When I saw the Blake
Lively pregnancy announcement heard 'round the world, I couldn’t help but smile
at what was undoubtedly happy news for Blake and her man, as well as a
stunningly gorgeous picture of an expectant mama.
But my smile was a wry one, because after years of
work as a labor and delivery nurse, and four babies of my own, it’s easy to see
beyond that glowy backdrop of happiness and into the real awakening of what it
means to be a mother.
So, Blake, congratulations and all, and I really do
wish you the happiest pregnancy, and I’m pretty certain that kid is going to
pop out looking camera-ready the moment he or she is born, but let’s also get a
few things straight about the unfiltered reality of pregnancy and parenthood:
1. All the money in the world can’t protect your child.
It never really gets easier.
One of the hardest parts about parenting, if not the hardest
part, is the constant worry that comes along with it. It creeps up at you when
you’re watching your baby sleep, it haunts you at night, it grips your heart in
fear at the doctor’s office, and somehow you have to find a way to live between
the fear and the worry. But it never really gets easier.
2. You will feel
certain that no one has ever loved her baby more.
Thousands of women are giving birth at this very second, and
yet, when it happens to you, you will feel certain that no mother in history or
to come will ever, ever love her baby as much as you love yours.
3. You’ll never
know if you poop on the delivery table.
At some deep, primitive level, we’re all the same.
Or wherever you end up delivering for that matter. I’m
guessing you may be the type to have serene water birth as your husband kisses
you lovingly on the cheek, but still, the point is, at some deep, primitive
level, we’re all the same. And no mother gives a literal shit what happens
during delivery, as long at that baby is out.
4. It is OK to treat
pregnancy like a miracle.
I know a lot of “mom” articles and advice, much like this
one, tend to point out the tough parts about pregnancy and parenting, all in a
good-natured way, of course, but when I look at the beautiful, glowing picture
of you cradling your baby bump, it does remind us all that pregnancy really is
a miracle. When you stop and think about all that has to happen for a woman to
get pregnant, and then the incredible fact that from tiny cells an entire,
perfect human being is formed in only nine months? It’s astonishing. So, yes,
post all the pictures you want because you deserve to celebrate that.
5. You are about to
cross a threshold only you can enter.
Women who have gone through pregnancy and childbirth change forever.
When you’re pregnant, it’s totally cute for you and Ryan to
be ever more in love, giggling over baby names and watching in awe as your
stomach moves with the human being inside. But something happens to a woman
when she goes through childbirth. I’ve seen it time and time again, in
following my patients up until delivery, and then witnessing the transformation
that happens after birth. It’s in their eyes, their presence, the very way they
carry themselves. Women who have gone through pregnancy and childbirth change
forever. They have gone to the very depths of physical limits that a person can
ever go and they hold the weight of the world, with the intertwining of life
and death, inside of them. And try as they might, it’s a threshold that your
partner simply won’t be able to cross.