I felt confident going into mommyhood. I grew up loving children, had 4 nieces who I babysat and cherished, was 30 when I had my first kid (had some age on me for life experiences), and my hubby already had 2 daughters so I knew he was a great dad. I was newly married and couldn’t wait to have my own child. I talked to other mom’s, read all sorts of books and magazines, had even worked at an Ob/Gyn office for a while before conceiving. I was ready.
Or so I thought.
Some things you can never prepare for no matter how hard you try, and you just have to experience them on your own. Here is my list of things that I didn’t know or realize until I had my own kids, despite all my preparations. They are in no particular order.
I was scared of my vagina. I had an epidural so all I could feel down there was some pressure and I knew when my contractions were happening but they didn’t hurt anymore (thank God because it was a long 7 hours before I could get it), however I was holding Noah and all 8 pounds, 8 ounces of him and I couldn’t help but think about how he came out of my vag. He was stuck for a bit because his one arm decided to come out with his head so that was interesting and there were some complications from that in my “special area”. All and all, I was ok, but after he came out, I wanted nothing to do with my vagina ever again! I dreaded peeing and lets not even talk about pooping after birth, there were all sorts of things gushing out of my crotch at any given time, and after epidural wore off it was sore. When I got home, I wanted to know what was going on down there but I was too afraid to look-for a very long time. Eventually all was good again in vagina land and I went on to have another child and be scared all over again.
Emotions. I thought my pregnancy emotions were bad enough but shoot, I couldn’t even watch some commercials without bawling my eyes out after delivery. I’m here to tell ya it gets worse before it gets better. After baby, all these emotions are stirring around inside you and it creates a tornado of feelings for a little while. Combine the tornado with lack of sleep, people in and out of your house all the time, not being able to wear normal clothes yet and being scared of your vagina, well you get it. I never realized I could be happy and sad all at the same exact time. I never realize that I would have no control over this either.
Breastfeeding. Again with all my books and talking to other breastfeeding moms, I was excited to do this. It was good for baby and me, it was free, and it was always available with no preparation or clean up. Well it was all those things, but over time. I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be and I wanted to quit. I had the lactation expert in my room at the hospital all the time to help me and Noah still didn’t latch correctly. It hurt like a sonofabitch! I dreaded feeding him the first couple days because I knew the pain that was coming and would wonder why other moms liked this. Then one day about a week after his birth, I put Noah on the boobies while I was cringing and cursing in my head, when all of a sudden it didn’t hurt!!! He got it and it didn’t hurt and we both looked at each other with relief and happiness. It became easier for both of us and we stuck it out despite a few more obstacles over the year I breast fed him. It is super convenient especially in the middle of the night and it keeps your period away for a while too, however it is a major commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. I never realized all that was involved and all the pressure to keep production up, but some of my most cherished times with my kids when they were babies was when I was breastfeeding them 🙂
A different type of exhaustion. I’ve been a night owl my whole life. literally. So getting up with baby here and there throughout the night didn’t seem like it was going to be too hard. I must have been drunk when I was thinking that! In the case of Noah, he started crying the night we brought him home and didn’t stop for a month straight. His favorite time to cry was at night when everyone else was sleeping and had to get up for work and school and that went on for YEARS. no joke. Maybe if he was just up at night and not screaming the whole time, I would have been ok, but he was rough. I tried swaddling, feeding, rocking, walking inside and outside, we would drive him around in the car, i shooshed and swayed. I would bounce him gently as i was walking around the house singing songs and adding my own words like “this is why people drink alcohol”, and “hush little baby, go the fuck to sleep, you’re making me crazy and I wanna drink!” Too bad I didn’t write a book like Adam Mansbach did (Go the F**k to Sleep) at least I would have been tired, miserable, frustrated and making some money at the same time!!! Big regret there, lol. He had biological sleep problems that haunted us for years even with help from sleep specialists and doctors. Well, exhausted doesn’t even describe it. I was so tired (so was my poor hubby who had to work all day after listening to him scream all night) that I was scared to drive because I didn’t want to fall asleep behind the wheel. I did actually “pass out” at a red light once, and awoke suddenly when cars were honking at me. Not good! I’m jealous when I hear about babies that sleep at night, I secretly want everyone to suffer like we did.
No one cares about you after baby is born. You are simply the access to the baby. No one cares about you anymore. They might ask how you’re doing, they don’t really care. Just open the door and give them the baby.
Doubting yourself. Still do this everyday. I knew parenting would be difficult, but I didn’t realize how difficult until I had kids. How could you realize that though, without experiencing it. I doubted so much when they were babies, and still doubt my parenting skills today. I think that will stay with you until they are grown. I feel like if I’m not having doubts then I’m not normal. I have learned however, to go with my gut, try my best, and when I make a mistake (often happens), I need to learn for it, apologize and move on. Sometimes you don’t have time to doubt yourself and you just have to let go and let God take over and move on. It can be to overwhelming to contemplate every single decision you have to make. Just know its normal.
kids are disgusting and annoying. Being an Aunt and a step mom is different that being MOM. I spent a lot of time with my nieces when they were born and little so I knew diapers were gross, but i didn’t realize how disgusting kids are on a daily basis throughout a lot of their years. Besides the obvious dirty diapers and puke, my kids have disgusted me with painting their rooms with their bowl movements, put stuff in and take stuff out of toilets, find bird carcasses in the yard and bring them to me (wtf), pull worms out of pockets, and hide food behind things as to play a game called locate the smell. Ive been pooped on, peed on, puked on, bled on, spit on and farted on. KIDS ARE GROSS. Also, I didn’t realize how much they would annoy the hell outta me. All day long its mom, mom, mom, hey mom, where are you mom, mommy, mother, mom, mommy, mom, mom. ALL DAY LONG! I couldn’t wait for them to say mama, sometimes i cant wait till they stop. They constantly climb on me, have to sit on me which means all 3 of us are crowded together on a couch that has plenty of room but we have to be on top of each other and the whining-OMG! The constantly whining is the worst. No one said being mom would be easy right!?!
Fighting with your spouse/significant other. You could have the greatest relationship in the world with your hubby/boyfriend,etc. but once the babes come so does the arguments. It’s because you’re and emotional, exhausted wreck and he can’t do anything right. You’ll fight over nonsense and move on. He’ll still never do anything right but you learn to love him despite that 🙂
How short the 1st year of life really is. You don’t realize this until a few years later when you look at your kids and wish they were babies again. Even with Noah who made his first year of life extremely difficult and challenging, I think back now and it seems like it went by in the blink of an eye. Either that or I blocked most of it out of my mind! Honestly though, they change and evolve so much in their 1st year that its completely amazing and miraculous. I never realized how fast it goes and how much you miss when they were itty bitty. Cherish it if you can
The amount of love you feel for these people. Of course I love my husband and nieces and step daughters to bits, but until you have a child of your own, you don’t know what true love feels like. It’s impossible to describe and overwhelming at times. It gets you through all the tough shit and times when you feel like you hate them. It is divine.