I’m sure I’m not the only woman who had an image of what her maternal self would look like or an idea of what her maternal self would act like. Years of trying for my first child sort of made me perfect my image of how I would think, feel and act in my role as a mother.
Needless to say – I was wrong.
A good friend of mine had her first child a couple years before I had mine. I was amazed at how much our phone conversations changed after her son came into the world. There literally didn’t seem to ever be a time when she wasn’t whispering. I remember thinking, What the hell? It struck me as so odd that I brought it up to my husband:
She’s always whispering! I mean, your baby has to get used to some kind of noise, doesn’t he? Look at us! We live on top of a busy bar on one of the loudest streets in Brooklyn. What are we going to do when the baby comes? Soundproof the apartment? Whisper all the time? No way. You have to expose your baby to some noise. Give me a break. Whispering all the time – ha!
Flash forward about a year-and-a-half. My son is two months old and is breastfeeding every hour-and-a-half for 45 minutes at a time. He doesn’t seem to have any interest in sleep. I’m walking around in a half-daze, wondering how long this behavior can possibly last. Babies are supposed to sleep all day, aren’t they? One particular day, he finally goes down for a nap and I think to myself – Great! I can make myself a sandwich. Or paint my toenails. Or do anything that doesn’t involve staring at this baby for a few minutes.
Just then my husband walks through the front door obliviously talking on his phone – but not speaking loudly at all. I freak and execute the best whisper-scream ever: SHUT THE FUCK UP! SHUT THE FUCK UP! ARE YOU CRAZY? ARE YOU STUPID? SHUUUUT UUUUPP!!!!!
Not my proudest moment. It was then that I came to understand all of the whispering.
I realized that before I had a child I thought that I would be able to somehow seamlessly fit him into my daily life without changing much at all. Well, that’s ridiculous – I didn’t really feel that way. But I never envisioned myself as the mother who would be trying to create the perfect, controlled environment just so my child would nap for a few minutes. To be fair – I didn’t really understand how desperate I would be for those few minutes until my child actually arrived.