08.30.10

Girlfriends Guide has Nothing on The Sisters

Posted in Monthly, Baby Krise at 11:14 am by Pasha

By Pasha Holiday

Once the test shows positive, most women will impulsively go out and buy What to Expect When You are Expecting. The book, like a rite of passage into pregnancy, has evolved over the years from a matronly, full-bellied expectant mother in a rocking chair on the cover to a chic expectant mom in jeans and a Gap stretch T. Many legions of us readers will also go out and get 10 other books, one for the husband, one to track week by week and hilarious anecdotal ones like Jenny McCarthy unashamed hit, Belly Laughs.

When I was a small 10 weeks, my sister-in-law turned me on to A Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy. It was funny and addressed some of the more embarrassing questions that growing the bump conjured. However, there were many things about The Girlfriends Guide that didn’t appeal to me, that were far from my lifestyle and beliefs, and still so many questions left hanging on my mind.

That is when, in a long line of mommy sisters, you turn the the women who know you best, who taught you to ride a bike and who held you down with spit slurp threats, your sisters. I am so overly blessed to not only have five blood sisters, but to also have a select few women who have been there so long, that they know me almost as well, nieces and besties that are ever enduring as sisters. And of course, the head of all mommy’s, my own mama.

So it wasn’t until I went home that I could address some of the real pregnancy fears and questions that I had been losing sleep over. Call me a vain brat, but I do care about my sex life, now and after, and I do want to know how exactly you get that thing out. I am curious about how much weight everyone else gained, and of course, if the the nursing horror stories are exactly true.

At 22 weeks and more than halfway to meeting my little person, I forged on home with an empty SUV to be filled with hand-me-downs, a heart yearning for people in adoration of pregnancy and quizzical questions to be asked to the mothers I admire the most, my sisters.

From the start I got something at home that I has been deprived of for the first half of my pregnancy: the baby talk to the baby belly and the total love for a pregnant woman. Everyone I encountered talked to the baby even before they addressed me, “Well hello little one, Aunty loves you!” They refused to let me carry bags and urged me to relax and eat. They coddled me like I was really doing one of the most sacred and important jobs on earth. It was in them that I finally took note, this is special, this is a miracle. Creating life in your womb is to be praised, not balked at or the get tough approach that I had become accustomed to in bustling Chicago.

Everyone asks, are you sick of people talking to your belly. The truth is, I have yet to have strangers or acquaintances do that, and I kind of wish they would. Sure this little one is going to know who I am and who my husband is, but I don’t want it to think the rest of the world wasn’t aware! The love of family, of sisters, of praise towards your ever growing bump in a time when my esteem and heart truly needed it, was more that enough to make me wish I could flee home every weekend. And when this little one makes its debut into the world, it will be those same women holding my hand and getting me through it all.

The sisters are really truly the only ones that you can ask the really really embarrassing questions to. For me, it was asking all my sisters about sex after the baby. I am not talking about if you will be too tired to make love and I am not talking about if my husband still wanted me. What I wanted to know was simple, after having a baby the old-fashioned way, will sex be like throwing a hotdog down a hallway?

And I asked, I surveyed them all …. from women who had their last of seven babies 25 years ago to a woman who gave birth six-months-ago. I even had the husband ask a brother-in-law. These are the woman that saw me through the pre-teen years when I would spontaneously cry with emotions or when I was such a party animal they had to visit certain peoples homes and tell them that I was not allowed there. There is nothing to embarrassing to share with them.

Overwhelmingly, they all said it goes back to normal. Well, the answers were more like this: a mother of four said that unless hubby is hung like a mouse, in which case you had issues before pregnancy, there is no need to worry. Another said they waited four months and everything was back to normal. Ones husband was sitting across the room when she asked point black (he was picking her up from the baby shower) husband insisted that it was still great and that he couldn’t tell a difference in before the kids and after the kids, except for the exhaustion. And just like that, one of my greatest fears about having a baby naturally was squashed. After all, I know these women would never fib about such a major thing!

I asked about nursing the new baby, in which every mother had some advice. They all said to get the nipples ready before baby comes (and ask for your hubby’s help in this!) Some said their baby’s took to the boob like it was nobody’s business. Others had a bit of a hard time with the latch. They told me to use abrasive wash cothes to get em ready. They told me it was so well worth it. All of them agreed, they could not imagine having to wake up to mix and warm a bottle. My sister who could not produce milk and thus could not nurse told me she wished she could, that all those midnight feedings, that all the nourishment, that the cost would have been far better if only she could have nursed. They all agreed, do not be afraid to ask for help, to cup the boob, to put the whole entire nipple in the little mouth. And I never even blushed once with all the booby talk.

Suddenly, an area that before pregnancy seemed only to be for strippers and men, was actually utilitarian. And I have to say that God did have a great plan when he gave us the biology of making and feeding babies because I cannot think of a better way to gain weight so quickly than in my boobs where everyone loves a bit of cleavage.

My sisters gave me practical advice that I had not seen in the baby books … take all the hand-me-downs you get.. You just might need the extra dozen onzies. They advised me how to save a buck (as my employment status will either be part time from home or no time at all) like buying “new” clothes from the well-off women on craigslist and to always cut coupons for diapers (although my husband is insistent on cloth diapering, but that is a whole other post!)

There are so many books to read late at night or in the wee hours when the little one refused to let you sleep. There are tons of girlfriends who will lie and say you look great (or like my Chicago friends, comment about how big I am getting.) There are so many “experts” to consult and doctors to lend your business to. But truly and seriously, there are no women like your sisters. They are the mothers who have rallied before you, who have been there through everything and who will be there long after your baby has grown to toddler and even a raging teen. Just imagine the questions you will have then!