Last week, an Australian mom known as Kobie posted a hilarious ad on Gumtree for an antique bassinet she bought in a “whimsical moment in early pregnancy.” She bought it having “images of myself, glowing and slim, dressed in long, white flowing dresses whilst I rocked my angelic baby in a white, wicker cradle.”
“After getting fat, bloated, sweaty and flatulent; discovering babies only smelled nice depending on whether you sniffed them before or after a wee/poo/vomit/washing between their fat rolls and finding that I was too busy feeding/trying to get my baby to sleep to entertain fantasies of being a stunning Gaia Earth Mother I now need to sell so I can afford a haircut (easier then washing it at the moment).”
It made me think of a conversation I had yesterday with another mom on the school run, where she was telling me her daughter wakes every day at 5:30 AM. I shuddered in horror, admitting that I struggle to get out of bed for my 7 AM-waking kids. I explained my natural body clock would be a midnight to 9 AM sleep. She looked at me puzzled and asked, “Didn’t you think about this before you had kids?”
Laughing, I replied that I glossed over it — I was probably in denial! Then as we waved goodbye to our children, I realized that there are a ton of things that I had thought motherhood would be like, only to be faced with a very different grim reality …
Vision: Me and Baby wandering everywhere in a BabyBjörn — a little bouncing, happy team.
Reality: Baby howls, feels squished. There isn’t enough room for my enormous milk-filled boobs and the baby on my chest. No one is happy. No one is comfy. And have you ever tried getting vomit out of the one of those?
Vision: My baby sleeping on my chest as I watch Netflix and relax.
Reality: Baby won’t sleep on me. Or in his crib. Or in his Moses basket. Baby has reflux and just wants to cry and vomit. And cry some more. I haven’t seen one episode of anything because all I am doing is laundry, and anyways, I wouldn’t hear it over the crying.
Vision: We go on road trips to the beach — play in the sand and splash in the waves.
Reality: I end up pulling over on the hard shoulder endangering all our lives just to feed Baby. Then when we get to the beach, Baby screams due to the relentless sun beating down so we all sit in the air-conditioned car to get peace (which we could have done without actually driving 150 miles). Oh, and Baby is scared of the sound of the waves.
Vision: As Baby was born in the summer, I’m wearing flowing wrap dresses and popping out a breast to feed Baby. It’s all so easy and carefree.
Reality: Baby rejects one breast. I struggle to feed on the other. My nipples are bleeding, and I’m weeping — as is baby. After an unhappy dalliance with a breast pump and many tears, I give up and feel like a complete failure. No flowing dress fits me. And have you ever tried to open maternity bras in wrap dresses? IMPOSSIBLE.
Vision: Christmas will be magical. Our little family all singing around the tree and Baby will coo over expensive handmade wooden toys while we sip mulled wine and have festive cheer.
Reality: Baby wakes at an ungodly hour. We forget to shove the turkey in on time because we are so tired and eat Christmas lunch at 8 PM. Baby doesn’t give a monkey about the wooden toys and just tries to eat wrapping paper instead. Husband and I argue endlessly about who is more tired.
Vision: The first New Year’s Eve Husband isn’t working in seven years! We will watch Baby sleeping and dress up and drink champagne, toasting our happy lives.
Reality: Husband is in bed by 8 PM. Baby and I crack open a bottle — of milk — at midnight. On the sofa, in PJs caked in baby pee and vomit.
Vision: We will go on family vacations, play by the pool, eat local seafood, and watch the sun go down.
Reality: Baby gets awful bug from Husband. Explosive diapers and all day vomiting in 80 degree weather for 72 hours. We take it in turns to leave the room to eat fries. We never see the sunset as Baby is asleep in his crib by 7 PM.
Vision: Our son will love his little sibling and coo over her and stroke her hair.
Reality: Son is traumatized and wonders when “it” is going back to the hospital.
Vision: My body will ping back into shape and people will be stunned I just had a baby.
Reality: Five years after Baby is born, a man on a train will ask when I am due.
Vision: I will rock Baby to sleep in her serene nursery with carefully chosen accessories — throws, pillows, and curtain tie-backs all matching.
Reality: Baby hasn’t made it into the nursery for a night yet, and she’s almost 1. I can’t see the cute pillows for the sea of muslin cloths and packs of diapers.
Vision: Motherhood will make me complete.
Reality: Who is this she-devil that rages daily at her loss of “self”?
h/t: The Daily Mail