I could barely contain my excitement as I held up a newborn outfit, navy-blue and covered with elephants. My tummy was sticking out far beyond my belt, my cute belly-button poking straight out, I was obviously very, very pregnant.
“It’s the best thing you’ll ever do,” piped up an older woman next to me.
“Parenting. You’ll love every minute of it,” she beamed at me, looking down through spectacles at a sweet outfit of her own. Then she told me about her daughter and soon-to-be new grandson, wearing her pride like a sunny day.
I listened halfheartedly, daydreaming about the future, hoping it would be the way she described it.
Fast-forward something like 15 months later and you’ll find me on my knees, not praying, but puking. A baby screaming behind the bathroom door both because I shut him out, and because the sounds coming from his mother were terrifying. Did I mention that I was home alone because I mumbled a flippant, “go on to work, I think the worst part is over,” to my husband just minutes before?
The worst part, it’s safe to say, was not over. Rather, it had just begun. Less than ten minutes later, I texted him with “I am not okay. I need you to come home. I can’t do this.”
By the time he made it home an hour later, sweetly stopping by Walgreen’s on his way home in Houston traffic for some obvious necessities, the chills shook my body and I could barely stand, much less carry around the 24-pound little boy pleading me with a simple, “up!”
I cared for our son with all the strength one has after vomiting hard 5 times in 6 hours, running a fever of 100.6 degrees, and battling dehydration because you’re still breastfeeding and can’t hold down even a sip of water.
The phrase, “you’ll love every minute of it,” stood out as a giant load of sh*t. Those happy daydreams of mine were dashed with the onset of the worst stomach bug I’d met since middle school, when I single-handedly created an epic peanut butter and banana stain on the carpet (ironically, it wasn’t until I was pregnant that bananas and peanut butter were appetizing again).
This was not was I had in mind that day I held up that sweet, navy blue outfit with the elephants. Not at all. And let me tell you something super honest here: I didn’t want to be a mom that day.
The moment my husband walked in, I abandoned my child, barely able to stand up straight, and dragged myself into bed. Sick. Sick. Sick.
Daddy quietly stepped up to home plate that night and hit a home run. Cleaning up where I neglected. Bringing the baby to my bed only to nurse, then taking over household duties silently and cheerfully. He didn’t even tell me that he himself began to show symptoms of my stomach virus only twelve hours after I did.
Because you’re wondering, the baby miraculously didn’t catch our virus. Maybe God knew I couldn’t have handled it if we were all sick at the same time.
I know what the lady meant when she said that this was the best thing I would ever do, but y’all. Y’ALL. Let me be honest. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
The day you give birth is the day you give up, even in the worst of moments, yourself.
I was completely unable to hold down liquids, and my body silently gave my thirteen-month-old breast milk, without even asking for my consent. I did not give it permission to do that!
My lips became chapped. Standing caused dizziness. Still my body provided for someone else. I couldn’t hold down a sip of Pedialyte without throwing up, and still I provided for someone else.
And somewhere in this story, there is an awesome anecdote of how amazing a woman’s body is. How powerful our bodies are. How even when you probably should go to the emergency room for liquids your body can still make milk from some unknown source. And frankly, that is sincerely incredible.
But that day, it was nothing less than crippling. A harsh reminder that I am incapable of being selfish even when I need to be. Not because I want to be selfish, but because my body demands it.
This post isn’t about me whining about how hard it is to be a mom. And this little boy is, no doubt, the best thing I’ll ever do. If you follow me on Facebook, you know I adore every fuzzy hair on his head. One day, he’ll bring home a forever love who will
yawn fawn over the excessive many of photos I have of him.
This post is about real parenting, because we love to talk about the great things that parenting is, but forget to mention that it’s really, really super, stupid hard. Parenting forces us to be unselfish in the best way, but sometimes in the worst way too.
And for the record, you might not love every minute of it. And that’s okay. Parenting a child is one of the most humbling human experiences of your life.
Oh, and viruses don’t care if you have a toddler. Just FYI.
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