I have been a mother for a little over two weeks now. This is the same amount of time that I have been bereft of even the tiniest shred of human dignity. This is not a coincidence.
Before I went into labor, I had all sorts of notions about what I would and wouldn’t do, say, think, and expose during the birthing process. Once hour 16 hit, I had thrown all of my rules out the hospital window—not an easy task considering they’re sealed from the inside. I changed my birth plan to include my sister in the delivery room. (Thank the Lord I did!) I didn’t bother covering up much during trips to the bathroom, and when the time finally came to get the little guy out, having ten strangers peering down below didn’t make me bat an eye. (It did, however, make me question their sanity.)
After it was all over, I thought maybe my dignity had taken a temporary backseat—a result of some sort of pain-induced madness. I was wrong. It hasn’t been back since.
While there have been brief moments during my hospital stay and since coming home with baby that I have attempted to keep up with my pre-baby standards—putting myself and my house in Leave It to Beaver-esque order for the sake of visitors—those episodes have been short lived.
Now, I’m happy if I’m fully clothed when folks arrive. (For the record, wearing a nursing gown totally counts as “fully clothed,” and a pony tail is a legitimate form of ”doing your hair.”)
Because I was THAT kid who cried when they got an A-minus rather than an A in grade school all the way to college, this shifting of standards has come as a small surprise to say the least. It’s also been a blessing in disguise. Being a mother is a tough enough job on its own. Imposing a set of appearance-centric standards on yourself—standards, by the way, which no one but you cares about—would make it, if not impossible, a heck of a lot harder.
I may have lost my dignity in that labor room, but my mother’s intuition tells me it’s somewhere keeping my lofty standards company, and, at least for now, I’m totally okay with that.