As expectant mamas, we spend 9 long not-so-glamorous months dreaming about what life will look like once baby arrives. That magical golden hour right after baby is born, warm snuggles in the afternoon, and of course that heavenly baby smell.
What we don’t dream about, and what no one tells you about, are the unexpected changes we go through as individuals and as families.
Here are 10 things about first-time motherhood that completely caught me off guard and totally kicked my butt.
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1. Complete Loss Of Focus
We’ve all heard of pregnancy brain, but almost as soon as I was ushered into motherhood, I found that I could NOT, for the life of me, remember anything or keep my attention on anything other than my baby for more that two minutes. I could no longer be held responsible for paying bills on time, thoroughly cleaning the house, or anything else that didn’t involve staring at my new precious bundle for hours on end.
2. My Relationship With My Husband Changed
I never considered myself an extremely patient person, but once my baby arrived, I found I had absolutely ZERO patience with my husband (bless his heart). The poor man couldn’t eat applesauce without me complaining that his chewing was too loud and would surely wake the baby.
3. Google Is A Mean, Mean Friend
We live in the 21st century with the answers to anything we want, anytime, anywhere – thanks to Google, amiright? WRONG. As a new mama, I quickly realized I knew nothing about keeping a human alive. Approximately 183 times a day, I would find myself turning to the Almighty Google in search of answers. How many times a day should I feed my newborn? Is is okay to hold my baby all the time? What color should his poop be? How tight is “too tight” for a diaper? I think I heard my baby giggle and he’s only 5 days old…is he an alien? The problem is that 1.8 bajillion babies have been born since the age of message boards so you’re sure to find all the answers you don’t want to find. Plus, you find opposing opinions on every single thing you ever search for. Yes, your baby’s poop should look like that and No, your baby is in grave danger. Call 911 immediately.
4. Sleep Is Long Gone
For some reason, I never gave sleep (or the lack of sleep I was quickly approaching) any thought throughout my pregnancy, which is hilarious because now it’s all I think about. My baby was never a great sleeper and yet I had people asking me if he was sleeping through the night (I shudder at that phrase) when he was only 3 weeks old. And because I knew nothing about baby sleep, from the time he was 3 weeks old I spent everyday hoping tonight will be the night. He’s now 8 months old and still does not “sleep through the night.” So if you’re missing out on this elusive sleep thing, I’m right there with you, sister.
5. The Only Topic of Conversation is Baby, Baby, Baby
I never wanted to be that mom who only talked about her baby. But here I am. It’s not that I don’t care that your teenager just got her driver’s permit or that your grandma just bowled her best score ever, it’s just that all I can think about when your talking is my baby’s adorable face and how he’s making the world so much better just by being in it. I’m sorry, but if you invite me over for coffee you will get a detailed report on how he’s been eating, sleeping, and pooping for the past week. It’s just that simple.
6. The Amount of Money Spent On Gear and Gadgets
From the necessities like diapers, wipes, and clothes to the so-called non-essentials (I beg to differ) such as high-tech heartrate or movement monitors and sleeping cots that help baby feel as though he’s still in the womb-room, us mamas spare no expense to make our babies as happy and comfortable as possible. We don’t like to hear them cry so if there’s a way to reduce the tears, we’re all for it.
7. The Daily Changes
This has to be one of the most frustrating and challenging parts of motherhood. It took me months to feel as though I finally started to understand what and when my baby wanted something. I had him on a pretty predictable schedule, his sleep was getting more on track, and he was an overall super happy baby. But as soon as the wind changed direction or the humidity dropped 1%, all of a sudden he no longer wanted to sleep or eat when he previously did. Motherhood is the definition of “go with the flow.”
8. The Time Goes So Fast, But Also So Slow
All new mamas have heard it: “Don’t blink – before you know it, he’ll be in college,” or “They grow up so fast.” True. My baby is only 8 months old and I still wonder how this is possible because my memories from giving birth are still so vivid. So yes, time does fly by. But to be honest, when you’re in the thick of a difficult season of motherhood – i.e. sleepless nights, breastfeeding difficulties, health issues – time seems to stand still. It leaves you wondering will it ever end? Of course it will and it’s something we just have to ride out. As the saying goes, “The days are long but the years are short.”
All expectant mamas picture what the future will hold once baby enters the picture. For better or worse, we place expectations both on ourselves and our babies from the moment they’re born. Unfortunately, when you place expectations on a little being that relies 100% on you for everything, they are likely to go unmet. Of course this isn’t baby’s fault. It’s our own. Yet we can’t help but do it. It’s just human nature. The really difficult part is dealing with the unmet expectations you’ve put on yourself. It turns out my patience didn’t miraculously multiply upon seeing my baby’s face for the first time and I can’t do everything on my own even though I was certain I could (shout out to single moms! You are superwomen!).
And lastly, number 10 is what makes the first 9 things bearable…
10. This Kind Of Love Is Enough To Burst A Heart Wide Open
Try as we might, we mamas make mistakes. But that fact doesn’t keep us from trying to do the absolute best job we can in raising our babies. And we do. We do the very best we can. We love our babies fiercely, without fear, and without condition. I would literally do anything on the face of the earth and beyond for my child. This kind of love you’ve never known until you’ve looked into the face of your beautiful, perfect baby.
And that’s what makes everything that comes with motherhood all worth it.
What surprised you the most when you became a new mama? Share in the comments below!