Updated: Nov 18, 2022
"They don’t tell you so much. They can’t.
No one can tell you what it will be like to be ten days overdue, lost in a hazy world of anxiety and anticipation, wanting to finally see your babies face, wanting it to be over, wanting so much to have your story to tell. No one can tell you what it will feel like, after almost a full day of labor, to have your arms strapped down and your glasses removed. To be martyred and sacrificed on the surgery table, blind and feverish, and to hear your baby pulled from your belly with a great sucking noise. To hear her cry for the first time, of many many times, and to cry your own tears, your belly empty and detached and very far away.
No one can tell you that you will lie in the hospital bed on iv antibiotics, enjoying your catheter, blissfully unaware, that as your body molds itself around your new precious child an infection is incubating in your gut so that by the time you are home, your husband is back at work and people have visited and said farewell, that you will shit mucus and water for weeks, months, for so long that your sisters will whisper behind your back jealously at your lost baby weight, but you will still, still still be nursing your child, giving her everything that you manage to keep, and everything that YOU no longer have.
They don’t tell you WHAT the second child will do to you. They can’t.
They can’t tell you that even though you are determined not to have another c-section, you make the appointment anyway. They don’t tell you that you will go into labor only after you give up control and realize, deep down, that you never had any to begin with.
They don’t tell you that the second child will come so quickly that you will pee all over the passenger seat of the car, on your hands and knees, and want to start pushing there in the hospital parking lot. They can’t tell you that you will strip completely naked as soon as you enter the birthing room and how you will be only mildly aware of all of the people around you, poking an iv into your hand, telling you not to push, to push.
They can’t tell you that you will think, “this isn’t so bad” but you won’t want to say it out loud in case you jinx yourself. They can’t tell you what its like to get impatient with pushing, or what it’s like to give birth squatting, or to see your own deep red blood flowing down your legs and over your tiny monkey babies’ body. To climb into the bed, deliver a placenta, ask for a hamburger and a milkshake and feel high. Not blissfuly high but kind of crazy, selfish high.
They don’t tell you that the v-bac will be so hard to recover from, that every time you sit down to pee it will feel like your most private and discreet parts are falling out. That they will look like badly butchered meat for long after the six-week mark, when most people have healed enough to have sex again- that you will LAUGH at the thought.
They don’t tell you that your second child will maybe break you, and your family. This beautiful alien will be so tuned into her wild toddler sister that she will barely nurse and she will be swimming in circles at two months old and that by the time you realize that she isn’t gaining weight you will know it’s all your fault. For being distracted, for feeling too confident. They don’t tell you that each child is so different that everything you thought you knew won’t apply and you will have to negotiate a brand new understanding of how to live.
They don’t tell you any of this.
They ask, 'Are so so happy?' And 'Are you getting any sleep?’
'Yes,' you answer, truthfully.
And 'It’s fine,' even though it’s not and because it is.”