Words by Dena Dyer
It was close to Mother’s Day, and I mindlessly cruised through my Facebook feed, chuckling at silly dog memes and cringing at a friend’s post-surgery pic (don’t you love the “hide” and “unfollow” functions?). With a feeling of dread, I realized I’d been tagged in a questionnaire (“All About Your Firstborn”). Sigh.
Y’all, Facebook used to be fun. It was a diversion from work, not another place to juggle responsibilities and expectations. And who started the questionnaire trend? Am I the only person who doesn’t want to participate? I think not.
So I almost scrolled on by, but then I stopped. What would happen, I wondered, if I were ruthlessly honest in my replies? After all, I’m a mother of two teenage sons, so I have the luxuries of time, perspective, and experience when I look back on their newborn and toddler years. And while I miss the chubby feet I used to nibble on during bath time, I do not, in any realm of the imagination, miss the utter exhaustion I felt so often when the boys were small. Nor do I miss the post-partum depression I suffered during my first crack at parenting.
I wish someone had warned me of the down side of being a mom, although I probably wouldn’t have listened. I wanted to wear the “mother” hat so badly that I set myself up for a big fall. I had way-too-high expectations of both myself and my infant, and I paid the price.
And while I didn’t answer my friend’s queries honestly on Facebook, I decided to do the next best thing…and submit a facsimile to my editor.
ALL ABOUT YOUR FIRSTBORN
1. Were you married?
Yes—but we still had no business being parents. Why was there hundreds of hours of instruction required to get your license, while there was no mandatory parenting classes in order to take our son home from the hospital? What kind of upside-down world do we live in?!
2. Did you have an epidural?
Let me put it this way…if I could have had the epidural in the car on the way to the emergency room, I would have.
3. Were you induced?
None of your business, as are most of these questions.
4. How old were you?
Too old to care whether I had a “natural” birth or not. To me, a natural birth is one in which you’re oblivious to pain and can leisurely watch television in a quiet room until it’s time to push.
5. How did you find out?
I couldn’t stop peeing every two minutes.
6. Did you want to find out the gender?
Yes. I have about as much patience as Kanye does during award shows.
7. Did you have morning sickness?
Listen…I want to find the people who decided to coin the term and strangle them. Because I had all-day sickness. For NINE MONTHS. Can you tell I’m not a woman who enjoyed every minute of her pregnancy? It was worth it, because a son is a blessing…but hello! All-day sickness, you are not a pregnant woman’s friend.
8. What did you crave?
Anything and everything. Thus, the answer to #9.
9. How many pounds did you gain?
The only people who know this number are the tight-lipped Ob/Gyn nurse and me. Suffice it to say, I will only give up this answer a) on my deathbed, or b) never.
10. What was the sex of the baby?
Male, God love him. And my house has been smelly ever since!
11. Where did you give birth?
Who cares? My pregnancy and labor were over. I could have given birth in an alley and it would have been fine with me, as long as the epidural-giver guy was there, too.
12. How many hours were you in labor?
13. How much did your baby weigh?
6lb 13oz. And then it took two years to lose the extra pounds I’d put on, but I digress.
14. What did you name the baby?
His name is Jordan, but since we’d never had a baby and we joyfully “parented” a dog for several years, we have accidentally called Jordan by the dog’s name more times than I care to admit.
15. How old is your baby today?
Nineteen. He’s in college now, and I’m tearing up as I type this, just like I did throughout my pregnancy. The only good things about these months after the semi-empty nest: no weight gain, no all-day sickness, and no sleeplessness at the end of it all. At least I’m hoping that’s the case.