Even though Iâve only completed 34 weeks, Iâm supposed to say that Iâm in my 35th week. And 36 weeks would actually be 9 months of pregnancy according to the lunar calendar, because pregnancy is actually 10 months, not 9. Of course, this confuses a lot of people, so itâs easier to say that I have 6 weeks left. Of course, that requires some simple math of counting backwards from 40, and if you canât do that, I canât be bothered to talk to you anymore.
Iâve been getting asked if Iâm excited yet. And Iâm not sure how to answer that. Is it wrong to not be excited?Â Is it wrong to just feel content that everything is going ok so far? Babies are hard work. We didnât plan this because we wanted babies, but you need to get pregnant to have babies, that turn into kids, so you can have a family. Itâs a change of lifestyle that weâre willing to make to have a family. We didnât get pregnant because we wanted babies, and I guess that sounds like a horrible thing to say. Babies are not always full of rainbows and bunnies and unicorns. Sometimes they will be, when you first see them smile, learn to crawl, laugh, sit up, smash pureed peas all over their face because they canât find their mouths, walk, say their first word, or poop in a toilet. But most of the time, youâll be changing diapers, sometimes 10-12 times a day, breastfeeding every 2-3 hours throughout the night every night for months, cleaning explosive diarrhea off your clothes, try to stop them from crying, or figuring out why theyâre crying, worrying when they get sick, if they donât put on enough weight, if theyâre reaching all their milestones on time.
It also doesnât mean weâre not going to like having a baby either (since it will be our baby). But I donât have to love babies in general to love my own baby. Which is why I donât listen to people anymore when they say to me, âNo offense, but I canât imagine you being a mother.â Which Iâve heard more times than I cared to. Am I going to be a bad mom because I donât go gaga over other peopleâs babies or children? Because I donât like changing diapers? Of course not. First of all, I donât think anyone enjoys changing poopy diapers. And if they say they do, they are delusional. Secondly, why do you HAVE to like other peopleâs babies/children? I mean, I like some of them, and I donât like others. Just like grown-ups, I like some and dislike others.
I just read a great comment from a reader replying to my last pregnancy post. She was talking about what she calls the âPregnancy One-Upmanshipâ, where women seem to compare how much more awful their pregnancy was compared to yours. Even if you havenât experienced pregnancy, you probably experience the one-upmanship in your everyday lives. âOh, you only got 4 hours of sleep last night? Well, I only got 2 1/2, so beat that!â âUmâ¦ok, I guess you winâ¦.?â
Along with the Pregnancy One-Upmanship, thereâs the infamous âLabor & Delivery One-Upmanshipâ. Which can go both ways depending on how the game is played by the two opponents. Women can compare how awful and painful and hellish their L&Ds were (âI was in labor for 36 hours.â âOh yea? I was in labor for 40 hours!â), or they exclaim how easy and stress-free and painless it was (âMy labor only lasted 4 hours, and it was so easy, the baby just slid out of my body!â âWell, I was 10 cm dilated and didnât even notice.â).
Last but not least, there is the âMotherhood One-Upmanshipâ game. This will probably last your entire life if you bother to play it (which I donât). Mothers are pressured to show the world how perfectly effortless motherhood is for them. There are the Stay at Home Moms vs. Working Moms, breast-feeding moms vs. formula moms, cloth diaper moms vs. disposable moms, vaccinating vs. non-vaccinating, feeding on a schedule vs. feeding on demand, and so on, and so on. Why do women feel the need to top each other? It doesnât prove whether theyâre a good mom or not. All it proves is that these women compare themselves to other women in order to justify what they believe theyâre doing is right. In the end, who cares? Push aside all the unnecessary drama and do what you think is best for your children. Thatâs what a good mother would do. Sometimes I think this competitiveness is used to fill in all the gaps from the shock of acclimating to a new (sometimes boring, or redundant) lifestyle. Or because weâve been going through life competitively because thatâs what weâre raised to do. We start early in school; rather than getting an education, sadly we get trained for jobs. Therefore, we treat motherhood as a competitive job rather than a rewarding life experience.
It did bother me that so many people had the gall to tell me they didnât think Iâd be a good mother, or that they couldnât imagine me being a mother. Of course, this is from people who arenât parents either, so I know not to take it too seriously. But I asked my husband if he thought Iâd be a good mother. Obviously, he thought I would, since he married me. But he did make a good point. Since my usual disposition is content, or neutralâ¦indifferent even, I tend to look at things in more of a realistic rather than idealistic way, even before pregnancy. That doesnât make me cynical though. So he thinks the transition will be smoother for me more so than, say, someone who expects certain things from motherhood but gets something overwhelmingly different, or maybe even disappointing. I expect to get very little sleep, to be utterly exhausted, to break from stress, to ask – âwhat did I get myself into?â, to be overwhelmed with cooking, cleaning, getting groceries, performing the once simple tasks that now take 10x as much time with a newborn, to cancel plans with people because things just arenât working out at home, to look like a slob, to not shower as much as Iâd like, to stop wearing makeup, etc. Hopefully, it wonât be like THAT all the time, but I do plan for it. Being a good mom doesnât mean you need to be ecstatically joyous and happy 24/7. It doesnât mean you wonât make mistakes.
And thatâs ok.