When Alex and I went to our infant care class, we got a book from the hospital called "The Joy of Parenthood." I think the publishers should be a little pickier about their typesetters, 'cause I'm pretty sure the title was supposed to read, "The 'Joy' of Parenthood: The Myth Revealed," because the book is actually about the different ways that having an infant will ruin your life as you know it.
The very first page, after a perfunctory congratulations, assures you that it's perfectly alright and even normal to have exactly zero maternal affection toward your slimy, bald, bluish howler monkey. Page two holds this quote, which I am not making up: "You may find yourself crying and feeling like you are climbing this ladder of inadequacy higher and higher with every cry from your baby." (My question is: if I decide to take a header off of the inadequacy ladder, will the fall be enough to kill me quickly and painlessly?)
There are pages upon pages describing all the ways that your baby will be hideous and misshapen, and warning you not to throw it away, as there is at least a 50/50 chance that your baby will not be permanently coneheaded and crusty. This is followed by even more pages about silencing your infant's incessant shrieking, or barring that, coping mechanisms that will keep you from shaking the baby. From there it's a natural segue into the many ways to fail at breastfeeding, and then onto post-partum depression. Because really, by now, how could you be happy?
There is, however, chemical help! No, not the gin, although that will be awfully nice after nine months of teetotaling. We're talking about Oxytocin, the hormonal fairy dust that will make you love and care for your baby despite the fact that it looks like a blotchy pink Yoda. This magical product of the pituitary gland is apparently strong enough to make new parents genuinely happy! I can swear to the power of this stuff. I have been known to tear up during fabric softener and life insurance commercials. Um, and yogurt commercials. And at blank walls and silence. Okay, so maybe lately I've been mostly running around saying, "Baaaaaaaabyyyyyyyyyy! Oooooohhhh!" and then trying to snuggle the dog, who really just wants to nap and drool on the rug. Anyway, goo-covered or not, bring on the life-wrecking infant! The joy of parenthood doesn't scare me one bit.