Help Me: Good Things About Parenthood

As of today, I am officially 17 weeks pregnant. I am definitely rounder in the stomach, some people who know me have said they can tell I have a “baby bump” but only after they pause to look.  Basically I look like I’ve eaten a giant burrito or something gross like that.  The bloaty stage is sooooo wonderful.

Juno

What else is going on?  Well, to quote the movie Juno:

And if it is any consolation I have heartburn that is radiating in my knee caps and I haven’t taken a dump since like Wednesday… morning.

(I re-watched Juno this past weekend. I know I’m not a knocked-up 16-year-old like she is, but I found watching that movie while I’m actually pregnant had a different impression on me.  I think I’m going to start talking like her.  Instead of telling people I am pregnant, I’m going to tell them I’m ‘forshizz up the spout’.)

No, this is not a food baby all right? I’ve taken like three pregnancy tests, and I’m forshizz up the spout.

This past week has been rough. I thought I was past the queasiness, but then every single night has been a terrible mix of every issue with a digestive track that could be wrong all happening cumulatively at the same time.  I feel compelled to curl up in a fetal position on the couch and moan, until Jade The Boxer comes to lay on me for comfort. I’m a lot of fun to be around!

I mean, I’m already pregnant, so what other kind of shenanigans could I get into?

Earlier, I kind of hinted that I would post a picture in this post, didn’t I? Sigh… I’m actually kind of embarrassed to post this, I’m not a fan of my pregnant shape.  This was taken last Sunday, my husband’s official “pregnant belly picture day.”  But I feel like I’m actually a little smaller today, probably a lot of the size in this picture was due to bloat and constipation. (Milk of Magnesia… relief. TMI? Well, tough!)
16 Weeks
Now, on to the meat of this post’s title: I was complaining about pregnancy the other day and my husband said, “Why are you focusing on that? Just think about all the positive things this will bring.”

And I was kind of stumped.

My first reaction is how much this disrupts my life. I have to go through all sorts of body changes for 9 months.  I get to experience things that I’ve never had before this (heartburn, constipation, UTI, etc.) and they’re not exactly things I am cherishing.  After this whole pregnancy stretch, I then have to give birth and when my body is exhausted and drained, I then have a tiny human being demanding my body gives them nourishment at ridiculous intervals morning, noon and night.  And then, by about 4 months after giving birth when I would really like to be training for races again, we will move into my husband’s busy season where I will essentially be a single parent for several months.

When you share the news with people you are pregnant, they immediately congratulate you, only to follow it up with warnings and stories about how you’ll never sleep/vacation/eat out/go to the movies/have fun ever again.

And when you go on Facebook, sooooo many people are sooooo negative about their children. “Someone forgot to tell my child it’s 7 AM on a Saturday.”  “Throw up all night long, ugh.” “I can’t handle one more poopy diaper.”  It really seems like people mainly share the negatives.

The one that gets me the most is when people tell me that parenting is the hardest thing I’ll ever do. I have no delusions that it will be a complete breeze. And since this is a running blog and running occupies much of my mind, I’m going to make a comparison to marathon training.

Training for a marathon is hard. Running a marathon is hard. But it’s also so rewarding. Accomplishing each goal and milestone throughout training gives me a rush and a feeling of accomplishment.  Crossing a finish line is even better.  People who aren’t runners and have never done a marathon may question my sanity about the endeavor, throwing out their misconceptions about how it’s so detrimental to the body or how it’s pointless.  But anyone who’s done a marathon, they are always supportive and excited about the process.

On the flip side, if it was just people who had no children that told me “You’ll never be able to do such-and-such” again, I might understand it.  But that’s not the way it is in this world. People who are actually parents and have been through the process seem to be the ones who are so quick to point out every negative aspect of parenthood. I find that disheartening.

Really, I just kept focusing on the negatives because they seem to be thrown in my face all the time.

So… I would like you guys to chime in.  If you are a parent, what are the positive things in your life that come from parenthood?  If you aren’t a parent, share your guesses as to what you think would be positive things.  Comments are wide open and everyone is welcome!

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25 comments

  1. Hi, Jill –

    Parenting may indeed be the hardest thing you ever do, but it can also be the hardest thing that you will ever love more than life itself.

