Friday, September 4, 2009

Being A Mom Doesn't Make Things Less Disgusting, It Just Makes Me Less Reluctant to Do Disgusting Things

I have done things as a mother that my childless self would have looked at in horror and disgust. Things that I would never do for any other human being, probably not even my husband (sorry honey), but for my children they are perfectly within the parameters of normal. This doesn't make them any less disgusting, or humiliating, or horrifyingly grotesque beyond all stretches of the imagination. It just makes them a part of my daily routine as a mother.

I remember the first humiliating act that I had to perform as a new mother, and the entire birthing process doesn't count because, well, giving birth is in a whole other realm of humiliating, disgusting, and horrific. Yes, the end result is beautiful and there has never been a Baby Story that didn't cause me to get a little teary at the moment that the baby comes out, but come on, you have to admit that having your water break or broken for you, being checked to see how dilated you are by every intern, resident, nurse and janitor within a 20 mile radius A MILLION TIMES, and well, you know what can sometimes happen during the whole pushing stage, these things does not a pretty picture make. In my case, after I had experienced the whole labor process and pushed for two and a half hours, I got to have a c-section which even though it was performed in a sterile environment, still carried with it a certain level of nasty. For the love of God, some of my internal organs were set next to me while they tried to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. How freak show is that?

So anyway, my first humiliating act as a mother happened after we had gotten home from the hospital and I began the daunting task of trying to get a grip on the breastfeeding thing. It took my milk a long time to come in and everybody was all, "Pump, pump, you need to pump...pump up the jam, pump it up!" And I DID NOT want to pump because I had a newborn who was trying to set a world record for the longest nursing session known to mankind and the last thing that I wanted to do was attach something else to my body after I was finally able to extract the baby from my chest, but you do what you gotta do and so I front of Mike. I can see it like it was yesterday, me sitting on the couch desperately trying to squeeze anything, ANYTHING out that would qualify as substantial enough to feed to Aaron, completely mortified that I was performing this act in front of my husband who at one time I would have died of complete embarassment if I had so much as slurped soup in front of him which would have destroyed the illusion that I was a perfect and proper lady who would never think of doing anything so vile. Now there I sat allowing him to witness me being milked like Bessie the Cow before going out to the pasture to chew on some grass. A prim and proper picture this was not.

So Mike was sitting next to me, trying to be supportive, but still with a look of complete horror in his eyes and I said, "Well, I bet you never thought that you would be witnessing something like this, did ya?" And he was like, "Not in a trillion, bajillion years." You want to know the worst part? Somehow I didn't have the pump attached quite right and everything that I had pumped leaked down the front of my shirt. I was a hysterical, sobbing, mess of a woman with my boobs hanging out, milk all over myself, and a worthless piece of crap pump in my hand crying about how I had just wasted what little milk I had produced. Humiliating? Um, yeah.

In the gross category is of course diaper changes, but if you are a parent of a boy then you are familiar with the extra challenges present at diaper changing time. Once, when Aaron was very small, I was up changing him at night for the millionth time and I didn't bother to turn on the light. I had him all changed and I was just about to pick him up to feed him when I kissed him on the head first and his head was...wait for it...WET...with PEE...because during the diaper changing process he apparently hosed his face and had baptized himself in his own urine. To be honest I wasn't sure what to do first, clean him up or start pumping the Purell all over my face and down my throat.

Then there was the spit up. So, so much spit up. Both of my kids had a touch of reflux as infants and I spent most of my days covered in vomit, but without a doubt the absolute worst episode happened while I was visiting my friend Leslie last November. Elyse was five months old at the time and I had just finished giving her a bottle. She was getting cranky and I was trying everything to entertain her when I lifted her up over my head to talk baby gibberish too her. She saw the opportunity and chose that moment to hurl all over my face. No I am not kidding. You can't just make this stuff up. If that wasn't bad enough...

Squeamish people scroll down past this next part.

My mouth...was...OPEN!!! I gag just a little every single time I think about it. So there I was, covered in puke, still holding on to the baby volcano, trying not to hurl myself, and NO ONE DID ANYTHING. NOT...A...THING. Leslie, Wendy, you know I'm right. A hush fell over the room as seven people fought to hold back their lunches. Everyone stood in horror for a good thirty seconds absolutely paralyzed by the magnitude of what they had just witnessed. Finally Mike snapped out of it and was all, "What can I do? What can I do?" I was like, "Uh, taking this explosive child would be job one!" So he took Elyse, somehow I got my face wiped off, and I went to the bathroom to dry heave for what seemed like an eternity. Horrifyingly grotesque beyond all stretches of the imagination? Um, yeah.

I've used my own shirt to wipe noses. I have had poop on my hands on many occasions. I've cleaned up vomit that was not my own. I ALWAYS go to the bathroom with an audience. I've potty trained a toddler for Pete's sake! To say that my life for the last four years has been disgusting would be like saying that food poisoning can be a little unpleasant because I believe that motherhood is the standard by which all things gross is measured. With motherhood comes some understanding that things are going to get messy, but you have no clue to what degree until you are elbow deep in a diaper full of poo, haven't showered in three days, are wearing a shirt you deem clean because there is only one vomit stain, and you think that the last time you brushed your teeth was before you left the house to give birth.

Yes, I have done some pretty disgusting things, but nothing that every single mother on the face of this planet hasn't done herself once or twice or twenty times. My childless self would most likely want to bathe in a vat of hand sanitizer if she knew the things that she would be willing to do for her children. To her I say, "It's a filthy job, and I'm happy to do it, most of the time."


Jane Hamilton said...

Oh Great Speaker of Truth and Warrior of the Cause of Motherhood.... I fall at your feet, and worship your brave strength in talking about that which we do not want to remember, of that which makes our insides churn, of horrific things that the rest of the world is immune to.... Oh Brave Wiper of Yucky Baby-Goo of All Colors and Consistencies.... You are my Hero, for my eyes have seen all that you have too! (bowing and chanting)

Lol!! Your blog is amazing! And glad to know its not just me who feels this way ....

Amy said...

Thanks for the comment Jane. Hands down you win the Best Comment Ever award! I am glad that you enjoy my blog. Thanks for reading!

Leslie said...

I will NEVER forget when Elyse spit up on you. It was jaw-dropping. You handled it like a pro, though.

My grossest mommy moment: sitting in a tub with baby Julia and she pooped. GROSS!