“Having a baby changes your life.” Of course, I don’t know that first hand…yet. It is just a phrase I have heard over and over again, but more consistently during the past 9 months of my (seemingly unending) pregnancy.
With just days to go before this ‘life altering’ event befalls me, I would like to politely disagree and state that it is the act of becoming pregnant that actually changes your life. (What do you mean I can’t eat deli meat?) More specifically though, it is the choices made during your pregnancy that will change the day-to-day details of your life after the baby even is born. I am not talking about the health choices that immediately come to mind (no wine, no caffeine, no tuna), nor the career related choices (part-time vs. full time or working mom vs. stay at home mom). I am talking about the changes that you don’t even think of (and your friends don’t mention) when you find yourself ‘expecting’. It is the changes to your personal ‘network’.
Having worked in Boston for the past 15 years, I have a network. A well established, finely honed, keenly tuned network based on 15 years of trial and error, sweat and tears; it is a network that is a part of my arsenal, my well-being, my pre-Mommy history. Otherwise known as my doctor, dentist, chiropractor, eye doctor, gym, hairdresser, manicurist, dog groomer….you get the picture.
For those that have straight hair, maybe changing your hairdresser is not a big deal, but when you have unruly, curly (mostly frizzy) hair like me, it is a possible tragedy in the making. I know that the sleepless newborn baby nights will be hard. But can’t I have nice hair? I have poodles (who also have unruly, curly hair – go figure) and are very small, so it is important to get a great dog groomer who understands tiny curly-haired poodles. Finding a new pedicurist who does not judge my runners feet is a feat (get it?). One cannot begin to comprehend my horror of baring my feet to a….stranger!
I can only compare these Motherhood changes to the act of moving. Where you find yourself surrounded by new people (mommy-morning out people vs. Board meeting people) and a new location (home vs. an office building). Instead of asking your new neighbor, you ask your new mommy-founded friends how to deal with the diaper blowouts and who they recommend as a dentist…for you.
I know that I currently have a unrealistic expectation that I will somehow be able to keep my network intact. Perhaps driving many extra miles for that one eye doctor appointment. I am sure it is somehow related to that psychological need to think one can do it all, have it all, and nothing will change after the baby is born. But I also know that the attempts (and the delusion of grandeur) will be short lived when I find that the extra driving miles with a baby in the car seat (probably projectile vomiting) is not the best use of our time.
So I will find myself pulling away from those that knew me (albeit, only every 8 weeks or once a year), but I will feel disloyal and out of place in the new waiting room, frustrated when I will have to learn the new ‘best’ parking spot, or lost when I don’t know the best time to get the good treadmill. All in all, finding yourself on the verge of Motherhood brings the knowledge that you have to give up, say diet soda, and the impromtu nights out with your partner or friends, but little do you know that you probably will have to give up your waxer as well.
So at the cusp of my life-altering experience, I am looking at the reviews for eye doctors in my area and already booked an appointment at a new veterinarian office for my poodles. I know it is the first step of many to come in my new role as Mom, but it puts me in a better position to understand what my son or daughter may go through on the first day of kindergarten in about five years. Hopefully, by then, he or she will have nice hair (and so will I).