Prior to becoming pregnant, life was certainly different: I got more sleep. I ate whatever I wanted. I had some wine with dinner… and if “some” wine turned into a bottle of wine, it was just a sillier night. I got more sleep. I went on a vacation on a whim. I wasn’t legally responsible for the life of another human being (yes, I am legally bound to my husband… but I don’t think I could be put in jail for not feeding him. I cook for him of my own free will… and he’d better like it!) And yes, I got more sleep.
But in addition to the expected changes, there was another big transformation. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, it was as if a button were pressed in my brain where not only was it accepted, but it was expected that I discuss all of my personal business.
I have become no holds barred in divulging TMI to any and everyone. When I was just about four months pregnant, I was put on bed rest for six weeks due to a low-lying placenta. PBJ (no, not peanut butter and jelly, PreBaby-Jessica) would have been perfectly content to just tell everyone that I was put on bed rest for medical reasons. And yet, there I was, telling everyone from my parents to my middle-aged, childless male coworkers that I had a low-lying placenta. It’s like I would look for reasons to get the word placenta into conversation. ”What a nice summer breeze. It reminds me of my low-lying placenta.”
And then once I delivered my baby, I also gave birth to a whole new level of TMI. I must have hit some kind of a record with the amount of hours upon hours I have clocked discussing breastfeeding and pumping. I’m pretty sure everyone I’ve come in contact with in the last eight months can now picture every aspect of my boobs in their mind’s eye.
And poop. Oh, poop. Everyone within earshot could hear, in unabashed detail, about the size, shape, color, consistency, and frequency of my baby’s poop.
A few months back, when I found mucusy blood in my daughter’s diaper, I freaked. Once I regained my ability to speak, I had a discussion with the pediatrician and we determined it was probably allergies via my breastmilk. I felt guilty. I felt like I let my baby down. But I had to power through.
The doctor said that the best way to determine if it was in fact allergies was for me to cut out the most popular allergens for a few weeks (wheat, soy, dairy, and eggs) and then progressively add each one back into my diet and track my daughter’s reaction. After weeks of experimenting, we’ve learned that eggs and dairy are the culprits and instead of just saying that my daughter has allergies, I continually tell everyone about the blood in her diaper.
My TMI has turned into TMV: Too Much Visualization! Not only am I talking about pumping. But just the other night, there I sat, breast in hand, pumping on the couch in front of a couple we’d had over for dinner.
I’ve heard of dinner theater, but this was a whole new version of burlesque.
And it isn’t just my own verbal diarrhea, it is listening to the TMI of my fellow Mommies without a cringe or a grimace or a furrowed brow. I empathize with their depressed feeling of not wanting to look at their stretch marked bodies or finding clumps of hair in their hands as they shampoo. I await their resolution to what is causing their wee one to spit up 10 times a day. And I do want to know if they ended up throwing out the clothes their son was wearing when he had a massive blow out diaper.
So, why the TMI?
Well, I guess when your life revolves around being knee deep in poop diapers, you see your breasts going from objects of lust to deflated balloons, plus you’re just plain terrified about your child’s allergies, reflux, or your own low-lying placenta, all the while doing your best to constantly convince yourself that you’re doing the right thing for your child… the only way to cope is to talk about it, empathize, and swap stories.
Parenthood means that when it comes to our children, there may be no such thing as too much information, there is just the understanding that this is how we need to progress through this part of our lives.