If you are anything like me, you spent the majority of your first pregnancy (and maybe your conception period, too) daydreaming about the glorious world of new-mama-hood. Ooh, those tiny fingers! Aah, that little nose! Aww, the sweet gurgles while they sleep (peacefully, quietly, in the bassinet)!
So, color me shocked when I found out that though the littleness was adorable and generally still made me feel all the feels, there is a lot more to postpartum life than I anticipated.
So as to not leave others in the dark, without further ado, let me introduce you to the seven dwarfs of postpartum existence.
After you have a baby, you get all sorts of acquainted with the multitude of areas your body can leak from, including boobs, pits, and lady bits. You fight the glorious fight, your baby is here, you're exhausted but blissful, and then suddenly you can’t control yourself anymore.
Your eyes leak. Your lady bits leak (for weeks, yes, weeks). Your bladder control has gone to the dogs. Your deodorant suddenly doesn’t work anymore. And just when you think you can’t leak from one more place, you wake up in the middle of the night wondering if you have peed yourself (again?), or if you’re bleeding out, because you are covered in a warm sticky wetness that smells sweet and indefinable. The culprit: your boobs! Your damn boobs have sprung a leak and you are drenched in liquid gold.
Yes, I’m talking about Leaky’s BFF. Did you know you are capable of sweating from everywhere, all at once, for no reason, in the middle of a snowstorm with a bikini on? (Wait, who’s wearing a bikini yet?) Oh, indescribable wetness of new motherhood…
Everyone (and their mother) feels it is their duty to inform you of the inevitable rift that will occur between you and Mr. Sandman once your little bundle arrives. “Sleep when the baby sleeps,” they say. “I hope you’re enjoying your sleep now before the baby arrives,” they smirk. Yeah, yeah, we get it. We won’t sleep for the next one-to-18 years.
Whoever said, “You can sleep when you’re dead” must have been a new parent.
Moody is much like the child that has moved out, but still comes home to do his laundry and raid the fridge. You never know when he’s going to show up, or for how long. Most importantly, you just cannot predict how much of a mess he’ll leave behind after he mumbles something about the man he has to see about a thing, and bolts out the door. That ungrateful little…
Giddy really likes to show up a few weeks into the process, once you’ve become well-acquainted with Sleepy, and after Moody has come and gone more than a few times. Giddy is syrupy and slaphappy, and altogether makes you feel like a madwoman: your hair inevitably haphazard, your shirt stained with spit-up. You have given up caring, and instead of jumping headfirst into a deluge of crying, you find yourself cackling like one of those witches in one of those fairy tales.
Weepy is a tricky one. He shows up at completely irrational times, with no warning. When your little one cries, or smiles, or your partner makes a snide comment, or that damn commercial with the puppies comes on, your face will become a faucet. And I don’t mean the pretty little dewy eyes and sniffles you see in the soaps. I’m talking full-on ugly cry here: puffy eyes, snotty nose, red everything. Be careful with Weepy, though. Sometimes he overstays his welcome, and we need to make sure we recognize when that’s happened, and ask for help when we need it.
Oh, Droopy. He’s a lifer. He likes to snuggle right into your belly flap, your love handles, your boobs, your butt, your thighs, and your arms. And some genius out there is making a million bucks off of him, because you will be spending the rest of your good life fighting him, as he laughs maniacally at your push-up-this, and Spanx that. My advice: get comfortable with Droopy; he’s not going anywhere for a while.
Don’t you fret, though, new mama or mama-to-be. Sure, it’s not a pretty picture, and sure, the thought of living life as a cackling sweaty mess may not be the most appealing. But trust me on this: When you meet that sweet little poop-machine, you become a whole new version of you. A version that doesn’t mind (as much), the sheen of sweat, or the sour milk smell, because you have realized that there’s more to life than that. And boy is that a good feeling.