Expectation Vs. Reality #3 Margot Grant Witz

BEFORE (Expectation):

I didn't really think we would have children. My husband, Alex. He is a great human being and he deserves to be a dad. He would be an amazing dad and while he was very supportive of me not going down the path of being a mother, I thought it would be very wrong of me as a partner to not support the path of him going down to be a father. So we tried, it worked and from the beginning, I was just very quiet about it. Alex would tell everybody because he's very excited but even a close friend of mine just found out that I'm about to give birth. It was one of those things that felt neutral for me. It wasn't very exciting. It wasn't very low, it was just very neutral. 

At twenty two weeks we had an anatomy scan and we had a little bit of a health issue with him. We went into massive amounts of genetic testing and it turned the whole experience from feeling neutral to I don't even want to talk about it. I was in this mommy group because all of Alex's friend’s wives are pregnant, they were all so excited and I didn't want to talk about it until we knew everything that was happening. I would remove myself. I wouldn’t even allow myself to acknowledge I was pregnant. At 28 weeks, we were told we're able to keep him. He has a bit of a hand issue and hopefully that will be able to be improved with surgery between 12 and 18 months. There's a part of me that's nervous about what his hand is going to look like and that's just on a physical, superficial level. I hope kids aren’t mean to him. I have wonderful nieces and nephews and wonderful friends with kids who already told me that they're going to love his hands anyway. 

It's a lot. It's a lot to be pregnant anyway then to go through all of that. You obviously just want everything to be OK and I'm sure everything will be okay, but it's also that you're just sitting and it's growing inside of you and you're experiencing the ebbs and flows of it and your expectations. I think any mother, when they get the news they're expecting, they just want a healthy, perfect little bundle of joy. Even though there's no guarantees of what that definition means for anybody. 

Because of COVID, you’re having a baby when there's a global pandemic. So life still has to go on the way that it has to but it doesn't. Things just change. I don't watch the news. I don’t want to stress myself up more. Having a baby in the pandemic is anxious-making anyways because it's the unknown, and especially because it's our first time. We've had a couple of friends who have had babies in the last month and just two weeks apart. The husband wasn't allowed  into the delivery room at all and then our other friend, her husband, was there the whole time.

Postpartum care makes me nervous. Not having your immediate village to be able to help you and tell you things are normal or to give you a break is disappointing. I think navigating COVID is a very unique and individual thing for everyone. Your mental health is so important and whatever makes you feel comfortable and confident and healthy and sane, just do it.  My brother just had a baby a handful of weeks ago and I haven't been able to see him or his newborn. It's crazy that our kids will be about two and a bit months apart, and I don't know when they're going to connect. We had this whole concept that we would also have pregnancy time together. Now everything is unknown.

AFTER (Reality):

He’s six and a half months old now. He was born via C-Section and he's a very sweet little guy but there's genuinely no control. At six and a half months old, it's all a phase. Hopefully, by the time he's 18 he will grow out of everything. I try to keep in perspective that this is a phase, however long this lasts, that's all it is. It will be over and it will be the next challenge, the next hurdle, and I'll have to learn it all over again.

You know, his complications that we were worried about during pregnancy? They're not resolved in the sense that we still have to have an appointment with the surgeon, but it wasn't as bad as they thought. It could have been a heck of a lot worse. Hands are fixable for the most part

I love my husband. He comes home on weekends and he's like, “I just wish I could have a day off and sleep in.” And it's like, “hey, we're parents”. I wish I could have a day off and sleep in too, you know? I feel like even though I have a really helpful husband, because he is in comparison to a lot of husbands, it's still very unbalanced in the sense of what a mom does versus what a dad does. There’s an expectation about what a mom has to do. And people always ask me about him. How is the kid? How's Perry? How's life going? Versus like, Hey how are YOU doing? You have a little human and you get forgotten as a human being. 

I do not like being a mother, but I love my kid. So that's how I feel about it. It's exactly what I thought it would be like. It is a hard job. It is a nonstop job. It is a job that doesn't have a lot of the rewards that you're looking for. What I do love about motherhood is that this kid is obsessed with me, and he smiles and he's giggly and he's sweet and he's smart. And you can see how things are progressing and changing and growing. 

The worst part about having a baby during COVID is he doesn't get to experience another kid. I don't get to experience another mom in person. I have all these friends who have all had boys within a month or two of each other. And we don't get to see each other whatsoever. I think that in the whole thing about motherhood right now, that in itself is the worst part. The isolation is  beyond and I'm concerned about my son's development because they mirror people, right? They mirror mouths, they mirror talking, they mirror movements. 

COVID in itself is very isolating. It sucks. It is possibly the most talked about topic in my mom group other than sleep and it's awful. It’s devastating to the experience because if you're lonely as a mom not in COVID, you go meet a friend at the mall and maybe you feel two percent better, at the very least. But now, you feel like shit and you feel alone and you can't go anywhere. You miss the organic conversations or learning experiences you have in person with another mom. You learn organically by exposure. There are certain topics that I've always been nervous to talk about because I'm like, am I the only one who's doing this? Am I the only one who's failing in this? Am I the only one who doesn't know about this? And because I don't have that exposure in person, I find myself editing my conversation with other moms. Maybe I'm the only one who feels I don't know what I'm doing. 

But everybody's got their own shit. I think it's really hard. When you're in person, there's just a gentleness that exists between people where online, there's less grace. When you're doing your not-mom job, there's a benchmark for success. There's somebody, there's external validation, there's internal validation, there's measurements. With a baby, especially a little baby there's no measure of success. 

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