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.