When it comes to things like projectile bodily fluids or relentless screaming, new parents need no warning; they know to be on the lookout. One quick peek inside a baby book will clear up any lingering doubts about the extent of that hot (wet) mess. No; what parents — and moms, specifically — would really benefit from is if their new baby came with some kind of emotional warning sticker. Perhaps one that says, “WARNING: Emotions near baby are bigger than they appear. Proceed with great caution.”
I remember back when my son was a week old and I had been doing constant feedings due to his unexplained weight loss. Now, normally, I’d say that I’m a fairly well-mannered woman who doesn’t curse in front of her elders and knows how to politely leave a room. But one night, while at home with my husband and his mother (who was there to help me), I had a craving for fresh air, and told my husband I needed to get outside. He simply asked me not to go far, just in case — which was fair, given that I was mostly nursing at this point.
My reaction? Apparently, it was to burst into tears and scream at him and his mom at the top of my lungs. If anybody needs my tits — the only part of me anyone cares about anymore — I’ll be no more than 200 yards away because, apparently, that’s as far as my leash can reach!
I then ran straight out of our apartment to sob on the first bench I came to. (And that was a good day.)
My point is, those early days of motherhood can be dripping with emotions (of all kinds). And there’s one big, bad culprit for that: hormones. This is why I highly recommend that all new moms err on the side of extreme caution in the first few months, and avoid certain emotional “triggers” while their hormones are still flying wild.
Such triggers can include any (or all) of the following:
1. Watching movies.
Sure, Terms of Endearment might be on. Or even — heaven help you — My Life. (You know, that one with Michael Keaton that just kills you every time.) OMG WHAT IF THE BEGINNING OF UP IS ON?
Look away, I tell you! Or else you will literally dehydrate.
2. Watching TV commercials.
From chewing gum to luxury cars to craft beer to hair care, all the brands out there seem to be aiming straight for your heartstrings after you have a baby — and pulling them until you hand over your money while sobbing. In fact, it might be best to simply get rid of your television altogether. It’s safer that way.
3. Looking at your baby’s older siblings.
They will look ENORMOUS now. You will feel like you missed a year in the hours between you going into labor and you seeing them next to the new baby. You cannot handle feelings like this right now. My advice: Keep your kids at least 20 feet apart at all times so the difference isn’t so obvious. Better yet, ship all other kids away until your baby’s six-month appointment rolls around. (You should be okayish by then.)
4. Buying bigger diapers.
All you need to do is go from Newborn to Size 1 to get emotional about this. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself in the middle of Babies R’ Us with your eyes trailing the row of diapers getting larger and larger … Diapers for your early walker; diapers for your potty training baby. Then, somewhere off in the distance you’ll spot big kid underwear and you will Lose. Your. Shit.
5. Listening to the radio.
“Wind Beneath My Wings” or “Landslide” might come on and make you think ahead to your baby’s wedding. You’ll see yourself dancing with him on the night you give him away to someone else forever and BWAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!
6. Coloring or cutting your hair.
It could be the most stunning and flattering look you have ever worn, but you will be repulsed by your awfulness and strongly consider shaving your head. Of course someone will stop you from shaving it, but they might not be able to stop you from re-coloring it to fix it. And has re-coloring your hair while uncontrollably weeping ever ended well? I think not.
7. Interacting with strangers without the baby in clear sight of them.
One of them might see your rounded stomach that hasn’t gone down yet and ask when you’re due. This will result in you cry-punching a stranger. Not all cops will be sympathetic to your plight, so the risk simply isn’t worth it.
8. Walking by a pet store.
Adorable puppies or frolicking kittens in cages are too much for you right now. LOOK AWAY.
9. Trying on your pre-baby clothes.
This is just you being mean to yourself. You will end up building a bonfire in your backyard with everything from your closet.
10. Buying new clothes.
Everything in every store will feel as though it has been stitched with you personally in mind, designed with the sole purpose of breaking your heart. Don’t try this at home. Or in stores. Or in any other way that technological advances allow you to do it. Bad bad bad for the tear ducts.
11. Reading the books people gave you at your baby shower.
At first read, Love You Forever seems creepy at best. But then, somewhere around the second or third read, you will discover yourself ugly-crying while crawling into your baby’s room and staring at his sleeping form, whisper-begging him to never ever ever ever leave you.
Meanwhile, Guess How Much I Love You’s answer is very simple: so much that you can’t read this book without a fresh family pack of tissues to soak up the gobs of snot running down your chin.
12. Reading books, period.
What if you pick up Wonder? Or The Fault in Our Stars? The sheer power of your emotional wreckage will force the rotation of the earth to slow down in order to prevent your baby from ever getting old enough to experience middle school or high school. That can’t be good for the environment, right? I don’t need to consult with Leo DiCaprio on that one.
13. Clicking on YouTube videos.
It might be a soldier who came home to reunite with his kid in her classroom. Or a little girl being able to hear her mom’s voice for the first time, thanks to a pair of revolutionary near hearing aids. It doesn’t really matter what it is — you will cry forever.
F O R E V E R.
14. Reading the comments section on any parenting article anywhere on the Internet.
You are doing everything wrong already, and there is no hope for you. Honestly, you should probably go return your baby girl to the hospital and crawl into a hole to sob in for a while.
15. Yes, even reading comments on funny or sweet Internet articles.
Because all the love and support you see in moms uniting in the comments section will also tear you apart emotionally.
Seriously, get off the Web now. It’s for your own good. (You’ll thank me later.)