Thursday, April 1, 2010

Parenting Expectations

The crib and glider are set. His clothes are ready to be washed and folded. Minus pacifiers and a few small items, we're ready [Well, sort of, but that's a post unto itself!] I just hope we'll be emotionally ready. For eight years its been Jack and me. Sleeping in, eating out, traveling, renting loads of DVDs. Now we will bring in an unknown variable, a cute pouty lipped variable but a variable to what we've known.

Sometimes I worry about Jack's expectations. When you've dealt with IF and loss, and waited a while to have a baby, you have a lot of time to dream and fantasize. A few times now Jack has said our baby will be really chill, I can tell because he doesn't kick you very hard. He envisions him cooing in the crib, or snuggled between us in bed on a lazy Sunday morning. he knows his boy will share his toys, eat his greens and thank us for parenting him. (Well he didn't put it quite this way but its the impression I got). While I hope this will happen- I have tentatively told him its also going to be hard and challenging, sleepless nights, hormones I'm crashing from, not understanding his needs. He waves this away. Yeah but it will be okay, we won't mind because we'll love him so much, and besides, I think he's going to be an easy baby.

But just like acid reflux is annoying despite a much wanted pregnancy, I'm assuming you can love your child and still miss sleep. I'm lucky. I've had a few friends who refused to sugar coat it for me, and I'm blessed to have y'all, many of whom are parenting after IF and say it straight so I know it won't be kisses and giggles at all times. I just wonder about Jack and how he'll handle it if little dude isn't as easy as he predicts. I'm sure we'll roll with the punches but I hope he doesn't get punched too hard.

On another note, I hope he is prepared for the emotions I may experience. Having wanted this pregnancy for years, one would expect that I'll be just smiling and starry eyed at all times. I desperately hope this will be the case but I'm aware of the hormone-crash. That my mother had Post-Partum depression. That sometimes I struggle with regular old depression. And that if PMS is any indication, I might have emotional lows upon giving birth. We've been talking about it and he says he understands. I hope he knows that if God forbid I do have emotional instability, that its not because I don't love the miracle I've been given, but hormones that in some ways are out of my control.

Last April I lost Speck. Since then we've been through so much and our marriage only got stronger. I hope that if parenthood tests us unexpectedly that we will also find our way through this too.


  1. you're right, i love louise so much but it is really.fucking.hard some days (today is one of those days).

  2. I had no expectations of parenthood, and it still knocked me on my @$$. I think it almost made it harder that DH and I had been married for 6 years -- we really had life down to a science, just the way we wanted it.

    I hope that you are one of the lucky couples who get that easy baby and everything falls right into place. I will probably hate you for it (kidding!) but all the better for you two. If not, though, I have faith that you and Jack will grow closer for the adventure, and when it DOES get easier (because it WILL), you'll enjoy all that parenthood has to offer.

  3. I truly believe that as paradoxical as it is, IF prepares us well for parenthood. You can get through IF and be stronger and closer - then you can do anything!

  4. Your experience will be different than anyone else's. It will be hard, yes, but it will be awesome too!!

    I have PMDD and have suffered from hormone induced depression all my life and I can honestly say that when my son was born I never felt so GOOD. I don't was coming off that uncomfortable 9 months of yucky progesterone that did it and of course not being pregnant anymore and of course being a new mommy. It can be a very exciting time. I am hoping I can skip the postpartum again.

    Every baby is different too. Some things will be easy and some will be hard.

    One thing I can tell you are going to LOVE being a mother and I know you will be the best you can be. ;)

    I can't wait.

    P.S. I have a sneaking suspicion that V is going to be such a good, easy baby too. I will let you know how that turns out ;)

  5. You will survive. I promise. The best thing you can both do is go in with no expectations--of yourselves, each other, or sunflower. Even with an easy baby you'll have am adjustment period. There will be challenges and you'll both be learning to cope as both spouses and parents. But it gets easier and better with each passing day and you find a new normal eventually.

    You're going to do marvelously. :)

  6. I think that, after loss, we all assume things will be kisses and rainbows. I love every single day of live parenting, but things have changed. It is rough on some days and, sometimes, Peter and I are at each other's throats because we are so stressed. But it passes and the rainbows come back. But it can be tough. You an always talk about expectations if/when things arent going as planned and iron out the road.

  7. Parenting is challenging (no matter the age of the child). When they are newborns, the lack of sleep, the crying, the hormones, the fact that they are completely and totally dependent on definitely can wear on you at moments. But the sweet moments, even if they aren't as frequent as either of you imagined, they refuel you in a way that's hard to imagine or explain, and it's all worth it. SS is 14 now and I tell you, I must have had sleepless nights, but that isn't what I remember. I remember how when she was eating or sleeping, her little lips would quiver in this indescribably delicious way, and even now I can picture it and it makes me want to eat her up.

    You and Jack will figure it out. Maybe he'll be surprised at how challenging even a "good" baby can be, but you'll work it out together. :)

  8. Hey! Came over from Stirrup Queens. We adopted after being IF. I just posted yesterday about how hard parenting a newborn can be. YES, I love it. But I desperately miss my sleep - and the ability to go out to breakfast on a whim :)

    But you will love being a mother. However, you seems to be blessed with friends who are realistic about it (I wasn't so lucky!) so you sound well prepared.

    You will enjoy it. Maybe not every second of it, but you will enjoy it, and you will love your child, and your marriage will continue to grow stronger.

    Blessings to you!!

  9. Reality is very different from fantasy. We also got pregnant after a long wait. We had about 10 years of IF before we finally got pregnant with IVF. We now have a 10 week old baby.

    Even if you prepare for the worst, reality knocks you on your butt. I was fully expecting our child to be colicky (as my hubby was colicky as a baby), but was pleasantly surprised to find that he is pretty mellow and relatively easy. That does not mean that everything is easy. It is still difficult. He can be very clingy because he is so young. It can be difficult finding space for yourself. I think that is the biggest adjustment for me. I am still me along with the mother, and I crave time to take care of me.

    Hopefully all will go smoothly for you, and your adjustment will go as well as possible.

  10. Hi, K,

    I also popped over from Stirrup Queens.

    First - congratulations! I hope that the rest of your pregnancy is smooth and that you and the baby are healthy and happy all the way.

    Like you - not parenting quite yet. My husband and I are in the middle of the adoption process and waiting (rather impatiently) for the arrival of our Little One.

    Reading your post was like reading something that I could have written. So many of the same concerns about how a baby is going to change our lives (9 years of just my husband and I...)

    I don't have any parenting advice for you or any stories to share since our Little One isn't here yet, but in regards to the PPD and any possible depression you might have in the near future...I hope you'll try *now* to get some systems in place to support you after the birth: a good therapist with whom you can share your worries, friends to check in on you regularly, a regular time to have just for yourself (maybe a babysitter or friend for an hour every other day so you could go to the gym, read, just go sit somewhere quietly, engage in whatever self-care you need...) and to find out if there are any anti-depressants that are safe to take while nursing.

    I know for me - having those systems in place ahead of time has definitely made me feel like I can handle anything that gets thrown my way.

    Again - best wishes for a happy healthy pregnancy and a happy healthy you & baby!

    Best and peace.

  11. Some days, the early days can be exhausting but in a good way. Other days are frustrating, but frankly,it really helps when both parties don't think that nothing else in their lives has to change. Cause it does. And all those people who SAY they will babysit anytime, GET IT IN WRITING!

  12. The early days are the hardest. But it gets easier. And those expectations, despite themselves, they will be surpassed.

    Good luck to you both!

    (Coming from Mel's blog)