Wednesday, April 27, 2011

For Reals, the Letdown Is No Joke

Last night in class, our professor was lecturing to us about gestation, birth and breastfeeding. He acknowledged that he was male, and apologized for the fact that his junk prevented him from doing any of the things he was chatting about. And that we probably knew a lot more about this stuff than he did, being that the majority of our class is female.

I thought that was polite, but unnecessary. I don't subscribe to the rom-com notion of birth as something that men can only be a part of on the slapstick periphery. No, they can't push babies out of their hormone-relaxed pelvises. No, they don't have to deal with labor or stitches or lochia or sore nipples. (Or hemorrhaging after a c-section and having a team of health care workers beating upon their just opened-up abdomens.)

But that doesn't mean they can't be involved.

I subscribe to the notion that they can pay their dues in the still, dark night. You know, when the baby wakes every 15 minutes for the next 6 months of life. For those men who didn't pull their nighttime weight, I think you will have to pay for a bit in the afterlife. And don't try that "but my wife was breastfeeding" line. You have legs to walk, and arms to rock, so get moving son!

Anyway, when he wrapped up talking about breastfeeding -- the hormones involved, the colostrum giving way to early milk, and the milk-ejection reflex -- he did ask if we had anything to contribute.

I considered raising my hand and saying, "About that milk-ejection reflex...that's no joke. Once I shot milk from the couch to the landing in my old house. Once I was picking up apples in my neighborhood produce store and before I knew it, I had two hamburger bun-sized wet spots on my shirt. Good thing it was still jacket weather! And once, after a shower, it was like sprinkler city up in my bathroom. My advice is to get used to wearing a towel around your neck like a decorative scarf."

But I thought better of it and kept those little gems inside.

I'm going to be giving birth soon, to a child that I will name Nursing School. I got into my second first-choice school, and have found a happy medium between insane cost and a truncated timeline. I am extremely excited, finally seeing my goal within reach. And I have spoken with several women who went through the program with children, and though challenging, it appears to be doable with ample support.

But I confess that it's the 'ample support' part that worries me. Not that everyone isn't supportive. Everyone is TOTALLY supportive.

In THEORY.

But the things that typically fall by the wayside anyway will be FALLING COMPLETELY BY THE WAYSIDE. Laundry, meal-planning, grocery shopping, cleaning the Italian hair rug off our bathroom floor, making sure everyone is dressed and comfortable and homework is done, addressing the random sticky spots everywhere...

Who will do these things?

And don't point to my husband, who will be working a full-time job and wrangling children in my absence. And though he does have a burgeoning spirit of domestic helpfulness, it is unlikely that he will become St. David, Holy Replacement of the Woman Who Completes All Things Sacramental, But Unsung, in the General House Vicinity, Occasionally Half-Assed But With Good Intentions.

Take last night, for example. I know playoff hockey is on, but goodness, just do the dishes when I'm at school. It's all evidence that it's going to be a messy 14-months around these parts.

Maybe not. Maybe everything will all just fall into place in some sort of miracle on par with the raising of Lazarus.

So, I'm going to nursing school! The world around me will likely fall completely to shreds, but we'll all make it through. And one of these days, in the not-so-distant future, I will be making my L&D rounds. Perhaps that's when I can share my thoughts on the milk-ejection reflex. Any new mom would find that incredibly valuable and helpful. Right?

12 comments:

Pamela said...

One time my youngest brother was being a bit of a shite about breastfeeding at dinner and so I whipped it out and sprayed him. In the eye.

We never really discussed breastfeeding after that.

RuthWells said...

I'm so excited for the next leg of your adventure. To hell with the laundry; Dave will do his best and what doesn't get done will keep.

MemeGRL said...

Ditto Ruth. You will find a way or make a new way. It will all work, and when it is done, you can look back and say, whoa, can't believe that all worked out. Really.
And Pamela is my hero.

De said...

I bought a cordless vacuum specifically for the bathrooms so I can suck up the hair every day (theoretically). You guys will all survive. I'm so delighted for you - you have accomplished a lot.

My husband was not very helpful with the kids when they were young. He has always been great about housework, except that he does not know how to put anything away. The counters will be strewn with clean dishes, folded laundry, and any tool or article he has used since the last time I put things away.

Women who wait a long time between children? I can't imagine how they psych themselves up to do it all again. My son is turning 6 and I am so glad that the baby stuff is behind us for good.

Once I was in a parking lot and a guy accidentally set off his car alarm next to me. The shock caused me to totally soak my shirt, but thankfully I was done shopping.

@Pamela - I think that would have shut me right up, too.

Indigo Children said...

lol.

Congrats on the start of a new adventure :)

Rima said...

Congratulations! I am so happy for you!

I remember the volcanic let-down reflex all too well. Ain't NOBODY done NOTHIN' to prepare me for that.

I hope that your husband's "burgeoning spirit of domestic helpfulness" continues to blossom and grow. Congratulations again!

The Homesteading Hussy said...

Woot Woot on getting into nursing school. And screw the idea of a put together life. And I'm totally toasting your boobs right now. Wish I had had that kind of reflex.

mayberry said...

YAY! You're going to be a wonderful nurse.

slouchy said...

gah. i'm sorry i'm so embarrassingly late to this. but congratulations! and i know that you'll get through it, messily or not.

the new girl said...

It's like being pregnant, this going to school. You give birth when you're finished. That whole time being pregnant, the sickness, the heaviness, the hormones, aches, pain...it all vanishes the instant you see that cute diploma. Know what I mean?

In other words, this part is temporary and will seem really long, I suppose, until you're on the other side of it, thinking, WOW! I can't believe I did that. I AM AWESOME.

(You are.)
xo

apathy lounge said...

Congratulations! I'm thrilled for you! Hope to be around more now that school is out. I privatized my blog and can't remember if I've already given you the password or not. Email me if you don't have it.

machschnell@airmail.net

apathy lounge said...

You've inspired me to pay closer attention to my garden. Also? Someone's gotta mow the yard tomorrow. Three guesses as to whom that will be.

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