacifier, she needs to learn to self soothe.” At the time we felt really proud of oursleves. We were taking charge and ownership of this new human. Now I look back and see the reality – we were young, first time parents who were inflated with information and guarded with inexperience.

It turned out, our baby cried a lot until she was 4 months old. It was colic and then it was acid reflux. The doctor prescribed a bunch of medications with directions, which we blindingly followed, and until today I still regret it. Sometimes I wonder if that’s why she’s more of an anxious child. And then I remind myself, it doesn’t matter.

This past summer, when I first started telling people I was pregnant, I got a lot of similar responses;

“Was it on purpose?”
“Wow, during Co-vid?!”
“Yes, during a pandemic.”
“When all your kids were home?”
“Yes, they had nowhere to go. No one else wanted them.”
“I can’t believe it, weren’t you struggling with them at home?!”
“Yes. I was struggling. It was really hard to help my kids with zoom school while I was hiding in the closet.”
It always feels great to be greeted with disapproving questions when you tell people you’re expecting.

People kept telling me, “you’ve done this before, it’s nothing, you know what to do.” First of all, this pregnancy still matters. Second of all, I’ve done this before so I understand how unbelievable this task is and that I know nothing. I thought over time and with experience I would have more confidence.  The only confidence I’ve gained is knowing that pregnancy and post partum is a privilege and I am grateful for the opportunity. I’ve gained confidence in knowing that pregnant women and mothers need less opinions and a lot more support. Sometimes it feels like being pregnant is a never ending series of interrogations that feels tortuous. Maybe it’s preparation for all the labor pains.

“My doctor said you can drink a full glass of wine every night.” (You need to find a new doctor)
“My doctor said no wine at all during the whole pregnancy.” (There’s an idea for a contraceptive)
“How are you feeling?” (I’m feeling good Thank G-d)
“You’re lucky, I felt like shit when I was pregnant.” (Congratulations for winning at being more pregnant)
“Do you normally get back labor?” (I have no fu**ing clue)
“I had the worst back labor.” (You win again)
“Are you going to have it natural?” (I just want to have the baby)
“Do you get the epidural?” (YES)
“I didn’t get the epidural.” (You’re a champion)
“Are you going to be nursing?” (Yes)
“It’s really important to nurse.” (I was bottle fed as a baby)
“If you’re going to bottle feed, get the organic brand made from uncaged cow’s milk that has no hormones.” (I’ll stick to the formula made from cow’s who are caged because I don’t care about my baby)

Here’s what I think is important to say,

To women who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, deciding to stop getting pregnant,  raising children, struggling with children- What you’re doing is enough. You are strong and capable. You’re not the problem, it’s the children, they’re assholes. I am here to listen. I am here to support you. You are not alone.

I have always enjoyed my pregnancies and it’s not because they’re easy for me. I enjoy them because as my mother says, “it only gets harder once you have them.” #word. I’ve learned that during my pregnancy what I need most is support and relentless compassion. I want to forgive myself for being imperfect and love myself for being human. I believe we all need that in our lives and I’m taking it upon myself to carry this with me and apply it to the people in my life. We’re all doing great. Everyone is where they need to be. We’re all champions.

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