Nobody wants to terrify a pregnant woman. Nobody, that is, except me. Sure, I’m all for sunny, rosy baby showers full of annoying games (not really) but at some point, we have to state the facts about early motherhood as they are. And some of those facts? Are terrifying.
Back when I was pregnant, I wish someone had given me a sneak peek into the not-so-good parts of first time motherhood – it would have saved me the horror of finding them out on my own. But like I said, nobody wants to terrify a pregnant woman.
Here is a list of things I wish somebody had told me when I was pregnant:
1. Your newborn girl will have her first period right after birth
First of all, calm down. This mini period is absolutely normal. It typically happens to baby girls about 2 or 3 days after birth and is caused by a withdrawal of hormones that she was exposed to while in utero. Trust me, when you see those drops of blood on her diaper, you. will. freak. out. I just about died when Ella had her mini-period. But, you can relax and breathe easy. It’s just a bit of spotting, it won’t last, and she won’t have another period for years to come.
2. Breastfeeding does not come “naturally”
Both you AND your baby will have to learn how to breastfeed. The learning curve is steep, the stakes are high and the pressure (you put on yourself) is intense. Some moms and babies have a tougher time than others. This myth that breastfeeding ‘just happens’ is the worst one of all because it makes new moms feel incompetent for not getting it right immediately. The truth is that in the beginning, breastfeeding is damn hard! So go easy on yourself as you and your baby learn, ok?
3. Your significant other will not measure up
You will have little to no patience with your partner during those first weeks. You’ll be exhausted, sleep deprived and short on loving tenderness because all of it will have been spent on your newborn. You will feel the need to constantly point out to him how much he DOES NOT understand how exhausted you are. But here’s the thing, he’s probably doing the best that he can. Manage your expectations and fight the urge to give him a good gonk on the head, especially if his thunderous snoring is the soundtrack to your life while you’re up breastfeeding at 3am.
4. Sometimes you will wish you didn’t have a baby
Another myth we need to do away with is that you’ll be on cloud nine all the time because you just had a baby and now your life is complete, yay! False. There will be moments when you won’t be able to remember the last time you had a good night’s sleep …when you miss being able to dash out of the house for lunch with a girlfriend…and when you don’t remember what your personality outside of nonstop baby-care is like. During those days, you will long for your pre-baby life. Those moments are (thankfully) fleeting. Don’t feel guilty – you know that you love your baby. You are just having a moment. We all have those moments. And we love our babies right through them!
5. You will feel helpless and inadequate
“Other moms have been able to do this so I must be completely useless for finding it so hard”. INCORRECT. Other moms found it hard too! We just don’t talk about it or ask for help from each other enough. We feel like we need to do it all on our own. Ella didn’t sleep for more than 2 hours at a go for the first 10 months of her life. To say that I was sleep-deprived during that first year is an understatement. And yet, not once did I ever ask for someone to watch her so that I could catch at least a 4 hour stretch of sleep. Not once. Why? Because I didn’t want to look the way I felt, helpless and inadequate. But the old adage is true – it takes a village to raise a child. Ask for help, advice, a shoulder to cry on, whatever! And take it when it’s offered.
Those are my top 5. Any others that I may have missed?