One of my best friends is having her first baby. She’s a woman who has been fiercely independent her whole life. She has traveled to some ridiculous number of countries. She has a graduate degree from another country. She works for one of the top ten universities in America. She’s easily among the top 3 most hilarious humans I’ve ever known, and the smartest. And in a pinch, my kids may choose her over me. There’s that kind of love between us.
She’s expecting her first baby in January.
There are so many things I want to tell her.
There are so many things I want her to know are “okay.” I don’t fucking know what she should “expect.” How would I ever know that? Expect crazy. Expect weird. Expect beauty. Expect misery. But details? Nah those are hers to own. Hers to build.
The other day we were texting and she was expressing the understandable shitstorm of emotions within her – excited, terrified, depressed, in love.
And when I typed my response I felt a surge of sadness, and rage. This is what I wrote: “Even after you hold your babe for the first time it will come in waves. You’ll want your old life back. But not really. It really is a hard transition and nobody recognizes it. So talk to me and tell me all the dark shit in your brain.”
The sadness was that she might feel alone. That people might not talk to her about it. The rage was that she might feel alone. That people might not talk to her about it.
Talk to me and tell me all the dark shit in your brain.
I’m so sick of this shit, people, the way we bullshit new moms, the way we sit across from them 2 or 10 or 30 days postpartum, gazing at the perfect baby creature, talking about strollers or outfits or fucking muslin receiving blankets (although damn they are awesome) or whatever other nonsense we come up with to avoid the truth, or the other truth.
The way we small talk.
The way we chatter.
The way we talk about the baby. THE BABY IS FINE. WE CAN ALL SEE THE BABY IS FINE.
The way we give advice. The way we mumble this or that or this and hahahaha and oh how cute and you know what WHO FUCKING CARES?
Look at the woman. Look at her. Look at the woman sitting across from you on that couch. See the human transformed. See the human with a milky chest and belly still half-holding a baby and the tired in her eyes. See the woman who has become a mother and maybe doesn’t even know what that means yet and look as hard as you can into that fear and love and pain and ask her. Tell her. Open it all to her. And if you haven’t experienced it, listen. Ask. Hold and love.
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