    Good things about being a parent: first steps, first words, first hugs, first kisses, first smiles, first laughs, first eye-to-eye contact, first “ma-ma”…first day of school, first word read, first hit in baseball, first “I love you” after doctoring a skinned knee…running to the door shouting “Mom’s home!” and knowing you are the greatest thing in someone’s entire life…Mother’s Day cards that really are kind of ugly that you keep and treasure your entire life…genuine love…genuine wonder at the beauty of the world…

    …running a marathon with someone you love more than love itself, more than running, more than life?

    Being a parent is more awesome than you can ever imagine,
    Dan

  2. Jill-I’ll jump on the congratulatory bandwagon and say that I’m so happy for you two! It’s true, pregnancy is not fun. I’ve heard people say they didn’t mind being pregnant, that they actually enjoyed it. I think they’re LYING! But let me be one of the first to tell you how freaking amazing it is being a parent. Sure, you’ll go through hell pushing that baby out (I recommend drugs) but when they put that little piece of you and Kevin in your arms and you hold that little peanut for the first time, I swear to you, your heart will melt. You won’t even remember all the crap you went through for those 9 months. And although you will have sleepless nights, and you will have to clean up vomit, it won’t last forever. My oldest is 8 and I look at her and wonder where the time went. You will revel in their accomplishments. You will cry when they’re in pain. It will be a cool new adventure. And who’s not up for an adventure? You’ll do great, I promise :o)

  3. I can tell you from experience that watching your kid grow up is amazing. It just keeps getting better the older they get (as they get their own personality). It’s an amazing journey. I think you’ll be surprised! 🙂

  4. Dan’s response kind of made me teary. He’s absolutely right. Don’t know that I can improve on it. For me, this morning it was my kids giggling excitedly while I ‘Hi-ya!’ their bananas in slices for breakfast. Got us all laughing. Kids can be so entertaining. They’re funny, whether it’s on purpose or just in the silly things they say that they don’t really understand.

    I read this blog post a while ago that I think it nicely sums up the difference between “Just wait for all the difficulties” and “just wait for all the joy”.
    http://katiewetherbee.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/joy-or-just-wait/

  5. Yes, I’m not going to lie, parenting is hard especially if you are trying to get it right! I have four daughters ages 11, 9, 4 & 2. Some days I wonder what made me think that it was a good idea to have this family. My kids are loud, wild, ask a million questions and cramp my style. BUT like anything in life your situation is what you make of it. You can quit doing everything you love because you have kids now and you can’t do “it” with a baby. OR you can find a way to make it work. We have not given up traveling just because we have little kids, we have not given up the things we like to do {I run and my husband mountain bikes- we just don’t do it at the same time}. We really haven’t given up a whole lot because we had kids. In fact my husband and I were talking the other day about our days before kids. We remember being so busy and not having any extra time. I didn’t even start running until after baby 4 was born and my husband only started biking about 6 years ago. We have just discovered what our priorities are and made it work.

    Kids are amazing and resilient little creatures. They can do something totally infuriating one minute and adorable the next. It is all worth it and I do think it is like training for a marathon only you don’t get a shiny metal at the end and nobody says “Wow, you’re a Mom? That’s amazing!”

    I also had serious post postpartum depression after all my babies but didn’t get any treatment or help until after my 2nd baby was born. That first year was so hard but I don’t think it had to be. If I only knew what was “wrong” with me and gotten help earlier I think that it would have been a much happier year. I look back and it makes me a little sad that I was so sad the first year of motherhood.

    Anyway, I didn’t mean to make this comment so long and rambling and it probably makes you feel worse, sorry. BUT I love being a Mom. There is no better job. It’s not an easy job or a comfortable job and you don’t always get it right. But it is an amazing job.

  6. Sitting with your baby curled up on your chest is one of the best feelings in the world! Watching them discover the world with new eyes is pretty amazing! The good out weighs the bad! Ignore the negativity! Motherhood is pretty awesome!

  7. Honestly, I think the negativity is a coping mechanism. I’m totally guilty of posting the atrocious things Spud (my 4-1/2 year old son) does on Facebook. And it’s not so much to complain – a little, of course – than it is to have someone tell me they understand! As a parent you can’t win either way, because if you say it’s always sunshine and roses people will assume you’re lying…

    If you want to compare it to running it’s like the feeling you get when you finish a race or reach a new longest distance. You’re proud that you did something so hard even if people don’t really understand why.

    Yes, every stage has it’s good and bad moments. I can’t lie and say otherwise. However, there isn’t a day where, at the end of it, I can say that I would have wanted it any other way. Cliche, but sometimes those actually are true. 🙂

    I really like this site: http://www.askmoxie.org/ – she generally poses a question that’s been sent to her and there are some really good answers in the comments.

