The moment you found out that you were going to be bringing another little one into the world was the best day of your life. You wept tears of happiness, your partner was stunned into a panic, and it was a mammoth task keeping your pregnancy a secret from friends up until the twelve-week scan. You had visions of you and your partner sharing the feeding duties, changing diapers and getting up in the night to soothe your baby. Now your new little of bundle of joy has arrived and you are learning that the perfect family idyll is not quite as you thought it might be. Learning on the job is very much the order of the day. Nothing and no one can prepare you for the major shift in lifestyle that another tiny human being can cause. There’s also a ridiculous amount of stuff that you hadn’t even thought of pre-birth that no one cared to mention to you. Well-meaning friends and family kept telling you ominously that it will ‘all be worth it in the end.’ Now you’re beginning to understand a little more about what they meant. Take a look at these five things they don’t tell you before having a baby and discover how you can overcome them.
People mention the baby blues in passing when talking to friends or play date pals, but unless you’ve experienced these colorful emotions yourself, you may underestimate the extremity of them. You may be taking a blissful moment to watch your newborn sleeping when all of a sudden a dark cloud descends, and you’re wailing like a banshee wondering how you could have ruined your life by having a baby. Fortunately, these emotions pass, and it’s just your body’s weird way of seeking a hormone rebalance. With a supportive partner and understanding friends and family, you will eventually find your equilibrium.
You may get home from the hospital after having your baby and have a mini nervous breakdown. The sudden realization that your life will never be the same again and that you are responsible for another human being can be overwhelming. Don’t worry, it will pass. And if it doesn’t and you feel like your emotions are signaling something deeper or more worrying, speak to a professional. You aren’t alone.
If prior to the birth of your little one you were a crazy tidy freak who relished any chance to whip out the bleach and Hoover and go on a cleaning rampage through your home, think again if you think that your life will ever be the same again. You adored the space in your house, the clean lines, and the minimalist decor. It will be another eighteen years before you see something similar to that again. Your life will become dominated by an overflowing sink of dishes, a never-ending amount of toys strewn across your newly varnished parquet floors and baby bottles in places you never knew existed in your home. And the strange thing is that you will go beyond caring. Your thought processes will shift so much that your single most important motivation in life will be the wellbeing of your child. So what if you haven't done the laundry in a couple of days. You have a baby now. This is your new life.
What Other People Think
Remember when you didn’t have a baby and you used to look at the way other people parented their children and you always thought you wouldn’t do it like that. Now you are beginning to realize why they parented like that. It’s easy to park your baby in front of the TV while you have five minutes rest bite. Parenting is a tough job without breaks, so you need to grasp them when you can.
Some judgemental folk may stare and gently tut should you breastfeed your baby in public. The lioness in you may want to roar back and justify yourself, but you don’t have to. It’s your right to feed your child. However, if you’d prefer an alternative, you could find a formula to use to supplement your breast milk. Plenty of research now suggests that bottle fed babies, given the most appropriate formula, grow up strong and healthy. You aren’t relinquishing breast feeding, but as time goes on and you can’t express as much milk, it may be time to reach for the bottle.
Books Don’t Have All The Answers
Were you one of those pregnant women that bought every bestselling baby book and read them from cover to cover? What a waste of money that was! Books cannot teach you how to parent. You can only treat these books as the vaguest of guides when it comes to parenting. Your baby is unique and special, and no ‘one size fits all’ parenting manual can teach you what is best for your child. As a mom, you’ll learn on the job and figure out pretty quickly your child’s likes and dislikes, their routines and their comforts.
You will experience love like never before. You will unconditionally love your child, and your child will love you right back. They will crave your attention, thrive on your expression of emotion, latch onto your hugs and kisses. You will be at the head of their support network, fighting their corner through thick and thin. You’ll be there when they take their first steps, say their first word, have their first day at school, lose their first tooth, pass their exams, drive their first car and experience the heartache of breaking up with a first love. Your unconditional love will craft them into the compassionate and brilliant human being that they will become. You'll look back in twenty years time and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
Being a mom is daunting and scary yet also a wonderful thing. The path to parenthood is an unbelievable rollercoaster, but it’s a ride you wouldn’t swap for anything.