While pregnant with my first child, I concocted an adorable delusion of motherhood based in large part on a few prominent tabloid darlings. Here’s how things were gonna go: I would do yoga the entire pregnancy (Madonna), breathe deeply and noisily through my nostrils—as in yoga—throughout a painful but manageable six-hour labor (Katie), and then after my quiet, thoughtful progeny had slid gently into the world, I would traipse weightlessly about town with a tiny baby bouncing on my skinny hip on one side while holding gangly keys and a Starbucks coffee in my other hand (Angelina). No diaper-bag required. All this would be accomplished in a strappy dress (who needs bras when you’re that skinny?), way-too-big sunglasses, and cute little thong sandals.
Such a cute little fantasy.
During that first pregnancy, I read about six books on pregnancy and childbirth (Including Jenny McCarthy’s Belly Laughs which is so hilarious you will crap your pants, whether you have ever been pregnant or not), so I had been forewarned about the realities of becoming a mom. But I have a fatal flaw when it comes to things like this: whenever I read about terrible things that could happen, or receive admonitions about possible areas of concern, I think, “Not me. I’m different. I’ll do better. I’ll think my way out of it!”
Besides, if movie stars can do it, I can too; I’m at least as awesome as they are.
In college, I was really big into yoga. I could bend myself in really, really unnatural ways. So I naturally assumed that when I got pregnant I would be like Madonna in As Good As It Gets and do yoga right up to my delivery date. But the second I found out I was pregnant, no really, the second I found out, my thigh-bones began a pesky habit of dislocating themselves from my hips. It turns out this is not uncommon during pregnancy; it happens because of this weird prego-hormone called ‘relaxin.’ No, I did not make that word up. It’s a real hormone that loosens you up so that your big-ass baby can fit through your tiny-ass pelvis. But it kind of affects the whole body, not just the pelvis. In fact, all my joints became loose and willy-nilly. So doing yoga was out of the question! I was able to do the elliptical for a few months, but after a while, even that was too much for my overly-lubricated joints. I was doomed to be a fatty right from the start.
And thanks to Katie Holmes and all her ‘silent birthing’ talk (actually, didn’t Tom talk more about that than she did?), it came as a huge surprise to me that during labor, I, growling in a gravely satanic voice, would demand an epidural right now or someone will die. Or that I would let loose a blood-curdling scream so loud that my doctor would tell me to shut up. Yes, that happened. Or that I would shit on the birthing table like all the books said I might. I’ll bet Katie wouldn’t stoop to such levels; surely she has control over her bowels like a lady should.
And all those stitches! Who knew? Famous people only give birth to babies seven pounds and under, right? So I thought that’s what I would do! Alas, I birthed a nine-pound monster. That sh*t is not natural. I don’t know why I thought my girly parts would stretch that far without tearing, but I sure as hell did most definitely think that! It took them a half an hour to sew me back together! My doctor even cracked some joke about my naughty bits being ‘even better than before.’ I would have kicked her if my legs had not turned into pale,impotent sausages.
Speaking of vaginas getting ripped to shreds, I’m a little suspicious about friends of mine who post pictures of themselves, immediately post-childbirth, sitting cross-legged on their hospital bed, happily playing patty-cake with their new infant (let the baby sleep, he has no idea what the hell you are doing). Anyway, the point is I just don’t understand how they’re sitting like that so soon after giving birth! Don’tcha kind of have to sit a littlebit on your crotch in that position?? So I just wonder if maybe my friends who post these pictures actually had a gestational surrogate carry and deliver their baby, and wore one of those fake baby-bumps for nine-months like in the soap operas, and ate a little bit too much cake to help them puff up in the face and actually look pregnant in the third trimester. Or maybe they have super-crotches.
Anyway. As far as my quiet-and-thoughtful baby fantasy goes (Angelina and Katie’s babies always look super-thoughtful, don’t they?), that went out the window about four hours after we got home from the hospital. Lucas was mysteriously quiet the entire time we were in the hospital, the lying little shit – probably because my husband held him the whole time, even through the night, in the morning exclaiming jovially, “That wasn’t so bad! I can stay up with him at night so you can get some sleep!” Well, as soon as we got home, our little baby burrito revealed his true colors. By two a.m. that first night at home my husband flung open the door of our bedroom cradling a screaming baby, waking me from the best sleep of my life, shouting “I CAN’T DO IT ANYMORE! IT’S YOUR TURN!” Okay, dude. Don’t have a panic attack.
I had managed to trick myself into thinking that I could drag my baby wherever I went, be it the grocery store or an all-day shopping trip. Angelina looked so good in the Paparazzi photos of her strolling through L.A. with her baby on her hip. And carrying nothing else but her keys and a coffee.
I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on famous girls. I’m sure it’s not their fault they’re portrayed so unrealistically. Likely, it’s just that damn camera angle, cutting out all the gory reality. But I would love it if Angelina could tell some gross and hilarious story about how her baby (at least one of them!) took a crap all over her, or if Katie could confess that she screamed bloody-murder when Suri’s head was crowning, or if Madonna could admit that her movie The Next Best Thing was an idiotically unrealistic portrayal of pregnancy. Then we could stop crying in our muumuus and get our asses to the gym before those size-four jeans go out of style.