1. You’ll never shower again.
False. I shower twice a day now. Know why? Because I want to get the vomit off my chest, the pee out of my belly button, & the lochia out of my snizz. Charlie doesn’t love it when I shower, but he can deal.
2. You will feel more tired than you’ve ever felt in your entire life.
False. Maybe this is true for Andy, but at night I find it much more bearable to wake up with a crying infant every three hours than to wake with pregnancy-induced hip pain every 15 minutes. Comparatively, I feel downright energetic. Oh, and I’ve also started drinking coffee again for the first time in several years. Lots of it. That probably has something to do with my comparatively boundless energy. (I’m not supposed to have caffeine because it exacerbates the chronic pelvic pain I experience as a result of interstitial cystitis. But the pain is currently a small price to pay for that delicious, delicious latte.)
3. You will never have sex again.
. . . I can see where you would think that. I’ve got vomit on my chest & caffeine-induced pelvic pain, after all. Not to mention a crying infant in our room, a live-in father-in-law in the other rooms, and a baby monitor that feeds audio to both of Andy’s parents’ iPhones. All the baby books say it’s just as meaningful to hold hands during these magical days of early parenthood. So we’ll get right on that hand-holding and let you know how it goes.
4. Labor will be the worst, but as soon as you see that new baby, you’ll be instantly overcome with a wave of love like you’ve never experienced before and you will forget the whole last nine months of pain.
Maybe. This one’s tricky. The instant, overwhelming love happens for lots of new moms (& new dads), but it’s often discussed in hushed tones that sometimes the banana-pants level of love can take some time to develop. Days, weeks, or months even. Anecdotally, it seems like the harder the delivery, the longer it takes to feel the motherly love that’s supposed to be instantaneous. Fortunately, I had a couple of new-mom friends who were willing to be honest with me about this, because even though I’d read that it doesn’t always click right away, I’d probably have felt like an asshole if I hadn’t heard about it first-hand from a couple of women who I know to be caring mothers. I expected a strong emotional response when they showed me Charlie for the first time, but I was mostly bewildered in the first moments, and into the first couple days. “Say, that’s a sharp looking baby. Hmm? He’s mine to keep? Well I’ll be darned.” I loved Charlie in a way since before I was even pregnant. But when I saw him for the first time, I wanted it to be the overwhelming rush of incomprehensible love I’d been promised by some. Instead, it was tempered by the feeling that stuck with me through pregnancy: That I should love him & take care of him, but not get TOO attached, in case something goes awry & he doesn’t make it. The love grows with every day, as I feel more secure in the idea that I get to keep him. I still half expect Sibley Memorial to call and say that I’m overdue on my baby rental, and that I’ll start incurring daily late fees if I don’t return Baby Charles to the front desk by midnight. Also, no chance I’m ever forgetting what a pain in the ass pregnancy was.
5. Having a newborn is way harder than you could ever possibly imagine.
False. This is likely largely due to the fact that Charlie is a top-shelf baby, but I imagined it was going to be waaaay harder. Not that it’s easy by any stretch of the imagination, but Andy & I had both expected a living hell, with the payoff of eventually having a friendly and respectable adult child who comes over for dinner every Thursday night. Andy and I have been together for 12 years, and we pushed back the baby-having largely because we thought we didn’t have it in us. I was fairly obsessive in my pre-baby research, sure that I would be ill-prepared for every moment in our new child’s life. It turns out that we’re actually pretty good at it. Since we brought him back from the hospital, I haven’t yet looked at him and thought, “I can’t do this.” I have thought other things, like “How is it possible that this volume of [barf/pee/poop] lived in your body?,” “How much wine am I allowed to have between feedings before you get drunk? All the wine?,” and “Oh my God, I’ve had to pee for the last two hours and I’m never going to get to and this will be how I die.” But I’ve never yet felt like I can’t pull this off, and pull it off well. I have no idea if that feeling will stick once he starts crawling, walking, talking, asking where babies come from, struggling with hygiene, hanging out with nogoodnicks, dating, applying for college, majoring in Bro Studies and/or voting Republican, but I’ll cross those bridges when I come to them.
I can probably bust some more myths for you later, but those are enough words for now.