“Just Wait Until…” Three Powerful Little Words 4


A few conversations this week really left me torn as to what to write about—so many great, thought-provoking topics, so little time. What I decided to highlight this week was inspired by an article I read yesterday by Jenny Studenroth Gerson featured on Huffington Post’s site. “They Should’ve Warned Me” is eloquently written and hones in on a topic that I’ve preached for decades—the positive aspects of becoming a parent.

The moment I found out I was pregnant I nearly burst out of my skin. I was twenty-two, married for less than a year, and had felt a relentless ache in my heart for about three years. My biological clock was in hyper drive from almost the moment I turned nineteen. I always had an old soul, so it was not surprising that my maternal desires began younger than most.

The moment I began to share my news of my impending motherhood, was the moment I was introduced to a term that I would quickly loath—Just wait until…

JWU was delivered by many well-meaning folks. Ironically though, it seemed that the most opinionated members of the JWU group were those who didn’t actually have children. I guess the old saying, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach” was indeed true. Some of the most common offerings were:

  • Just wait until you get morning sickness (which I never did)
  • Just wait until the stretch marks take over your body (I think I have four)
  • Just wait until you go into labour… you’ll beg for an epidural (I did it drug free)
  • Just wait until the sleepless nights (we napped together during the day)
  • Just wait until she starts teething (she never fussed once and they just appeared uneventfully)
  • Just wait until the terrible twos (those didn’t happen until she was in high school, actually)

 

One of the most shockingly negative experiences that I did have during my pregnancy was actually at my prenatal classes. Each week they brought in a guest speaker who made childbirth seem like the apocalypse. On week four, I finally abandoned my shy personality and spoke up. “Could we please have a guest who had a positive experience?” The shocked look on the instructor’s face quickly dissipated as the other women chimed in and actually agreed with me. So what did she do? She brought in a woman who told us her story as follows (please picture a gorgeous, bubbly blonde with perfect hair, teeth, and everything else, barely taking a breath for the much-needed punctuation of her story):

“… we went out for a wonderful brunch and then a romantic walk around the lake, but I started to feel a little funny and assumed that lunch hadn’t agreed with me. I thought I’d trying going poop when we got home (as her face flushed upon the mention of such a sordid bodily function), but my water broke in the toilet instead and half an hour later ‘poof’ our little girl was born. I didn’t even feel any pain.”

She ended her story with a squeal of delight and fast happy claps like I’d envision her doing as she received a two-carat diamond ring from her perfect husband as a “just because” gift on a rainy Thursday.

Umm… okay… so where did they get this Stepford wife? Sigh… from the sublime to the ridiculous.

My birth experience was not pain free (nor twelve minutes long), but was, instead, a healthy balance of discomfort and effort; which was then rewarded with the gift of my little angel. My daughter grew up knowing about my birth story and her own birth plan looked very similar. Little did she know that she was going to be dealt a very different hand—preeclampsia, high blood pressure, induced labour, morphine, epidural, vomiting, 36 hours of labour, and topped off by a C-section. I was devastated for her that her plan went to crap, but I was more so in awe of her during the entire experience as to what a strong and gracious woman she had become.

As an expectant mother, I got so sick and tired of hearing the negative, that I prepared positive comebacks for the inevitable showdown that would occur when someone fired their JWU shotgun at me point blank. Their reaction? A look of utter shock (best described as the look of having shit up their nose) and then they would ultimately sputter, “Wwwell… umm… yeah well… just wait until…” Sigh… JWU was relentless.

Why couldn’t people stop and realize what a bloody, freakin’ miracle was going on inside of my gawddamn body? Why is it that our society wants to partake in negativity and delight at the potential challenges that a new parent might encounter? Why are they trying to rob new parents of looking forward to the blessings, hope and happiness that life can offer? Why must society continue to be crabs in a bucket? Bullies on the playground? Why? Why are they so insecure and miserable that they must try to trample our spirit?

I’m not saying that my child rearing experience was all kittens, butterflies and rainbows, but it was my experience.

Has anyone ever told you that they hated a movie, yet you thought it was the best one you’d seen in years? Everyone is different, so why would we think that our experiences will all be parallel? Why do we always have to dwell on the negative?

It was around the four year mark of motherhood that I finally decided to systematically take down the JWU, one member at a time. My positive comebacks were no longer polite or passive, they were Ninja-comebacks. My victims never knew what hit them and it was my turn to delight at the sight of their jaws hitting the ground as I flicked my hair at them and walked away with a “don’t eff with mama” swaggar. Did I lose friends because of my staunch positive attitude? No. They were never my “friends.” I do not bestow the title of “friend” on just anyone—there is a very strict criteria for that (and a whole other blog about it too). Those well-intentioned JWU members were simply a blip on my radar of life; a splattered mosquito on my life’s windshield.

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For many years now, I have been recruiting members for my own elite JWU unit, in order to spread a new message. My “just wait until” bullets fill a person’s heart instead of piercing it. With each first-time pregnancy announcement that I get wind of, I send the future parents a card containing something to the effect of:

Just wait until…

Just wait until the first time you hear your baby’s heartbeat…

Just wait until the first time you feel your baby move…

Just wait until you hear your baby’s first cry…

Just wait until you see your baby’s first smile…

Just wait until the day you that your baby first recognizes you…

Just wait until your baby’s first steps…

Just wait until you hear the melodic sound of your baby’s first words…

Just wait until the first time your baby calls you mommy (or daddy)…

Just wait until the first time your baby says “I love you”…

Just wait until every single amazing “first” because of the miracle that has been bestowed upon you…

Just wait until you realize that your life has changed forever.


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4 thoughts on ““Just Wait Until…” Three Powerful Little Words

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