Things I worried about before I had my baby:
That I would not love the baby.
Yes, really. I worried about this. Hysterical, isn’t it?
That the cats would hate me.
Because, you know, my mother’s cat didn’t speak to her for weeks after I came home. And they loved my pregnant belly. In fact, they loved it so much that they liked to use it as a launching pad, and thus whenever I went in for a prenatal appointment, anyone who didn’t have cats would be totally alarmed by the scratches. And they never knew me not pregnant — I got them when I was six months along.
That I would not be able to breastfeed.
I had a breast reduction when I was 21 and they basically told me I wasn’t ever going to be able to breastfeed. Since I was not ever planning to have children, this did not seem like a problem. I was just excited not to have bra straps digging into my shoulders and to be suffering the various other indignities of the well-endowed.
My breastfeeding anxiety took the form of a peculiar sort of avoidance — I didn’t sign up for a breastfeeding class because I was afraid that people would just look at me oddly, and yet I read all of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, which, so far as I can tell, is a book designed to make just about everyone feel like shit, and particularly people who have to work for a living.
That my house was going to be overtaken by baby crap that I didn’t understand.
People kept telling me I needed things with strange and inscrutable names. “Oh, you need a pack-n-play! Do you have a pack-n-play? I have a pack-n-play you can have?” WHAT THE FUCK IS A PACK-N-PLAY? Or a Boppy? A bassinet is different from a crib? Really? I was supposed to register for all this crap, and I didn’t even know what half of it was. As far as I knew, I just needed a place for the baby to sleep, a carseat for him, and a bunch of clothes for him to sully with various baby effluvia. And diapers. I am not even getting into the nature of clothing. I barely knew what a onesie was before I inherited a bunch of them.
That I would never go anywhere or do anything ever again.
Because, you know, you can’t possible put a child in a car or on a plane or take him for a walk.
That the child would grow up completely fucked up because of his weird family situation.
I’d go into this, but it’s too complicated.
That the baby would grow up to like sports.
Things I worried about after I had my baby:
When we were in the hospital, we were told to measure the amount of supplemental donor breastmilk the baby took in milliliters or ccs. I was also supposed to record how long he nursed and rate five or eight different aspects of breastfeeding on a three point scale every time we tried. Oh yeah, and we were supposed to try either every two hours or every time the baby seemed interested, depending on who the nurse was that shift. Then we left the hospital and the doctor wanted supplement measured in ounces. Then he got his vaccinations and was supposed to get Tylenol in milligrams, but there were two different concentrations of Tylenol. Then it turned out that there was INFANT Tylenol, which is different from CHILDREN’S Tylenol. Really, there’s nothing like getting a call from your daycare director when you’re at work informing you that you have been giving your child the wrong medicine.
I know that I once did nine hundred math problems about all these different kinds of measurements every year in school, but I have completely forgotten all about them, and thus I stand there at midnight staring uncomprehendingly at bottles and syringes and labels. Oh, and every time I take the boy’s temperature, I have to look up normal human temperature ranges on my phone. Every. Single. Time.
Good Lord but this baby hates to nap when he’s with me. He only likes to nap at daycare. This all seemed fine until I started reading about how OMG YOUR BABY HAS TO NAP.
That I would not be able to breastfeed.
Well. I can some. But not very much, especially not since I went back to work. I pump 2-3 times a day and get an ounce if I’m really lucky. It’s sort of hilariously pathetic. I sit there in the staff bathroom* and desperately try to shake the little drops that accumulate into the flange into the bottle because I don’t want to waste any of it.
That I really ought to have a landline even though I can’t afford it.
Because, you know, what if my cellphone dies? Or the power goes out and I can’t make calls over my computer? Or someone is here looking after the baby and doesn’t have a phone?
That the baby will grow up to like sports.
I am sure I worry about other things, too. I worry that I am forgetting some really clever thing I meant to put in this post. I worry that there are typos because I am a terrible typist and I have barely slept. That I am not entertaining enough for the baby. That I am fucking him up irrevocably by my very existence. You know, the usual.
But so far at the end of every day, we are both still alive, which I suppose is about the best way you can measure success.
*Yes, I am pumping in a bathroom. I tried using the Friends of the Library room downstairs, which was fine, except that then they periodically need to use it when I need to pump, and then one day a woman got the other key and walked in on me. “I’ll be done in about 8 minutes!” I said, gaily. “Oh, I don’t mind!” she said, and came on in to start book sorting. And then she proceeded to talk to me. So now I pump in the very well appointed staff bathroom, where there is a sink and where nobody ever bothers me. I do have an office, but it has windows to the outside and floor to ceiling window that faces into the staff room, so it’s just not quite the thing.