I was the first among all of my friends to become a mother. I don’t say this as a bad thing but in my Millennial society, becoming a mom in your twenties has become just as taboo as having a child in high school. By accident, I did not announce via social media that I was even pregnant until I was close to six months and at that point I figured well, I better say something instead of appearing on Facebook with photos of a newborn. Of course, those close to me knew. I was in a stable relationship, I had a good job…I had come to terms with being pregnant so announcing it was the only thing left to do. The announcement was met with some mixed reviews- mostly congratulatory ones, a few side eye ones, and then of course there were the: “Oh! I just can’t wait to meet the baby!” ones. Those always make me laugh because most of the people who said that have actually never met the baby.
Once my daughter was born, things changed dramatically. I had become a Mother. Even though I had prepared for this moment for 9 months, the beginning stages were like watching my life as a fly on the wall. It was a completely out of body experience and all of the delusions of grandeur I had of just giving birth and continuing on with my life as if nothing had changed quickly flew out the window.
There is a scene from Sex In The City where Miranda has just given birth to Brady and she is struggling to get him ready for work in the morning and Carrie calls her ranting about some self caused small problem in her personal life. Miranda tries to be a good friend and listen but eventually snaps at Carrie, telling her she doesn’t have time to listen to her problems because she has a crying infant she needs worry about.
All the books and reading and preparing I did to become a mom did not prepare me for the hard times of adjusting to not only motherhood but adjusting to the lack of empathy from those who did not understand what becoming a mother involved. A part of me does not completely blame them because just like them, I was unprepared too. I was unprepared when my supervisor told me that my staff didn’t respect me because I could no longer go out drinking at the bar after work. When I informed him I couldn’t because I had a three month old at home, he says, “Just bring the baby“. When one of my friends ( mostly the ones who have never met the baby ) would call to invite me to dinner or a grand shopping trip and I would decline, their response again would be, “Just bring the baby.”
Just. Bring. The. Baby.
I heard that statement so much, even typing it now makes my eye twitch a little. The truth is this- it is just not that simple. In the beginning, it is not that simple because it is difficult wrangling a small child and also staying completely engaged in conversation with another adult. It is difficult to enjoy red wine or trying on clothes when your infant has pooped all over themselves. It is especially difficult to be your friend’s wing woman with a stroller and a baby throwing up on you. But somehow, this is how it is supposed to go. After it becomes not so difficult, as a mom, you just start to realize you really do not care to be there anymore. Why? Because life has changed and it has changed dramatically. I went through stages of anger, guilt, acceptance, and finally finding myself completely content with where my life is now.
As time has moved on, I see some of those same women are now pregnant and embarking on this journey into motherhood. My cynical side laughs a little…they have no idea what they are in for. But the sincere parts of me hopes that they are met with a little more grace and understanding than they handed me. Becoming a mother is hard, being a mother is even harder, and accepting that you no longer have the freedom that your singledom days granted you, may be the most difficult part of all. So no, this is not an angry rant at those who don’t get it. It is a self acceptance piece of realizing that life has changed…BUT it has changed for the better.
Even still, the next time you find yourself inviting your friend out with their kid, reconsider. Instead, go over and help them. Watch the baby while they take a nap. Cook them dinner. Bring the wine. But leave the statement: Just bring the baby at the door.
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