There’s so much to do when it comes to being a first-time parent. All the information coming at you some days can seem so overwhelming! You’ve set up your registry, you’ve toured the hospital, you’ve even read a few books. But for me, there were so many things I wasn’t prepared for after I had my first daughter. So I decided to recruit some of my girlfriends and these are the top 10 things we came up with that no one warned us about becoming a mom.
You bleed for like 2-3 weeks postpartum.
Maybe I was the only one that had this misconception but in my mind, once I gave birth I thought the brutality was over. I had no idea that once I got home I would be changing not only my newborn’s diapers but my own! Stock up on those good mesh hospital panties ladies, you’ll need ’em. In case your friends didn’t give you the heads up, here it is. DO NOT look down there for at least 2-3 weeks. Just don’t. You’re welcome.
You will cry… like all the time.
Because you’re happy, sad, overwhelmed, nervous, tired. Sometimes you’ll cry and you won’t even know why. Suddenly mascara is streaming down your face and you can’t breathe and your husbands looking at you as if you’ve just escaped the psych ward. Totally normal.
Hemorrhoids are real, they don’t discriminate, and they can happen to you.
Mom guilt is a real thing.
You will beat yourself up over every decision you have to make basically for the next 18 years.
Breastfeeding does not come naturally to everyone.
In fact (for me) there’s nothing natural about it. With my first daughter, I was so thrown off with how awkward the whole thing felt. She wouldn’t latch, I couldn’t produce, it was messy, I constantly smelled like a sweat lodge, I didn’t know when to pump or when to nurse, if I did pump I didn’t know for how long or how frequently. My second child has been a different story entirely (nursing has been a breeze!) but it’s still so much work and truly is a full-time job.
Everyone has an opinion.
As if navigating through this parenting jungle wasn’t hard enough it seems everyone has an opinion on what you could be doing better. Whether it’s vaccinations, co-sleeping, returning to work, staying home, sleep training, breastfeeding, bottle feeding, formula feeding, homemade baby food, store-bought baby food, cloth diapers, disposable diapers … you fricken’ name it and someone will find a way to make you feel wrong about it.
People take the topic of vaccines very seriously.
Bring up vaccinations and you might as well be talking about religion and politics over Christmas dinner with your in-laws. Brace yourselves.
Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re on an island.
Being a new mom can feel extremely isolating. For most of us, we go from working and socializing full time to being confined to the same four walls day after day. Suddenly you’re thrust into this new role of caretaker and all you have for socializing is this tiny little human who can only communicate their wants and needs via high pitch death scream. It’s important to know everyone feels this way and there are so many mom groups you can turn to for help and support. Surrounding yourself with a tribe of moms you can reach out to, can make the world of difference. Even if it’s just communicating via text or through social media, moms need each other and I guarantee there’s someone feeling exactly how you do right now.
Your marriage will take a back seat.
And by back seat, I mean like the small trunk space in the back of a 12 passenger van. This for me was perhaps the most surprising thing that no one seemed to mention. (But go figure was the most common answer from all my girlfriends!) You and your spouse just went through one of the most life-changing, intimate experiences together. They hand you this new baby and you look up at each other with this glimmer in your eye because the two of you have just been given the most magical gift you could ever ask for. I call this the “honeymoon” phase of parenting. Over the next few days, maybe even weeks you’re in this beautiful bubble with your new family. You take turns feeding the baby at night, you change diapers together, you’re thrilled to be giving the baby a bath for the first time. Then the adrenaline wears off and the sleep deprivation kicks in and you realize your body hurts because you’re out of pain meds. This is when things can get ugly.
Suddenly you feel this overwhelming sense of responsibility and resentment. The help at night trickles off, the diaper changes start to feel like a never-ending chore, and bath time is more of a hassle than it should be. You’re insecure about your new mom body, your boobs hurt in a way that’s impossible to put into words, the babies screaming at 4am and you now have to put said boobs to work. All while your spouse is sound asleep next to you without a care in the world. Remember that island I was talking about? This is it. Even with your spouse four feet from you in the same bed, motherhood can feel extremely lonely. ALSO, this is the part of your marriage when even the sound of their breathing at night is enough to make you start plotting their murder. (Joking! Sort of…)
The good news is once the hormones wear off and your sleep schedule starts to normalize, you will come back to each other. It takes work and patience but it’s important to remember it’s a partnership and raising a baby is no joke! You need your spouse!
Something everyone will tell you but you don’t anticipate how true it is.
Being a mom and having a baby is truly a love you’ve never experienced before. It doesn’t always happen right away so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel an instant connection to your new baby. But the saying “I love you so much it hurts” that’s a real thing! Once you become a parent you now realize how much you have to loose. Your new relationship revolves around a never-ending pile of diapers and feedings but it also comes with an insane amount of love.
What are some things you didn’t anticipate when you became a new parent? Leave your answer in the comments below!