  8. If I had a dime for everyone who told me I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my run training, etc. once I had kids…Trust me, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Yes, it’s hard to juggle it all, but also doable. I had my kids later in life (first one at 35) because I feared losing my lifestyle. But 11 years later, i can tell you that I wouldn’t trade the parenting experience for the world. What a huge, incredibly rewarding part of my life I would have missed. There really is nothing like loving your children and the love they give you back. And I’m still doing marathons, etc., and the kids are now doing 5ks. Tell the naysayers to stuff it!

  9. Hey Jill,
    I didn’t want to have kids. Really truly. I didn’t. I eventually had one and then two of them because Walter wanted them, and I wanted to make him happy, so of all the crappy reasons to have a child, I did it for him…twice. Being pregnant was the worst part of it. I hear ya. The body changes just sucked. There’s no getting around it.

    But here’s the deal. Yes, parts of raising kids are difficult, but I look at my now teenagers, and I know that before I had them, I would never feel the kind of joy that I get to feel now. Watching them become the people who they are becoming is just amazing. They make me laugh. They keep me young. They (and this is going to sound so damn corny I can’t believe I’m even writing it) make me whole. I am a much better me because of them. My kids forced me to not be the center of my own universe, and I needed that. My kids make my life full of little tiny moments of absolute joy.

    In the first days when I would hold Cori (DramaGirl) and later Charlie (Turbo), little creatures who really only knew that I was the food supply, I realized that my world view had changed. I truly wasn’t expecting how I would completely and utterly fall in love with my kids. That is why having kids has been worth it. I’d have never known that kind of love without them, and it was really, truly the last thing I was expecting.

    Hang in there. The joy will come.

  10. I have to chuckle a little… that despite what I wrote in my post, people still feel the need to tell me that parenting is so hard! LOL! But I truly do appreciate your stories and sharing. And I really hope more people will share specific things about why they enjoy parenting or find it rewarding.

  11. If it helps at all, I’m actually loving your posts about this and your not-entirely-positive-and-glowy perspective on it. I am completely terrified of pregnancy myself and I strongly suspect that my attitude upon becoming pregnant will be one of grudging acceptance, rather than awe and excitement. [disclaimer: I want to have children, just not looking forward to pregnancy/birth/early babydom]

    My mom swears up and down that she loved being pregnant. It was MAGICAL and wonderful and she would do it again and again. She further swears that giving birth is the most natural thing on the planet, no big deal, women squat down and give birth in fields. She gave birth to three kids at home, no problem. [she also tried to convince me that getting my period was a magical thing fyi]. Love my mom, but this annoys the hell out of me. When I get pregnant, I will hang out with you and watch Juno instead of the Miracle of Life.

    On the other side of things, for whatever such anecdotal evidence is worth, I have at least 20 facebook friends with babies/young children. None of them ever posts anything negative about their children. Ever. The closest they get is ‘my poor baby had to have some shots, felt so sorry for him!’

    Again, really loving your posts 🙂

  12. I have a 2 1/2 month old, so I can give you a look into the first few months. Mornings are the best. It seems at this age, babies wake up with the biggest smiles and are just so happy that mommy is there. Bath times are also a blast. My little one is usually all smiles during bath time. Overall, it is just a really great feeling knowing that your little one loves you more than anything else in the world and wants nothing more than hugs and kisses from you.

    To top it all off, you will likely see your husband in a new light and it will add a new dynamic to your relationship. It is so fun to watch your spouse fall in love with your child.

  13. Comparing it to a marathon is so apt. It’s hard work, sometimes you feel like you’re nuts for trying, but there are moments of blinding joy and satisfaction in between the times that you’re just slogging along (much like anyone’s life, kids or no, really). You get a sense of accomplishment and feeling strong, and you feel like you’re doing something big that will change you forever.

    And hey, I actually wrote a post about this very thing once! It was geared more towards answering the question, “Why are older kids/teenagers great?” but the post in general is really about why having kids is a good thing. I think you read it and even commented on it, but this is a good time to read it again, I think. 😉

    http://bethanyactually.com/love-to-the-power-of-awesome/

  14. Also, I wanted to say that it really bugs me when parents say things like, “Enjoy sleep while you can, you won’t sleep again for 18 years, hahahaha!” SO NOT HELPFUL. So I will add that yeah, you do lose sleep for a while, and the first few months can be disorienting and overwhelming even for those who don’t have PPD. But it *gets better.* After a few months, it gets better and easier, and then a few months after that, it gets better and easier still, and so on. Each stage has its own new challenges, of course, but also new joys. And you will also have months and years of parenting experience under your belt by then, and it won’t seem quite so daunting.

