...for me, it goes a little something like this:
1. Your water breaks. And the words, they come pouring out as though every major artery in your body (heart included) has just been swiftly and mercilessly slashed open. It's all kind of disgusting really, or would be if not for the fact that you're kind of excited because you're having a baby goddammit!
2. The birth commences. But you had to take public transit to the hospital during rush hour, and now that you're finally here, not one kind soul is being magnanimous enough to stab you in the ass with an epidural. Yep, this part fucking hurts.
3. Postpartum depression sets in. How on earth do you get this monster to go to sleep, or at the very least stop caterwauling at you for five minutes? You're approaching the beast from every angle, and it's deflecting your advances like a pro.
4. It is a screaming terror of a toddler, and there are moments, more frequent than not, wherein you believe that it is either you or it. Only one shall survive, and it's not looking like it's going to be you. You feel inefficient, paralyzed, and just about ready to put the thing up for adoption. Or kill it. There's always that option, too.
5. Alright, it's finally learning to talk and walk and is even starting kindergarten soon. Every day gets a little bit easier, and maybe you're learning to be good at this whole thing after all?
6. Ah, so this is why people do this. It's quite nice actually, having a little partner, a little consistency in the day, watching it grow into a more compact, recognizable version of yourself. You start to enjoy making it after-school snacks and tucking it into bed at night.
7. Nuh-uh. Wrong again. Did no one warn you about the terrible teens? It's become its own person, or so it thinks. Stays out too late with boys, talks back at you, is openly smoking cigarettes (and, you suspect, worse) and is its 'own woman', or so it thinks. Still lives under your roof though, and therefore your rules. Thems the breaks, kiddo.
7. Evil, evil teenage years. War of the wor[l]ds, every day. Where did it all go wrong? You need a vacation, from which you consider never returning. Or, once again, killing it. You brought it into the world, you can take it out. Right?
8. You can't help but sometimes marvel at what you've created, and the fact that, via some semblance of both a competence and will of your own, it's still alive. Holy shit! And really. It's quite beautiful, smarter than you usually give it credit for being, and objectively pretty damn cool. Still a pain in the ass sometimes, but who are you kidding? You love it to death.
9. The bittersweet day comes that it's accepted into college. You knew the time would come that it would fly the coop to go and become someone else's problem, and after all that you've been through, it's more than a little bit exciting. You'll see it on holidays and for the occasional visit when it needs money/attention/affection...but it's never going to be just the two of you again and you both know it.
10. "Hoorah! You're free! You're freeeeee!" chants a little voice in your head, over and over again. Yes, indeed. You are free. And you miss it terribly already. You sit back. You finally take that vacation. And you wish with all of your heart that it's being taken care of, that you taught it how to take care of itself, and that no harm comes to it. Ever, ever, ever.
1. No, I have never had a child. This is just what I imagine it's like.
2. I am currently somewhere around stage 8, occasionally reverting back to stage 7.
3. I think it's self-explanatory, but publisher/public = college/world.