You’ve prepared for nine months (probably more like eight) for this moment. You’ve longed to hold that sweet baby in your arms and prepped every inch of your world for its arrival. Well now he/she is here and you are suddenly hit with the understanding that there are no amount of diapers, monogrammed onesies or parenting books that could prepare you for immediate life with a newborn.
And I’m not talking about the caregiving of the new baby. I’m talking about the world around you. I’m talking about your relationships with people that you love. I’m talking about the life you used to have that no longer exists.
Because everyone told you that you would be so in love with this little baby and that you wouldn’t sleep for the next 18 years and that it would take some time for your body to go back into place. Because everyone told you that you’d never have enough diapers or snuggles or kisses. That seeing the world from the eyes of a child would fill you with so much joy and renew your faith in humanity.
Everyone told you that your life was about to change and you would never be the same. But they didn’t really tell you how.
Because everything changes didn’t really compute that everything really, actually changes. No one will tell you that by having a baby your relationships with everyone that you do life with currently will change. Suddenly, you can’t just go out or go off or just, go. You are at the mercy of nap time and bath time and dinnertime. Plans you’ve had for weeks will be thwarted in 30 seconds by something that may or may not be a 12-24 hour stomach bug. Your entire world can crumble if you forget the diaper bag. Or if you forget the stroller. And your life is now dictated by bottles and clean blankies and sippy cups. You don’t have the freedom to just do coffee. Or lunch. Or even talk on the phone.
No one will tell you that your friends without babies really wouldn’t understand. That they will pretend. And talk about you behind your back. Tell you to your face it’s fine. But really, they have no real concept of how different your life is from theirs. No one will tell you that there will be a divide. And it’s silent. And slow. And heartbreaking. Eventually they will ease out of your life. No one will tell you that one day, when they really get it, they will ease back in.
No one will tell you that you will be completely in love with your spouse and at the very same time totally disconnected in the first year of this baby’s life. While your adoration for each other and what you created will be strong, you are no longer the center of each other’s world. Jealousy, guilt, exhaustion will begin to strain your relationship and there will be times when you will wonder if you ever get back to the place you began.
No one will tell you that the hardest part about being a Mom is maintaining the relationship with your baby’s Dad.
No one will tell you that you will seek your own parent’s advice. And then you will resent it. Because you will long to do this your own way but will be scared and confused and lost half the time. You will wonder if your kid will turn out alright. And you will very quickly realize that you don’t have it under control. And when your Mom swoops in and saves the day, you will resent it. And be grateful. And will continue to resent and be thankful at the same time.
No one will tell you that once you become a mother, you will appreciate and love your mother in a way that you never knew possible. Because you will realize just how much she sacrificed for you.
You will constantly wonder what your baby will say about you. Will think about you. No one tells you that.
You will never think that there is enough love. Enough time. Enough money.
No one will tell you that motherhood is the hardest job you will ever accept. They will tell you it’s rewarding. They will tell you that it’s wonderful and fun and amazing. But they don’t tell you how. You have to figure all that out by yourself.
And they leave out that there is work involved. From the pictures you think it’s diaper bags and onesies and bottles and snuggles but how do all of these pieces work together? Once everyone stops visiting and life begins, what is there?
No one tells you that there will be never ending laundry. And always needing something. And not much just for you time. Some days, you will wonder if you ever were you. No one tells you that one day you will wake up and you won’t recognize yourself anymore.
Because the you that you were is now her Mommy. And the only person that knows how to be her (or his) Mommy is you.
And while everyone will try and tell you how to be his Mommy, no one really knows what is best but you.
And I hope that someone tells you that.