06 April 2011

A motherhood mantra

(***I know I'm not supposed to be blogging right now, as I am in the throes of crazy dissertation-writing, but I've been mulling over this one and had to write it out and so I'll post it anyway.)

Pregnancy is a big grab-bag. There are a million and one pregnancy "symptoms" (i.e., things that make your life uncomfortable and/or awkward and/or a miserable pit of misery), and before you are pregnant, they all sound incredibly awful or especially annoying or downright scary. And then you get pregnant, and the symptoms you were sure you'd have fail to appear, and the symptoms you never heard of show up and make you think you're a weirdo, and the symptoms you never thought to worry about end up being the worst. And you deal with them, and life goes on.

To wit:

Nausea--I was super worried about morning sickness, but only had fleeting upset stomach, which usually went away with a bit of a lay-down and some crackers, and even that only lasted a few weeks. But the gas and intestinal distress had me doubled in pain for weeks.

Oh, and the heartburn at the end? I never once worried about it beforehand but it was the WORST. To the point where I asked for a Zantac when I was in labor because I was worried about the heartburn pain. Hah! I was about to give birth without pain meds but I wanted a ZANTAC! In retrospect, this is very funny but at the time I was really serious about it (they gave it to me but I immediately threw it up...yeah, labor makes you throw up, which is something I also did not know beforehand but am glad I did not know).

I was sure I'd get swollen ankles. Nope. I got swollen armpits (hormones, glands, yadda yadda). I got carpal tunnel syndrome and achy fingers.

I was worried about stretch marks and post-partum hair loss, but instead I got skin tags (which went away) and weird blotchy face spots (which didn't).

I was scared about episiotimies/tearing. It happened, but I barely had any pain and healed super quick. But the hemorrhoids? Worse than childbirth, and I'm not exaggerating.

SO. All of this is to say that maybe? It's not worth worrying. You'll get what you get, and you'll deal with it when you do.

Which I am saying to MYSELF (this is all an exercise in self-therapy), because having a kid is JUST like that.

You'll get what you get, and you'll deal with it when you do.

I was worried about the not-sleeping, and thought I'd never survive. The newborn stage tricked me into thinking the baby was a good sleeper (little babies sleep all the time anyway), but time has proved me wrong. My kid doesn't know how to fall asleep on his own, and still wakes up several times during the night, and man I am SO tired. But we are surviving.

I was worried about having a clingy, crying baby, and guess what? He's barely exhibited separation anxiety once in his thirteen months. He loves hanging with other people, and from day one has practically skipped to the door of his daycare.

I was convinced we'd have a voracious eater, because we are nothing if not good eaters, and besides his cousins all were champs at eating. But for heaven's sake we have a picky eater. I suspect this is because he is still nursing, and I'm trying to roll with it, offering him lots of various foods. He does eat, just doesn't eat a lot, and is very choosy about the things he'll actually chow down on.

I was worried about that whole "nipple confusion" thing so we made sure not to offer him pacifiers or bottles for the first couple months. But when we did offer them he refused and to this day has never used a pacifier or a bottle for self-soothing. Which might be related to the no sleeping thing. It didn't occur to me to worry that he WOULDN'T take the pacifier but now I so wish he did.

I was so nervous about traveling with a baby/toddler, knowing that we'd have to do it so often. You hear horror stories, and sure--there've been blowouts and crying and neverending flights--but you know what? The kid is a champion traveler, so much so that I'm actually going to be flying alone on a transatlantic flight with him. (I must admit, I am a little nervous about that one...)

I could go on. There are a million examples.

The things you think are going to be impossible and/or horrible turn out to be fine, or at least bearable--you just deal. The things you spent so much energy worrying about turn out to be non-issues. And the things that never even crossed your mind turn out to be the things that try your soul when they happen.

I suspect this will be true for the next pregnancy--all the things I worry about now, based on the last one, will turn out to be moot and there will be new and improved and weirder symptoms! I suspect this will continue to be true for the boy as he grows and we face new challenges I never imagined and skip over issues I worried about needlessly. And even when the things I worry about do come true, the ways of facing them are not what I imagined they'd be when I worried.

So. It's NOT WORTH worrying. (I tell this to myself, and to the other beloved worryworts in my life.) You'll get what you get and you'll deal with it when you do.


Sara said...

i love this post robin (nice to hear from you again!!) and it is so darn true. motherhood is such a mixed bag, you just have to roll with it and do your best and laugh and enjoy....you are moving back huh?? exciting. i am still gonna visit you some day. someday. hugs friend. and good luck with the final writing process...

Anonymous said...

Hi Robin! I just stumbled upon your blog by sheer accident. My husband and I will be moving to Barcelona in August and we have no idea what we're in for. I'm three weeks pregnant and will be thus be making a transatlantic flight while pregnant and I wanted to know more about your experience with this. Were you super uncomfortable? Also, my husband will begin his job on September 15 at the University of Barcelona and I was wondering if he gets covered by the universal health insurance right away will his wife be covered right away as well? Thanks for your help! This is an exciting but scary time :)

Robin said...

Glad to hear from you--congrats on your husband's job! The flight shouldn't be a problem. I flew overseas several times while pregnant, and wasn't uncomfortable until 30 weeks or so, and even then it was fine. Just make sure to have your hubs do all the heavy lifting! :) As for health care, you should definitely check with the university about that--to find out if they do all the paperwork or not (the paperwork kind of is a headache, although not too complicated...but you'll also need a Spanish residency card/identification number, which hopefully the university can facilitate). But if he has a contract there, you'll definitely be covered as well. I went to see the midwife first in Spain, and they get you set with a plan and schedule visits. They do pretty regular ultrasounds and have good prenatal care. Do check into which hospitals you'd be interested in, especially if you want to have a non-medicated birth (Maternitat is probably the best for this)--they'll assign you to one depending on where you live, but you can request another hospital, too.

Sara: of course you have to come visit! it's great that we can stay in touch via our blogs. I've been loving reading yours lately, and admiring your crafty-mama-ness. I need to learn how to sew.

Anonymous said...

Hi Robin! How much do you think a two bedroom, one bathroom flat in barcelona would cost? I want to be somewhere close to the metro but not anywhere touristy. Any advice on where to begin an apartment hunt?

Astrid said...

Hi Robin! Thanks for sharing all your news :) Wow, it's hard to keep up with all your moving! Happy for you though!

Just had a tip about getting the kids to sleep all through the night... maybe you have it already, but it's been a lifesaver for me and all my friends. Not kidding. I was lucky to have been given this book even before Emilio was born. But here it is: Spanish title but has been translated to just about any language.

Duermete Nino - by Sylvia de Bejar and Eduard Estivill.

Robin said...

Thanks for the tip, Astrid! I'll check out that book. I'll take any advice we can get!

And Anonymous, I assume you're looking for a rental? Prices are high...for a two-bedroom, at least 1500 a month, I'd think. I highly recommend our neighborhood, Les Corts...It's on the green line direct to the center, but no tourists and family-friendly, quiet, etc.

thecatalanway said...

Hi Robin
Just found your blog again - nice to see you still check in occasionally. Good luck with the new home and life - and perhaps another baby! I love the look of your page - it's so fresh and clean and of course the name. I too have a special connection with birds and their songs.
all the best Kate x

Robin said...

Good to hear from you Kate! Thanks so much, and I look forward to getting back into blogging!

Bess said...

loved this post, robin. it was all so true ~~ and i can certainly relate as one prone to all the same types of mama-worries. ~Bess