You’ve watched the movies, you’ve read the sob stories, and now you’re ready to experience it for yourself. That total and complete, “Aha!” moment of a positive pregnancy test. It’s all uphill from here, right? Well, for a lucky few: yes. However, if you’re like me and the moment after that wonderful second line appears, you realize just how queasy you’ve felt all morning: this article is for you.
Here’s What I Wish I Knew About Motherhood Sooner:
One: NOT ALL PREGNANCIES ARE ALL RAINBOW AND SUNSHINE (and that’s okay!)
When I first found out I was pregnant with my Son, I cried. I cried tears of joy, uncertainty of the future, as well as tears of “I need to tell my Husband in the most special way possible.” You know those viral videos you see of the Boyfriends and Husbands being completely clueless to what you’re trying to tell them? I was fully convinced I needed to follow suit, to which my husband was so severely confused that when he looked at the pregnancy test he asked, “What is this?” (Sorry, Babe!)
From there on, I was constantly trying to make my Pregnancy fit into this “perfect” mold. I wanted everything to be as seamless and effortless as possible. In my mind, Morning Sickness was a myth, I would feel beautiful my whole pregnancy, and labor would be effortless. In hindsight I realized just how far out in left field those beliefs were, but those were the images put in my mind from the movies, and all those stick thin girls on social media. I was so focused on my pregnancy being “perfect” that every time it wasn’t I found myself trying to fix it, instead of just enjoying the fact that I was growing an actual human. My Morning Sickness lasted well into my second trimester, the moment I gained 10+ pounds I only felt fat, and my labor (while it was a quick 5.5 hours!) was something I told my husband he was funny if he thought I would ever do it again.
In my mind, Morning Sickness was a myth, I would feel beautiful my whole pregnancy, and labor would be effortless.
My entire Pregnancy I felt like a failure, all due to my lack of “Perfection.”
Only after my Son was born did it occur to me that not every Woman enjoys being pregnant. Seriously — it took me holding my Son in my arms to realize that not every Woman enjoys carrying a child for nine months: AND THAT IT OKAY. I spoke with so many Women while I was Pregnant who told me that they would get pregnant again if they could, because they enjoyed the experience that much. It wasn’t until after giving birth that I had Women coming out of the woodworks to tell me just how awful pregnancy was for them. Why would they hold back such crucial information? Were they too made out to feel like failures, and they somehow thought it made them better people? I’m still trying to figure out why no one told me that Pregnancy isn’t always rainbow and sunshine until after the fact. Luckily, now I have that information for myself to share with other first time moms, to hopefully key them in that it all will be okay: and to me, that’s pretty nifty.
Two: IT’S OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP BEFORE AND AFTER BIRTH
For some unknown reason, I was fully convinced you can only ask others for help when you have a baby to take care of. A friendly, “do you mind holding the baby while I take a quick shower?” or “If you don’t mind could you run me a gallon of milk next time you go out?” The things you’d expect to ask others for help for. What I didn’t realize though, is you’re allowed to ask for help those final weeks before baby comes. No, it doesn’t make you a failure. No. it doesn’t make you look like a bad Mom. Asking for help only shows that you’re human. You’d be surprised just how quickly your best friend will say yes to coming over and helping you organize the final touches of the nursery, or helping you prepare freezer meals, or even helping you get the final touches of the house clean before it goes untouched for the next month (I’m looking at you, dirty clothes pile!). People love babies so much that they will literally jump at the opportunity to help you out if it will ultimately help the baby in some way. Heck, I had people willing to drop off things to keep me sane, like coffee, snacks, and even the comfy socks my best friend bought me after giving birth.
Asking for help only shows that you’re human.
At first it made me feel weak, as I am the number one control freak in my county: but then I humbled down and realized it was others kindness that was causing them to offer a helping hand, and I eventually gave in. Without those acts of kindness those first few months would have been even longer and sleepless than they were already, and I fully suggest you ask for help to lighten your load, too. You’re not a bad mom for needing a half hour break from your baby, I promise.
Three: YOU’RE NOT GOING TO LOVE EVERY MOMENT OF BEING A MOM
There will be days where you wake up at 1am for the 16th day in a row to a blood curdling scream, and you’re going to ask yourself if you will ever get through this. In that moment, sleep deprived, with day 5 hair and let down all over your nursing bra: you will not love being a mom. You’ll feel like a machine, sleeping, eating, and breathing only to satisfy a very needy, clingy boss who doesn’t take, “no” for an answer. The great thing is, is even in that moment, even completely defeated and exhausted: you find the strength to continue, because there’s no other options.
The moment I didn’t love being a mom was when I felt as though I failed my Son. I had decided before even conceiving that I would exclusively breastfeed (which side note: breast feeding is EXHAUSTING and if you can push through it I am beyond proud of you!!). However after four weeks of him latching for an hour at a time every 30-45 minutes, I finally decided to give in for my mental health and implement formula. He took to it like a duck to water, and sucked down so much, so quickly, I was fully convinced I was starving him for the whole four weeks of his life. Total. mental. breakdown. In that moment I wanted to be anything but a Mom, but I pushed through for him, as well as my knowledge that there’s gotta be a bright side to things (which good news: there is!).
In that moment, sleep deprived, with day 5 hair and let down all over your nursing bra: you will not love being a Mom.
Four: This kind of ties into number three, but MOTHERHOOD CAN BE BORING.
Yep, I said it. Once you and baby have connected, you’re on a schedule, you know what you’re doing: it gets boring. I know what you’re thinking, “I won’t get bored! I love my baby! They’re my life!” I thought the same thing until about week 3 when all I wanted was to go to the grocery store for some coffee creamer, but I was scared beyond measure to take him out yet so I just sat and home and stared at him. In those moments where all they do is eat/poop/sleep/cry, they get extremely boring. They don’t socially smile yet, they can’t laugh when you tickle them, and their toys are far too advance for their tiny little brains. You love that baby to death, but if you could just have a five minute conversation with an actual adult to make sure you haven’t forgotten how to talk in your normal tone your day would be MADE. Trust me, if you haven’t experienced this yet, you will.
In the end, or well, the beginning: there’s a lot of untold truths about Motherhood. I’m constantly learning new things each day about what it’s like to be a Mom, how to prioritize this over that, and what’s actually important to his development. I fail daily, but the beauty of it is you can’t learn unless you mess up a time or two.
Hopefully this list reminds you that although you’re a Mom, you’re still YOU.