All those years I spent pondering whether to have a kid or not, I cursed the fact that no one really tells you what it’s like. I had heard every variation of you’ll never sleep again and you’ll be lucky to shower and your life is over always followed up by the mandatory oh but it’s all worth it! Fuck, I hate that mandatory all worth it thrown in at the end. What the hell does that mean?

I swore to myself that when I was on the other side I would come and tell you the truth. I would post the Complete Truth of Becoming a Parent.

Well here it is: I’m lucky to shower*, I haven’t had more than 3 consecutive hours of sleep in 7 weeks, and it’s all worth it.



When Henri joined us the evening of November 19th, he didn’t instantly change me. I didn’t look into his blue-grey shark eyes** and become a mother. Those first two blissful weeks when John was home and we played at being parents, I didn’t particularly feel like a mother. When he wasn’t gaining weight for a bit due to my crappy milk supply, I cried for failing him, but the tears came from some unknown instinctual place. My brain wasn’t there yet.

I’m becoming a parent gradually, over endless nights of watching his little face catch the bluish glow of the nightlight as I feed him yet again. Over hours spent rocking him to sleep in a cocoon of white noise that drowns out any thoughts I might have once held other than please go to sleep. It happens when, after screaming bloody murder that I dare change his diaper,  my son stops and looks up at me with the purest of smiles and even though I’m so tired I have a hard time seeing straight my whole face lights up like some kind of fool.

That’s how they do it, you see. They break you down to your very core, but just when you are ready to lose your mind/throw them out the window they give you a little hit of endorphin juice, and then you fucking love them for it. It’s like a heroin addiction.

So there you go. Parenting is like a heroin addiction that you can’t kick. Hope that clears it up for all of you wondering!

*I’m sacrificing precious nap time writing this instead of showering. So it’s your fault that I smell faintly of milk and spit-up. Guess it works out that you can’t smell me.

** Newborns have shark eyes. Try and tell me it’s not true.


Posted on January 7, 2014, in Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. NINA. I thought we agreed that having a baby was like having a dog that slowly learns to talk. You are ruining my imaginary future parenting experience.

    Also, shark eyes or no, that is one beautiful baby.

  2. Haha this is brilliant. Thank you for sacrificing some of your shower time to write this. :) This is pretty much how I felt for the first two months of parenthood. I read (a little too late for me) that babies reach their peak fussiness around 6 weeks of age, if they are full term, and then they turn the corner and your life gradually gets better. My baby was born a month early, so it took us longer to reach that stage, and I was sure that I was going to lose my mind. But we made it. I even shower most days now.

    Congrats on making it through the first 7 weeks! I hope the hardest nights and days are behind you.

  3. Thanks for being so honest. I’m especially interested in this idea that you don’t magically become a mother when the baby is born, that it happens slowly for some people. .

    Anna beat me to the six week thing. I really hope he starts sleeping better soon. And Kirsty’s right, he’s adorable.

  4. Oh man, I HATE that phrase, so I was kind of hoping that this post would be you coming back to tell us that the “it’s worth it!”-ers are lying fools.

    Just kidding, I am very glad that there’s a light in there somewhere that makes the crappy parts so much better. Heroin!

  5. Nina! I have clearly been in a cave. Congrats on Henri!!!! Now to read backwards and catch up…

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