From very early on, I had this dream of getting married and having children at a young age. I had this vision of what I would be like as a mom - boy was I off.
I've had so much experience with babies and children. I always babysat my younger brother and sister, watched neighborhood kids, became a camp counselor of three-year-olds when I was thirteen and worked at a daycare for six years with infants - age five. I held a summer nannying job watching two little girls for five summers. I also taught English at the middle and high school levels.
I thought I knew what I was in for, now I look back at my pre-mom self and laugh. I laugh to myself when people who are not parents say what they are and aren’t going to do. When I was the one talking about what I was or wasn’t going to do as a parent (to people who were already parents) no one commented or was condescending, which I appreciate. They knew that it all would probably go right out the window since I didn’t yet understand what it was like. It’s like once you become a parent you join some secret club that you didn't even know existed, and it is the most amazing thing ever.
Nothing can prepare you for becoming a mother. Even with all of my experience, I was still so unprepared for everything that comes with motherhood. Truth is, you have no idea what you will be like, do or not do, or how you will feel.
Nothing can prepare you for the intense emotions you will feel. I have never been pulled in so many directions at one time. The love is unlike anything I have ever dreamed of. The fear of something happening to my precious baby is heart-wrenching. The nerves, the frustrations, the happiness - all of it is truly amazing. One thing, though that I could do without is anxiety. I never in my entire life had anxiety until I became a mother, that is the most difficult thing for me.
Nothing can prepare you for pregnancy. I was blessed with an amazing pregnancy - I absolutely loved being pregnant. I wasn't prepared for the loss of appetite or sleep or being so uncomfortable in any position, but I seriously can't wait to do it again. Feeling that baby move inside is indescribable.
Nothing can prepare you for labor. Oh, the contractions... the ring of fire... the postpartum recovery... ouch. Bu, so so worth it and I'd do it all again - and will. Labor was so different than I had imagined. Everyone has their own experience and even though I was induced it was amazing, painful, but amazing. My husband and I were prepared for a scene from a horror movie. It could not have been further from that. It was so calm and definitely not as messy as we were expecting!
Nothing can prepare you for breastfeeding (If that's your wish). Okay, why didn't anyone warn me my nipples were going to feel like they were falling off? Or that latching didn't just come naturally for everyone? Or that pumping was like sucking the devil from my body? Since I ended up exclusively pumping, I can't say much here but hopefully, I'll have better luck next time.
Nothing can prepare you for living off of three hours of sleep every day or waking up every ten minutes to make sure your baby is still breathing. Even when I was able to sleep, I was so terrified that something would happen to my baby that I had to keep checking him. I don't know how I survived the sleep deprivation.
Nothing can prepare you for all of the decisions that you have to make for this tiny human you have created. Every decision you make can affect your baby forever, how's that for pressure.
Nothing can prepare you for the mental and physical changes you will go through. As I mentioned before, anxiety.. ugh. Also, I never predicted how my heart would literally break every time my sweet baby cried, or the pain I would feel if my baby was in pain. And, while you can lose the extra weight, your body may never be the same.
Nothing can prepare you for the advice and judgments you receive from many. Self-explanatory.
Nothing can prepare you for how relationships change when you have a baby. Having a baby really does change every relationship in your life. The relationship with your parents and in-laws; let's be honest it can be weird and awkward reversing the role and telling your parents how you want them to do certain things when it comes to caring for your baby. Yes, you raised child(ren) but I'd like to do this MY way. The relationship with your significant other - I could go on forever but to sum it up, so much deeper. The relationship with non-parent friends definitely changes a little bit; you're just at different places in your lives, but that's okay you still love them and being around them. The relationship with friends that are also parents changes too - you may notice you become better friends, you can relate to them and have so much in common; you're in that same "secret club." The relationship with strangers - yes strangers, because now everyone wants to talk to you and look at your baby.
Nothing can prepare you for how much your life will really change. I mean you are now fully responsible for another human being and almost no aspect of your life is the same.
Thanks for reading! xo