  15. Congrats Jill!

    Two things that came to mind while reading your post. First, a bit of advice – a mantra: Happy Mommy, happy baby. People will have their opinions on everything pertaining to your baby, solicited or not. Take politics, others’ feelings, and guilt out of the equation when making decisions for your baby. If you want the mega expensive stroller and you can find someone to buy it for you or you can afford it yourself – get it! If you choose not to breastfeed, you are not a terrible person. And if you don’t buy the popular gas-free, bpa-free, whatever is hot at the moment-free bottles, you are not a terrible person. What you choose for your baby should be based on what makes your life easiest so that you can be the best mom you can be. (I am sure others will feel differently, but had someone given me this advice, my first baby experience would have been more enjoyable).

    Second, it’s not advice, more of a saying that I felt about life and something to think about. Here goes: “Before children I had a life but no purpose, and after having children, I have no life but I have purpose.” Yes babies keep you up and make you pay $10 extra an hour to go to a movie, but they bring joy and love and purpose. I hope your bundle does the same for you. My baby turned 9 yesterday and my big boy turns 12 in 2 months. Time is flying, enjoy your pregnancy, your baby and your journey into the world of motherhood 🙂

  16. Adding my two cents to the great comments so far. I don’t know how to answer succinctly because there are so many great things about being a parent. So, I will list a few that come to mind.

    The first belly laugh, watching a toddler dance to “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” or singing along to YOUR radio station (sometimes a little frightening depending on the song). Think “It’s a quarter after one, I’m a little drunk and I need you now” sung at the top of a 5 yr old’s lungs.

    I also love watching my kids interact with other children..are they compassionate, the jokester, the athlete, the leader, etc. (and the proud mommy moments that come from those quiet observations that you can’t post on FB because sometimes it makes the other moms mad)

    The many times your baby will look at you with a smile and a look that says, “Hi, I know you’re my mom and you’re freaking awesome.” (Loving the Hi-ya story from Kate.)

    Watching your 9 yr old finish his first race (and perhaps you (my husband in my case) run beside him to coach and encourage) and at the finish line have him exclaim that even though he didn’t finish first, he had a blast and can’t wait for the next race.

    You will be amazed at how much you love the little pup and much of the reason you doubt is because you’ve never experienced love like you will with your baby.

    In the end, yeah, vomit sucks. No matter how you look at it. But those times are few and far between and eventually they do learn to make it to the bathroom (silver lining!). 🙂

  17. disclaimer: clearly i am not a parent.

    with all the health stuff i am going thru lately, my parents have wondered if it stems all the way back to my mom’s pregnancy and if she was more stressed than normal — work, it being her 2nd pregnancy, one toddler already to take care of, etc. so i definitely echo the comment above about trying to be as peaceful and happy as possible! no point in dwelling on the bad things (as you seemed to kind of mention above with everyone only ever talking the negatives). i know you want a happy, healthy child!

    things i think would be cool about parenting:
    1) looking at your baby and thinking “i made him/her” (well, with husband of course).
    2) watching them learn things – first words, first steps, stuff you teach them like math (homework help) or riding a bike. you get to have such a huge influence on one human being’s life
    3) having your own comedian – since “kids say the darndest things”
    4) being the “coolest person ever” to them. at least until they hit 13 anyway 🙂
    5) as much as i don’t think i want kids, sometimes i do imagine josh interacting with a kid — teaching them sports and stuff. i think watching your husband with the baby/child as it grows up would be sweet.

  18. Well, as someone who hsa been trying to conceive for over two years, I believe that when i do have a little one I will be able to get through the “hard” things with more of a smile than some because it will have taken me so long to get there. I can imagine (becuse I have experienced it with my nephew) that one little sentence can wash all that negativity away. Example: I told my nephew you I loved him and he answered, “I love you as much as God loves you.” Awwwww!

