In one week, my sister-in-law will be holding her newly born baby. She will be in the hospital with her husband, my husband’s brother, and they will be alone. She’s jealous of me, and I’m jealous of her.
She didn’t like how new moms got all the attention. Everyone’s always gushing over a newly pregnant woman. There’s always so much excitement to offer a new mom. The how to’s, what ifs, and the what-you-should-do’s start—advice from everyone comes flooding your way. Are you going to find out the sex of the baby, do you want a boy or girl, do you have names yet, what kind of stroller are you going to use and what kind of diapers are right for which sex. She was not being asked these questions. She was the Veteran. New moms would have probably gone to her to find out any pertinent information on how to coddle and swaddle a new born. In one week she will be a mom of six.
She was jealous of me when my husband and I announced that we were pregnant. Freshly pregnant! Oh, what a feeling. Getting the family excited at a combined family dinner at a local restaurant. We gave the soon-to-be newly grandparents gifts—A jar of Prego spaghetti sauce with a sticker on it that said, “We are Prego, Coming April 2012.” Very cute, I know. A new baby. A new mom. A new powdery fresh scent. She was jealous. For a moment, I felt bad for her. She was right. She didn’t get the new mom vibes from anyone. She got the looks and stares. Another one?! Are you freakin’ kidding?! I’m sure you can imagine the thoughts running through someone’s mind as they see her with five kids in tow and another on the way. She didn’t get the new mom look. She got the, “Are you fucking serious” look. In that moment, I felt bad for her. She didn’t get to experience the joy that new moms got. She didn’t get the warm fuzzy greeting that people give new moms. She got the fake smiles and the contrite congratulations.
I wanted to be her. With the five, soon to be six, kids. I didn’t want that new mom congratulations. Because with that congratulations comes heartbreak and blood. And disappointment. And worthlessness. In a matter of two weeks, I went from powdery fresh scent to disintegrating baby. She may have wanted the real congratulations, but she didn’t want the aftermath. She was the honored Veteran. I was honorably discharged.
I can sympathize with her situation, but not empathize. We both are jealous of the new moms who get the excitement and the baby. They’ve got it all. I envy the moms who go through the whole process and come out alive with a kicking, screaming baby. I envy them not only because they have a baby in tow, but because they had their dreams, wishes and realities come true. The moment you discover you’re pregnant your mind floods with all the potentials for the future. Will they be a mama’s boy or a daddy’s girl; have curly hair or straight. What will their personalities will be. Those moms are holding their babies, just like my sister-in-law is.
She did get that new mom excitement. She got it with the first baby and I’m sure with the second. It kind of goes without saying, after the second kid, no one really gets overly excited about the next pregnancies any woman has. Sure there’s excitement that there’s a new baby on the way, but after you pop out a couple, it’s kinda like, ok, we get the point, you can procreate. Good job. This isn’t how I necessarily feel, but it’s definitely what gets presented to her.
When my husband and I announced that we were expecting, it was not my first new mom experience. That was my soon-to-be second miscarriage. I knew the congratulations were real; everyone was excited. But, in the back of my mind, I knew what the end result would be. I hoped, and even prayed a little. But I knew that I wasn’t going to get my bundle of joy.