New moms always declare that they will not do things the way they have seen their mom do things. Your baby will sleep through the night by 2 weeks, will never cry, will have clothes without stains, and will never spit up. Essentially, your baby will not be like other babies because they will be perfect. I have to burst that bubble and say that perfection is a myth; it is actually never ever achieved. Being a mom is a journey, a process. It has nothing to do with competition or perfection. Along the way, you’ll mess up, laugh at yourself, cry, and even sometimes feel like giving in. We moms are all walking this journey together, and the advice and encouragement we can give each other along the way is invaluable. I wish there were things that I knew beforehand so that I could have known what to expect. Here are a few:
I wish I knew I would never sleep again
When you first have a baby, all the nostalgia of the cuteness fades after a 3 a.m. wake up call from your crying baby who needs milk. As you stumble out of bed with one eye open you look at the clock and realize that you were up doing the same thing just 2 hours before. Ahh! I have heard veteran moms say that I should expect to not get enough sleep as a new mom, but I never knew that I would actually never sleep again, and that I would live in permanent state of exhaustion. My days of blissful slumber are now lost in time and space, and have been replaced with the occasional moments where I’m able to steal just a couple of hours of sleep, because the baby has slept just one extra hour. I have come to learn that when it comes to sleep, you have got to get it when you can. Sleep is a hot commodity and every mom is clamoring to grab it. So, when baby is napping, I take a quick power nap to get energized for the next round.
I wish I knew that I would become an industrial cow
I remember watching baby specials on cable television with new moms who were happily breastfeeding their baby just minutes after delivering them. Not so much! Now, don’t get me wrong, having the ability to breastfeeding my babies has been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. In the beginning, a baby’s schedule is basically: EAT, POOP, SLEEP. This happens in this exact order and all over again – and again. Therefore, your time and your body is not your own – you have now become a diary cow. And believe me babies can eat…they can eat a lot. You begin your day getting milk sucked out of you, you keep doing it for the rest of the day, and then you get to keep doing throughout the night. Whew! It may be difficult at first to get past the industrial cow feeling to get to the rewarding feeling. But it does get better once you stick it out.
I wish I knew that it would get better
The number one thing I wish I knew in the beginning was that it wouldn’t always be this way. I wasn’t always going to be sleep deprived, or nursing around the clock, or sore “down there”, or feel overweight and unattractive, or be emotional and frustrated, or feel like I couldn’t measure up to other moms. These were only temporary feelings. What was permanent were the feelings of joy that would come when I looked into my baby’s eyes and they smiled back, or when I walked into a room and my baby would know and immediately begin to wiggle and giggle, or that just the mere thought of your baby’s name would overwhelm your heart and it would overflow with smiles and hugs and kisses. Believe me it does get better, and it is oh so worth it!