True: Pregnancy and parenting are beautiful! Also true: Pregnancy and parenting are a hot mess. Line Severinsen, artist, and mother, decided to tackle these two truths head-on and has been illustrating her journey through pregnancy and parenting ever since.
Her illustrations are laugh-out-loud funny, especially if you’re currently parenting kids or ever have. For every post you see on Instagram that shows a mom serenely nursing her infant or that features a 9-month-old holding her own bottle like a champ, there are probably approximately 4 million posts that show the reality of parenting: It’s not picture-perfect.
That’s what makes Line’s illustrations particularly perfect: She’s representing all the parts of parenthood that we don’t always talk about. Like when your breast milk leaks out of your shirt in public, or when you’re traveling solo with your kids and have no idea how your luggage will get from point A to point B, or when you finally (finally!) carve out some alone time for work or a just-because project and promptly pass out at the table. All real! All hilarious.
Babies are scary when you think about it
I think every person I’ve ever known was, at one point or another, totally freaked out by their own pregnancy. I mean, I was freaked out by my pregnancy several times throughout the experience, but there was always one circumstance that really freaked me out: When my kid would perform what felt like Olympics-level gymnastics in my womb. It gets especially freaky when you can make out tiny hands and feet attempting to extend outside of your body.
Tick … tick … tick …
Along those same lines, pregnancy definitely can feel like a veritable time bomb, due to going off any second — right inside your body. I mean, hello! That’s super weird when you think about it. You can be really happy about being pregnant but also really nervous about what will happen.
How will your birth go? Will your baby be OK? Will you be OK? Is life going to change? (Yes.)
Pregnancy has its perks!
Listen: There is nothing quite like a pregnant belly for balancing any number of things. Snacks and small meals are often at the top of many people’s lists, and for good reason. It’s so convenient to be able to watch your show and have your snack right there, where you don’t have to try to awkwardly lean over and pick it up.
Pregnancy also has its pitfalls
However, there are true pitfalls to pregnancy, like having a hard time navigating life as a person who is growing another person inside her own body. As you can see here, parking lots can be a real challenge. It’s something you don’t really think about before you experience it, but once it’s in your face, you don’t forget it.
We always joke that it took about a year for our oldest dog to warm up to our son, but the funny thing is really that it’s not a joke. We had our dog for a year before our son was born, and she was clearly used to being the Star of the Family. When our son came along like thunder, a full two months before his due date, he quickly stole her spot.
She eventually warmed up to him, but only after realizing that her own gymnastics wouldn’t be enough.
After the baby comes, everyone hates you
OK, I don’t really think that everyone hates people with babies, but it can certainly feel like it. It seems that, sometimes, we forget that babies (and children) are humans, too. And as humans, they need to do the same things we all do, like eating.
And as babies, they are sometimes breastfed, and that means that you might have to deal with seeing a mom feed her own baby in public. You’ll be OK! But the mom that you shame with your condemning look might carry that memory with her forever. Think about it.
Your body is not your own
For me, sharing my body during pregnancy and after was one of the more mind-boggling parts of the experience. You understand that you will have to do this, particularly as the baby grows inside your womb, but the reality is something that you can’t prepare for. You live it out.
And then the baby is born, and all of a sudden your body is lashing out in all kinds of new and strange ways! If you’re breastfeeding your baby, be prepared for that whole process to seriously wreck a few of your plans (and tops).
You will probably fall apart
This probably won’t be an all-the-time thing, but it will definitely happen. There will be at least one, but probably several, times during which you, the baby, and your partner are all a mess and covered in a mixture of drool, vomit, tears, and pain. You will be frantic, and you will be totally messed up.
It’s OK: Lean into those tears. You’ve earned them.
Must keep baby safe at all times
Oh man, there is nothing like parenting a kid in the 2000s to make you totally terrified to ever let your kid encounter any kind of pain or danger, ever. The news is filled with stories of parents who somehow set their kids up for a literal fall. Every parent you will ever know has a sad story about the day their baby fell off the couch or they bumped the baby’s head against the thermostat while dancing down the hallway (me!).
It sucks! But it happens.
“Sleep when the baby sleeps” is a joke
One bit of advice you’ll get from Everyone You Have Ever Known is to sleep when the baby sleeps. As if it’s that easy! If the baby is napping, you might have like a million other home-related things to take care of. You might work from home and need to use that precious 45 minutes for work.
But if your baby prefers to sleep right on top of your body (and so many of them do), the idea of sleeping when the baby sleeps takes on a whole new dimension of impossibility. Bless.