Having a baby is often compared to getting married, and I guess, if you twist my arm, I can acknowledge that this kinda makes sense. I mean, both involve pastel gift bags and tissue paper, both are preceded by a shower (why don’t we just call it a party? Seriously?) and both kick-off what is intended to be a lifelong relationship. But, I actually think that there’s another major milestone that might be even more like having a baby than getting married. It’s an event that you spend most of your early years longing for. You countdown to it, plan for it, and daydream about what your life will be like afterward. And no, I’m not just talking about the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I’m talking about graduating.
College, high school, beauty school, boot camp...whatever. Any formal graduation counts. Although I guess any graduations before high school don’t because, as cute as they are, they do not come with the same level of hype. Unless you’re a household that really values that Preschool to Kindergarten transition, in which case, you probably have a lot of insanely adorable photos at home, and I'm not here to dim your shine. But for the rest of us, here’s just a sampling of how graduation and birth are actually more alike than we give them credit for:
So. Much. Build-Up.
With giving birth, it's at least 40 weeks of build-up, and often more, depending on how much planning for the pregnancy was involved. With graduation, it's at least four years. That is a long damn time to wait for one day to arrive.
Graduation robes, hospital gowns... Both are worn on some of the most important days ever, and both can feel like a tissue paper Snuggie.
Your Loved Ones Are Super Psyched Too
Everyone other than me, I mean. I was that weird kid who totally cried when my older brother graduated, because I was sad that it meant he'd be moving out. But for everyone not as tragically dorky as I am, graduation — much like the birth of a new baby — is generally a cause for massive celebration among family members and friends.
Balloons! Cards! Presents!
What kind of celebration would it be without temporary decorations?
You Spend Way More Time Thinking About It Than Actually Experiencing It
Birth can be anything from a few minutes to a few days. Commencement? Yeah, that can take a long-ass while to get through. But still, neither is as long as the hundreds and bajillions of hours spent prepping.
All The Sentimental Photos
The "proud grad" pose, and the "tired new mom holding baby in hospital bed" pose are both modern-day classics, and yes, you have to take them or your mother will cry. Do not make your mother cry today of all days.
When It's In Front Of You, It's All You Can Think About. When It's Behind You, You're So Over It.
Especially in the final days and weeks leading up to it. The final trimester is one giant case of senioritis: you're so over it and so ready for what comes next. When you cross that threshold, there's no looking back.
You Stress Out About Something Going Wrong
Granted, tripping on stage would be awful, but not quite as awful as some of what can go wrong during birth...still, you worry. You assume everything will go fine, but there's always that nagging thought in the back of your mind that something will go exceptionally wrong with how you, in particular, handle these events which most other people sail through with relative ease. There's the tiny concern that you'll be the one to trip and get a bloody nose onstage, or not just poop on the table, but like, poop everywhere, more than anyone has ever pooped during labor, dear God.
You Form A Bond With Those Experiencing It With You
Fellow moms of kids around my son's age, you guys totally know what I mean. (I didn't even have to explain! You just know. Because of our bond.)
Childbirth is next-level exhausting, don't get me wrong, but that doesn't mean that all the ceremony and partying surrounding graduation doesn't count too. And if your school did an all-nighter like mine did? You, my friend, can also claim sleep deprivation.
Afterwards, You're Faced With The Existential Question: "Now What?"
With both childbirth and graduation, there's an implication that you're supposed to have an idea of what happens next. But I don't know anyone who wasn't at least kinda figuring it out as they went. Either way, I'm sending hugs, high fives, fist bumps, and a donut pillow to anyone experiencing either of these major milestones in the near future. Don't let the expectations crush you; no one knows what exactly the other side will look like. And just take as many damn photos as your mom wants.