Whether posted on social media, sent as a mailed card, or published in a newspaper, a baby's birth announcement is a felicitous signal to the rest of the world that after a tedious and sometimes stressful wait, your little one is here and you're ready for the adventure to begin. Truthfully, with few exceptions they're all pretty much the same. It's the baby's name, weight, length, accompanied by a picture, maybe an inspirational quote, and a message from the parents talking about their joy. But what would a birth announcement say if it was completely honest? So, so much more.
Let's face it; birth and the earliest days of parenting a newborn are not everything the impeccably designed birth announcements — with their pastels and artfully whimsical fonts and retouched professional photography — would lead us to believe. Honestly, that's fine, because if we were too honest about it no one would ever try to get pregnant again. Besides, sometimes glazing over the details paints a more important and in some ways more accurate picture of how we feel overall than relating the nitty gritty ever could. More often than not, it's not the sleeplessness and labor pains we remember most vividly, but how full of love we felt in those moments and despite the numerous hardships.
Still, even though the warm and fuzzy feelings every parent of a newborn feels is real, there's no denying that birth announcements are almost laughably incomplete. If they were completely and 100 percent honest, they'd look a little something like this...
"We Know The Baby Looks Squished And Pretty Much Like Any Other Baby Ever At This Point"
Don't get us wrong: we think this baby is the most beautiful thing we have ever seen in our lives, at least on an emotional level. However, we're not blind. This kid had a rough trip out of the birth canal and it shows.
Their head is comically conical. One ear is, like, folded in on itself like an floaty toy that hasn't been inflated all the way. On top of that, all babies look pretty much the same anyway. Oh, we will continue to swoon and we expect you to gush all over every picture we post to social media, but know that we know this is largely ceremonial gushing on your part (and we appreciate it). Also, it took our photographer about an hour to get this one particular shot and we want to believe it was worth the effort.
"That Birth Class Was Useless"
Oh, really? I'm supposed to breathe? Like, what were the odds I was going to stop breathing all together? Eventually I was going to start back up again and if I didn't, we would have had a much bigger problem on our hands that I'm pretty sure no birth class can really help with. Look, it's lovely that some people get a lot out of their birth class. We did not. We sincerely doubt we're alone in this and we resent a whole lot of you for not telling us before we spent that $350.
"I Pooped While Pushing. Ask Me If I Care."
Despite this being mom's biggest fear pre-birth, discussed at length with her OB, therapist, all her friends, and her partner, when it happened she could not have cared less. If anything, she felt pretty accomplished that something came out of her after all that pushing.
"The Birth Plan Was Ripped Up, Set On Fire, And Shall Never Be Spoken Of Ever Again"
We encourage everyone to live their best life and do what's best for them. Our birth plan was not conducive to us living our best life.
Here is what we will say on the issue: its specificity and rigidity was, we admit, naive and at times misguided.
Here is what we will not say: we will not talk about the playlist we included (so much Adele), or the shaman we wanted called at the beginning of active labor (she was not called). We will certainly not be discussing certain, emphatically worded pain management "commandments" that were all thrown out the window within 45 minutes of admission.
Henceforth, anyone who brings up the birth plan ever again shall be shunned, and baby snuggling privileges shall be revoked or withheld.
"My Partner Is Haunted By What They Saw Happen To My Vajay, But They're A Trooper And Will Eventually Be Fine"
It was like a Tarantino movie and they had a front row seat. We are having a lot of discussions about feelings and the resilience and elasticity of the vagina. We're going to get through this.
"Approximately 97% Of Everything Brought In The Meticulously Planned Out Hospital Bag Went Untouched"
When the hell did we think we were going to have time to use the massage oil? Or finally start reading Infinite Jest? And why did we pack 27 different outfits? It was birth, not a Lady Gaga concert; ain't nobody got time for multiple costume changes. Oh and mom's going home outfit? The white dress? Great idea when you're still gushing blood and wearing a phone book-sized pad.
"Never Let Anyone Tell You Labor Is Just 'Pressure,' Because That Sh*t HURT"
Birth class teacher, we're looking squarely at you, you lying liar.
"There Is No Garment On Earth More Comfortable Or Useful Than Mesh Panties"
For real, any of y'all going for a baby any time soon and wondering what sort of underwear the birthing parent should bring with them to the hospital or birth center: don't even bother. Just nab a billion pairs of those hideous mesh underwear that make your nethers look like a mummy (which makes sense, because everything down there feels dead for a while). They're fantastic, if ephemeral, and you should just plan on wearing those for as long as humanly possible.
"We Stole A College Tuition's Worth Of Diapers From The Nurse's Station"
They were just there. Besides, one of the cool nurses told us to take as many as we could and we were not shy about taking her up on it. Also, do you have any idea how expensive diapers are or how much a newborn pees and poops? Speaking of which.
"The Baby's First Poop At The Hospital Was Like Something Out Of A Horror Movie"
Like you know in horror movies where this thick black goo spills out of people's mouths or eyes or whatever else in a supernatural manner? That's basically what meconium poop looks like. If you don't know what meconium poop is or looks like, don't look it up. It will haunt your dreams, as it does ours. You will toss and turn wondering how such a hideous, tar-like substance could come out of your child. You wonder if there is something evil inside of them. You will worry you are all damned.
"Breastfeeding Is As Confusing And Awful As The Most Complicated, Nonsensical Season Of Lost"
Anyone who says breastfeeding is "the most natural thing in the world" can bite our collective ass. You'd think it's pretty straightforward, but no. Neither of us knows what we're doing or how to help and the baby certainly isn't contributing to our goal which is like, "Umm... you're the baby; this is one of, like, three things you're supposed to know how to do. Could you work with us?" But questions lead to more questions.
"Too Many People Came To Visit And Stayed Too Long"
We get it, you want to come fawn over our admittedly average-looking baby who can only really sleep and make horrifying poops (and can't even eat properly yet), but we're really just trying to rest and get our sh*t together. We'd appreciate your giving us time and space to do that. So, for real; pretend you're a vampire and do not enter our house unless you're invited.
"We're Including The Birth Weight But Why Do You Even Care?"
Seriously, why? Why is this a thing? Do you want to know how long you'd have to cook it for or something? Please don't cook our baby. We like our baby. In fact, we do have the sudden urge to chew on our baby's adorable little cheeks. But, no, we do not want to eat our baby.
"The Baby Is Not The Only One Crapping Their Pants. We Are Legit Terrified."
We're smiling, but we assure you we are screaming internally. Like, we sort of can't believe the hospital is just letting us waltz out of here with this kid without once checking our credentials. (Spoilers, btw: we have no credentials. Literally none.)
"We're All In Love And So Happy To Be A Family"
It really is pretty amazing. Honestly.