Maybe I can blame it on all those movies with their fake bumps. Or the magazines with their unattainable airbrushed perfection and endless how-to articles. All I know is that when I found myself pregnant for the first time back in the day, i.e. 1993, I had a certain idea of how things would play out.
I know what you want to know. Did it happen the way I expected it to?
Well, no. Not exactly.
Well, there’s this bitch called reality. It comes along and bursts that perfect little bubble-in-your-head dream world where you have seen just how everything should, no, WILL, play out. I now know that reality is lurking and quietly smirking in the background while we women flick through all the magazines and books, and she sits patiently waiting for her time to come while we fantasize away the days of our pregnancies.
What am I talking about? you may ask. Are you drunk? you say. (Well, yes, I am a bit. But bear with me).
FANTASY: I was going to travel the world, find a job I loved and be a mega success in said career, and Husband and I would be living in our own impeccably decorated house before DECIDING it was the perfect time to have a child.
REALITY: I was 19, we were living with his parents, and thought we would just “see what happens”. Hello positive pregnancy test. I wouldn’t enter the workforce for another five years. I still don’t have an impeccably decorated house. I do still have band posters taped up though.
FANTASY: I would be that pregnant woman who glowed, gained the minimum recommended amount of weight, and looked like I just had a basketball under my top. I would smile benevolently at everyone, and look and feel fabulous.
REALITY: Let me see. TWENTY-TWO kilo weight gain, SEVEN months of morning sickness (all day, every day vomiting), bad skin, stretch marks, and best of all, size 16G boobs. Oh yeah, I looked and felt fucking amazing.
FANTASY: After reading two books on birth, I would breathe my way through contractions and squat to deliver. I would be cool, calm, and in control. I even had a possible twin birth planned out: natural, standing, AND smiling. I would need no suturing or pain relief. I would be photo ready immediately after.
REALITY: Induction. Epidural. Episiotomy. Forceps. Stirrups. Catheter. Swearing. Screaming. (Horror movie screaming: “Cut me open and GET IT OUT BECAUSE I WILL DIE YOU MOTHERFUCKERS”). Oh yeah. The best part? I SHIT MYSELF. And no, normal doesn’t make it okay.
FANTASY: Breastfeeding would be the most natural, simple thing a woman could do. (After natural childbirth of course). Best of all, it had to be so easy that it wouldn’t matter that I knew nothing about the process, and knew of not one single person who knew anything about it either. Bring it on I said.
REALITY: Boobs bigger than baby’s head (which was itself very big). Make that engorged boobs. That leaked. And made me look like a fat stripper past her use-by date. And a baby who couldn’t latch on to save his life. Most likely an undiagnosed case of tongue-tie just to make things even more fun. It all ended with a desperate trip to the pharmacy to buy formula and bottles after three weeks. That’s right, Little Miss Cocky didn’t have a single bottle as back-up.
FANTASY: I would go back to that dazzling career between babies, spacing them out to somewhere between two and three years each. I would have two boys and two girls, alternating. Plus a dog, a cat, and a couple of goldfish.
REALITY: Well, call me a slow learner. Just five short months after baby one, and yep. Hello positive pregnancy test. I have three boys and ONE girl, and have owned two birds and one dog. One bird died, the other flew away, and we sold our dog in the classifieds. Yes, I feel guilty. I wish I had sold one of the kids instead.
FANTASY: Despite gaining minimal weight I would be trim, taut, and terrific by the time my six week check-up rolled around. I would strut into the doctor’s office in skinny white jeans, toting a designer handbag, a perfectly dressed (and breastfed) baby, pushing my Rolls Royce pram. After all, $1500 for a pram (that didn’t fit in our car) back in 1993 was NOT a lot since I planned on having four kids.
REALITY: I managed to lose five kilo’s before landing up the duff again. I have never owned white jeans (only rock-chick black). I do have one designer label bag which I am too embarrassed to use because I feel like a wanker carrying a $1250 bag. So I buy $50 knock-offs. And my first pram was not a pram at all, it was a lay-back stroller which my Mum insisted was better. In reality it may have been better because it was only $130. And I ended up owning about ten prams by the end of it all.
So there you have it folks. Just when you have your whole life perfectly mapped out (in your head), along comes that wake-up call named reality. She holds out on the things you THINK you need the most, and manages to surprise you when you least expect it. So you want two point two kids? Think again, turns out you really wanted five. Including twins. And four of them are boys. So you’re twenty-five and shudder in horror at the thought of another person actually FEEDING from your perfectly pert breasts? Well I bet when reality comes knocking on your door you just may end up being the proud breastfeeding mother of a toddler.
But she’s actually not all that bad. Somehow she has this knack of giving you what you didn’t even know you really wanted.
It also helps that she will often throw in some temporary amnesia to soften any blows.
a REALLY happy (and slightly drunk),