June 8, 2011 at 9:48 AM ET
Every first-time expectant mom has her own fears about childbirth. For the gal who wants a natural birth, it may be a fear of having to be induced. For the lady whose birth plan consists of just the word "EPIDURAL!" in a 72-point, red, bold font, it may be the fear that the anesthesiologist won't greet her at the hospital door. For me, it was the fear that I'd accidentally poop while pushing. Could anything be more humiliating in a room full of people?
Flash forward a few years and that fear seems like a quaint notion. Now, the emptying of both bladder and bowels is routinely a family affair. The once strict closed-door policy has evolved into a veritable meet-and-greet for the entire household. Sure, I can read you a book right now. Oh, you want to practice flushing the toilet while I'm on here? Yes, dog, now would be a lovely time for you to nuzzle into my lap.
If only that was as gross as my life has become. Pre-kids, I knew to expect spit-up and stinky diapers as part of motherhood. What I wasn't prepared for was the time the contents of the diaper leaked down into my cleavage.
Then there was the time a few months ago when my toddler son had a horrible case of the flu. Out of Pedialyte, I'd given him Fruit Punch Gatorade instead. The little guy felt so rotten I couldn't put him down for a second, not even to use the bathroom. So, I held him while I took care of business.
Of course he threw up on me -- bright, red Gatorade. I now know the reason parents buy Pedialyte rather than Gatorade is because of its lack of food coloring, which means your once-private areas won't be dyed the color of Bozo the Clown's hair after your kid pukes on them. How's that for a marketing campaign?
Along with some of the more horrifyingly gross tales I can now boast in a mommy-off, I've experienced a fair amount of the garden-variety grossities as well. You know, the everyday nasty stuff moms encounter, while rarely giving it a second thought. "No tissue handy? No problem, the hem of this shirt will wipe that runny nose nicely. "Why yes, I would love to come in the bathroom and admire your latest defecation. You're right, it is both big and exciting. High five!" These everyday occurrences would have once disgusted me. Now they're just part of the daily routine.
My own mother delights in these experiences to no end. "You used to be soo squeamish and now look at what you do - all of the time! Ha ha ha!"
When I think about the yucks I deal with on a daily basis, I don't know whether to be proud that I've overcome my once-sensitive gag-reflex, or depressed that my life's literally so crappy now, that I was only moderately horrified when the dog voluntarily used his tongue as a baby wipe for my daughter when I was changing her diaper. I guess the desensitization of ick is just one of motherhood's survival techniques.
Middle school boys may be the ones who love all things gross but us moms, while we may not love it, we live it. I know I'm not the only mother out there who's been dealt a gross hand. One of my friends once asked: "Does this spit up go with these shoes?" Why yes it does, and way to accessorize!
What about you -- what gross things are just part of your daily existence now that would have horrified your former, childless self?
Dana Macario is a TODAY Moms contributor and Seattle mom to two sleep-depriving toddlers. She is currently developing an alarm clock that will start an IV coffee drip 10 minutes prior to wake-up time. Once properly caffeinated, she also blogs at www.18years2life.com.