I Didn’t Get It (A New Mom’s Confession)

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Two months ago, I became a mother. It has, without question, become the defining moment of my life.

In the years before motherhood, I was open about not being ready for children, confessing honestly and often that I enjoyed my freedom, proud that I was self-aware enough to recognize my selfishness with my time, space, and frankly, my life.

Baby showers weren’t my thing. I openly disliked them. Getting excited about diapers? No thanks. What is a Nose Frieda? Who cares. I had no interest in being thrown up on or sucking the snot from a stranger’s nose.

While I loved and supported my friends with kids and was wildly proud of them for being successful parents, I kept a distance from diving into daycare conversation or asking too many questions about the evolution of infant diaper smells. Most of the time, I had no clue what parents were talking about and frankly, I didn’t really care. I knew the day would come when I would care about those things, but it wasn’t in my 20s or early 30s, and I made no apologies for that.

Then the day came when my husband and I decided we were ready to start a family.

To my surprise, I loved being pregnant. Granted, there were moments when I felt like a manatee in search of an ice bath, but overall it was a great experience. Things I thought I would miss desperately (vodka, sushi, the ability to control my emotions) moved with ease to the back burner.

We were blessed with a gorgeous, healthy, baby boy and every parent cliché I’ve ever heard came true. My heart instantly exploded with a love I’d never experienced. I was a nervous wreck on the drive home, wondering the entire time how to keep this perfect, helpless treasure away from anything that could hurt him.

I Didn't Get It (A New Mom's Confession)Now that I am a mother, I need to say something to all my friends with kids.

I didn’t get it. I get it now. 

I probably wasn’t the most enthusiastic person at your baby shower. I didn’t believe you when you told me that one day I would be thrilled to receive diapers and burp cloths. I couldn’t hide the look of boredom on my face when the conversation turned into a discussion about the best kind of baby monitor or sleep sack. I probably left your baby shower early to go to happy hour and meet people who were discussing anything other than Dr. Brown’s baby bottles. I should have paid more attention, been more engaged, and been more thoughtful and willing to participate in those conversations. I never really got it. I get it now.

I secretly didn’t believe you when you told me how tired you were. I thought I could relate because before I had a baby I could run on four hours of sleep a night and function perfectly fine the next day. I acted like a cup of coffee and an overpriced piece of avocado toast would get you running on all cylinders again. I never really got it. I get it now.

I doubted you when you told me that you didn’t have any time during the day to do anything for yourself, wondering how something that was essentially a human potato could take up every waking hour of your life. I never really got it. I get it now.

I didn’t believe you when you told me you didn’t have time to talk on the phone because whenever you got a minute to yourself you just wanted, and desperately needed, sleep. Or a shower. Or a meal other than Ritz Crackers and ginger ale. I should have kept checking in on you, but I secretly thought you were avoiding me. I secretly thought you didn’t want to talk because you thought we had nothing in common anymore. It wasn’t that at all. I never really got it. I get it now.

I rolled my eyes when you would go on and on about how your relationship with your spouse changes. How you and your partner develop a love beyond what you ever imagined the day you got married. How having a child opens the door to a vulnerability with your spouse that you never thought you were capable of, and how allowing yourself to be vulnerable is more rewarding than you could have ever imagined. I never really got it. I get it now.

I probably missed your child’s birthday party and felt like I didn’t belong because I didn’t have kids of my own there. I didn’t realize you were still looking for my support in this new chapter of your life, even though it didn’t consist of the things we used to do. I didn’t understand that you need several days now to prep for an outing because getting a baby out of the house takes as much thought as launching a space shuttle to the moon. I never really got it. I get it now.

I didn’t believe you when you would tell me how dependent I would become on the advice my mother and girlfriends give me. How knowing you can text your mom or best friend in the middle of the night to ask a question about your child suddenly becomes your lifeline to sanity and a comfort that you are not alone on an island with sore nipples and puke in your hair. I never really got it. I get it now.

Motherhood has forever changed me, hopefully for the better. The chaos of a newborn has seemingly overnight made me more compassionate, energized, exhausted, thoughtful, forgetful, vulnerable, patient, reliable, insecure, confident, needy, emotional, and everything in between.

Thank you for being a better person to me than I probably was to you. I can’t wait to watch this new person in my life discover this incredible world, and meet all the people in my life who have helped shape who I am. I want my child to have the best parts of me, and those parts come from my friends and family.

They say you never really understand unconditional love until you have a child of your own. I never really got it. I get it now, and I promise to be at the next baby shower with bells and whistles on.

I Didn't Get It (A New Mom's Confession)

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Charleston native Whitney Williams McDuff has devoted her life to being the best daughter, sister, friend, wife, coworker, leader, and now mother she can be. She graduated from USC with a double degree in Public Relations and Psychology, partially because she’s fascinated by the nature of people, and partially because it set her free from the claws of a monstrous statistics course that she was eager to avoid. (Hey, sometimes the truth isn’t always pretty). Her career spans across the world of sales, marketing, and public relations, thriving in a realm where building relationships was the key to the contentment kingdom. Her passions include writing, reading, painting, her piano and guitar, interesting conversation, film, her pug Bee, and a great glass wine. Ok, glasses. She and her husband Jimmy are expecting their first child, Baby Holbrook, this summer, so wine bottles have been left on the shelf for now. Her blog, No Wine for Nine, began when Whitney became fed up with the pressure to be flawless and knew that laughter and sharing her stories with her girlfriends was essential to making it through this thing called Motherhood.  Her hope is that her blog is a cherished place for any woman who longs for an escape from the stress of perfection, because she believes that true magic lies in the imperfections and hilarity of everyday life. Still trying to navigate Babies R’ Us. Biggest fears include spiders and mis-posting on a mom-swap site.

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