Pregnancy books don't tell you all you need to know about pregnancy. They leave out things like the shakes that I got after Will was born. I didn't know that I would come out of the operating room shaking so hard I couldn't hold my own son. Its normal, they all said ("they" being doctors), but then why wasn't it in What to Expect When You're Expecting or The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy. Surely someone should have mentioned that I would have sudden onset (but luckily temporary) Parkinson's.
Other friends don't tell you everything you need to know about motherhood either. I didn't know that the second Will was born, I would cease to exist anymore. No one told me that every single goal and life plan that I had prior to his birth would disappear at the sight of him... only to be replaced with new goals and plans that revolve solely around him. Worse, no one told me that I might not feel the same about Jack right away. I didn't know that it could take time to bond with a baby. I didn't know that I was not Satan's spawn because my entire Will-focused world didn't implode at the sight of Jack.
I also didn't know that after I did bond with Jack, my heart would become large enough to hold Will and Jack in it equally. When I was pregnant, I wondered if I could love my second kid anywhere near as much as I did Will. It didn't seem possible. But, now I know that I do and it is scary to think these little creatures (one of whom just tried to eat yellow chalk) can control your every emotion. They have the power to make you cry, terrified, angry, loving, frustrated and nurturing all within a minute and a half. I didn't know that.
I didn't know that someone's well being would become so much more important than my own. My own physical pain will take a back burner to their needs. I didn't know that at all.
I didn't know that the inability to potty train my almost three year old could make me feel like such a monumental failure.
I didn't know that I could hold my breath for an entire 30 minutes waiting to find out if Jack's EEG looked normal.
I didn't know that poop could be that color.... and I don't want to know how it got that way.
I didn't know that I could go all day without eating, just because holding my newborn filled me up better than food.
I didn't know that a skinned knee could break your heart.
I didn't know that they would like Mark better than me. And I don't know why.
I didn't know that the second one wasn't going to sleep through the night. EVER.
I didn't know that there are times when the first sleeps in his own bed, that I would sit in my bed and wish he would wake up so I could bring him in and cuddle with him.
I didn't know that staying at home with them all day every day could drive me so nuts.
I didn't know that I wouldn't be able to leave them.
I didn't know that Catholic guilt would have nothing on motherhood guilt.
I didn't know that it would become possible, and in fact likely, that I would go through an entire day with stains on my ratty t shirt.... and not bother to change it.
Most of all, I didn't know that all of those cheesy cliches about motherhood being the best thing I will ever do were right. Those Hallmark people... they know what they're talking about!