  19. I was just now out on a bike ride with my kids. They’re 12 and 9, one of each sex. I had a shit-eating grin on my face the entire time. I will never, ever regret having them. They’re fun, they’re sweet, they’re beautiful, the things they think and say and how they look at the world makes me want to be a better person. Being a Mom is the single most important thing I will EVER do in my life. I would never give them back, not for more sleep, more down-time… nothing. Having kids shows you what it is to truly love another person, with no expectations. It’s a heart wide-open experience, and it only gets better. Even when it gets harder. The lines around my face and the gray hair and the fact that I have “belly skin” even though I’m completely toned doesn’t matter at all to me. I have them.

  20. I am not going to lie, being a parent is tough. My kids are almost 16 and 9. It is the hardest job I have ever done. Why? Because it is also the most important. I am responsible for raising 2 amazing individuals.

    It is like having your heart walking around outside your body – it is such an amazing experience. There is nothing like hearing “I love you, mommy” for the first time or cuddling with your baby, toddler or child.

    There are days where I want to rip my hair out of my head, but the good days absolutely outweigh the bad.

    Kim

  21. My little girl is only two right now but there are so many positives. People sometimes ask me what has been my favorite stage of development for my daughter and I always answer, “The one she’s in right now!” And it’s the truth. Every stage has it’s ups and downs but they are all peppered with multifaceted excitement of new developments for them – I find it hard to see the negatives. Granted – she is two – and she is BAD somedays but the good far outweighs the bad. I love that she loves to love on me. I love that I bring her comfort and friendship b/c she brings me so much more.

  22. Being a parent gives me a purpose in life. It gives me joy and teaches me to love.

    Random things I like about it in no particular order:

    1- Listening to my kids play with other kids and being proud of who they are becoming
    2- Belly laughs!
    3- Watching them do something with ease that they worked really, really hard to learn (ie riding a bike, reading, playing an instrument)
    4- Reading with my kids (Trying Green Eggs and Ham, or climbing the Magic Tree House or discovering the world of Harry Potter for the first time)
    5- Playing games with my kids and watching them execute complex strategies
    6- watching my kids dance: their pure, uninhibited joy!
    7- Dancing with them
    8- Discussions: now that they are getting older we have had some really great discussions on what kind of people they want to be and what they want to do with their lives, religion, politics, music, love, etc.
    9- Sharing inside family jokes
    10- watching them taste ice cream for the first time
    11- “Mom, I love you.”
    12- Mother’s Day cards with stick figures and words spelled wrong
    13- Watching my kids love each other
    14- Watching my kids run to the door yelling, “Dad’s home!” and falling in love with Dan all over again.
    15- piano/violin recitals
    16- band concerts
    17- watching them discover the natural world around them
    18- taking them to the zoo
    19- crying with them when they need to cry and then having them thank you for it
    20- knowing that somehow you are making the world a better place, at least in your little corner
    21- From the 6 year old: “No, Mom, I don’t want to race. I just ride my bike for the joy.”

    Come on, how can you not love that?!? No, it’s not all roses and snuggles and love, but it’s by far the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life and I wouldn’t trade it for all the races, raises, awards, freedom, or money in the world! 🙂

    And yes, I still run, I still read books just for pleasure, I still sometimes take long bubble baths, I still go out with my friends, Dan and I still have date night, we still travel, we still camp, we still live and we love it!

  23. Positive…cuddling with your child, sweet little kisses and hugs, learning to see and lo e life through somebody else’s eyes (I’ve learned to find joy and appreciation in things I overlooked before), sometimes an excuse to get out of things (boring meetings, etc), watching myself grow stronger than I ever imagined, and I’m just a better person in general since I’ve become a mom…less selfish, too

  24. Training with a jogging stroller is great! You have a place to put your water and Clif Bloks and it makes running without a stroller seem super easy! You can still do everything you did pre-kid, it just takes longer to prepare. Once the kid is 6 months, you will absolutely love the amount of things you can actually see them learning. It’s awesome. You may actually run faster post birth!!! I sure do:). Kids are hard work (I was a Marine for 7 years, deployed twice and this is definitely harder, but it is also rewarding. Just make sure you don’t forget about who YOU are in all this. I have my running to balance me out and it sounds like you will too. All these changes suck. I never had a pregnant glow and I ended up having a 10 pound baby via c-section. That sucked and getting back in shape was hard, but when the baby is fussy and you’ve tried everything, you eventually end up resorting to putting her in the stroller and gaining sanity through a short or long run. Trust me, it’s not ALL bad!

  25. Ditto to what they all said, and another good thing is when your kids make you laugh. Oh, and when they’re old enough to do the grocery shopping for you — Just kidding, sort of. 🙂

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