When you tell me you are pregnant, and I say “Congratulations,” what I mean is: You’re screwed.
There is actually no way to prepare for parenthood. It is important to take the birthing class and to practice diapering and swaddling, and you should go ahead and read Spiritual Midwifery and What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Positive Discipline and The Vaccine Book and You Are Your Child’s First Teacher and French Kids Eat Everything and Raising Your Spirited Child.
But there is no way to really know it in your bones until it’s 3:26 am and you are covered in mustardy baby poop and cannot find the snot-sucking thing and your baby is barking like a wounded seal.
Either I have lived a lifetime in the six years since my first child, Milo, was born, or my relationship with time has changed. I do not remember 24 hours ever feeling as long as those new-parenthood marathon days that began before dawn and were a series of explosions of bodily fluids.
I was spent by noon.
When my husband Mike came home from teaching at 5 pm, I was so resentful of his time outside the home that I would basically throw the baby at him and shut myself in the bathroom crying.
Why don’t people warn you about new parenthood like they do about stealing, lying, or sex?
I remember being called out by my parents for taking something that didn’t belong to me — I had to return that girl’s thin gold necklace in person, with a written apology.