Today’s post comes for Kaley at Cheap Therapy. She always makes me laugh, and I think you’ll enjoy her too. For the record, I attempted to start Mr. O’s birth story tonight, but then he wanted to nurse and before I knew it he was asleep on my chest and I got lost in the sweet baby scent of his head. I’ll try it again tomorrow!
The Tie That Binds
Once a woman gives birth to her child – who is, undoubtedly, the most adorable baby that’s ever lived – she is automatically initiated into the most exclusive sorority of all: Motherhood.
Though I was never involved with or part of a sorority in college, I had some friends that were. One particularly close friend disclosed to me one night over mixed berry wine coolers exactly what kind of embarrassing initiation rituals the girls had to go through in order to finally become a member of the sorority; things involving spontaneous karaoke performances, body image critiques, and 2 a.m. ice cream runs for current members who happened to have the late night, post-party munchies.
Yes, those things all sound horrible to me, but then again I’m an antisocial dumdum who would rather staple my cheeks to the carpet than get up in front of a bunch of catty, intimidating girls to sing my personal rendition of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and then have my love handles circled with a Sharpie marker as an area to “work on.”
But however horrible as that may sound, it doesn’t come close to comparing to the kind of initiation we go through to bring a child into the world and become a member of the Motherhood.
Unlike college sorority sisters, mothers must actually put on weight and get fat. We must endure nine months of rapidly outgrowing every single article of clothing in our closet and watching the numbers on the scale creep higher and higher to scary, unknown territory, and then learn how to waddle with at least some semblance of grace.
We are forced to share our bodies with someone we haven’t even met yet and allow them to go all World Cup on us, kicking us and headbutting our ribs at all hours of the day, and most often, night.
We have to push a HUMAN out of our VAGINA. So, there’s that.
We must wear maxi pads in our bra to protect ourselves from leaking out the most precious of all liquids. Even still, we will wake up in the middle of the night to find that those pads have become useless and that we’re laying in a milky puddle. However, we’ll be too tired to get up and change our pajamas and sheets, let alone to give a shit.
We must put ourselves second to our child. While our baby will receive daily baths, we will not. While the baby will eat whenever he’s hungry, we will not. And although the baby can sleep whenever he wants, it won’t ever be when we also want to sleep.
Once we become a member of the Motherhood we are smacked upside the head with the challenges that being a mom brings, and no one will ever really see just how difficult it is until she herself is one of us. No one can look in from the outside and understand why we sometimes want to slump into an exhausted heap on the floor and cry along with our baby or why we look so disheveled and haggard for the first few months of our new baby’s life. Not everyone will understand why being a mother is the hardest job we will ever have.
But no one on the outside will ever understand the immense love that we mothers feel for our children, either.
It’s a love that is limitless, wide, and deep. It’s a love that we feel before we ever see our baby’s face and one that will last forever and ever. It’s what keeps us going when we’re tired of life, tired of all the crying, and tired of poopy diapers, one right after the other.
But ironically enough, it’s a gift, the greatest gift that we could ever be given, being initiated into the exclusive Motherhood.