Before I got pregnant, I had some true baby fever. I would see a baby or little kids while out and about and just swoon and sigh. I couldn’t wait to have this perfect little baby and wonderful little life that I pictured.
Then I actually got pregnant and suddenly my focus shifted to the mom behind the baby spitting up all over herself or the three-year-old just about to go into full freak out mode. I saw the mom carrying the car seat, the diaper bag, the groceries and her coffee and I thought, how am I going to do this? What did I just get myself into!
Not knowing what to expect is what terrified me so I read a book called “The Sh!t No One Tells You: A Guide to Surviving Your Baby’s First Year” by Dawn Dais. It was a very humorous account from real life moms about being pregnant, being in labor and the year that follows. It talks about the gauze underwear, the truth on what those first attempts at latching are like and those weeks after when everything is a blur. I felt so much better at least knowing some of the details for what was to come.
Then it all happened (and it didn’t happen as I expected, that’s another story for another day) and poof there was a baby, and I was a mom and this was real now.
And man alive it was hard! Sure, I knew I wouldn’t get much sleep and nursing would hurt and that my hormones would make me cry out of nowhere. But I thought why didn’t everyone tell me about what it was really like to be sleep deprived for this long? Why didn’t they think to mention that I would hold my breath and grit my teeth every time this little creature would try to eat? Why did no one think to mention that my emotions could change this dramatically on a dime? And oh my goodness, who thought it would be a good idea to leave out how it feels to watch this baby sleep and be totally in awe of him.
Well, they tried, but the truth is you just can’t know until you’re sitting on the floor crying, unable to stop the baby crying;
until they fall asleep on you and nuzzle in closer;
until they blow out a diaper in the car seat on the way to something important and you realize you’re all out of wipes;
until their whole face lights up when you come into view;
until they have been up every hour throwing up and you have the biggest meeting of your life the next day;
until they give you a big hug and say I love you,
you just can’t know what it is like until then. How incredibly hard it is and how truly amazing it is to be a mom.
You can read the books and ask all the questions, but no one can tell you what it is really like until you are there. So now as we embark on toddler phase, I’m still the planner that wants to know what to expect and how to handle a million different situations that could come up. But I have to remember that I just can’t know it all, that it’ll be trial and error (and when you figure out something that works, the next day it won’t again!), that we’ll get through the hard stuff and most importantly, that there will be lots of love, laughs and good stuff along the way.
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