Life dishes out plenty of surprise on the regular. To wit:
Will both socks make it out of the dryer when I do laundry this time?
Will the line at the Starbucks drive-thru be 8 or 18 cars deep?
Maybe less so that last one. But on this, I think we can agree: plenty of surprises.
The early days of motherhood shouldn’t fall onto that list. Sure, there are things that you can only find out after you’ve had the baby, but other things, it’s good to at least feel like you’re a little prepared, or at the very least, not completely blindsided. Because there will be plenty of opportunity for that, I’m guessing, over the next 18 years of your kid’s life.
Some things I wish someone would have told me about motherhood.
1. Your bladder gets wrecked…
Uggggh. TMI? Sorry, not sorry. I didn’t get into this blogging business to sugar coat things. It’s the truth! But it’s temporary.
…Unless you get a C-section.
And then you get another door prize–a scar! Small? Yes. Does it fade over time to nearly invisible? Yes. But still, helpful to know what you’ll end up with. My best advice? Grab these awesome scar-reducing strips once your wounds have healed.
2. If You Don’t Get the Birth Experience You Plan On, It Can Feel Traumatic
I’ve been there, so I know first hand that this can be tough. It’s not selfish to mourn the birth you didn’t have. It’s totally normal to have some sadness at not bringing your baby into the world in the manner you envisioned. But try not to dwell on it; and if you must, seek professional help or just a kind listening ear so that you can talk it out. I remember after my C-section reaching out to friends who also had one so that I could ask about their experience, their healing process, and their overall thoughts on having a C-section versus vaginal birth.
It’s okay if things don’t turn out as you planned. As you’ll soon learn, this is the refrain of parenthood. So I figure, better to get used to it sooner rather than later!
3. Motherhood is hard. Like, the hardest thing ever. But it’s also the best.
Let’s start here: Imagine your heart sprouting legs and hopping outside of your chest for a stroll around the world. And then try to grasp the stress that would accompany that scenario, knowing that something that you need to live is subject to the whims and wacky of the greater world.
Though this isn’t a literal comparison (of course), it is the closest metaphor I can offer to let new moms know just how much you will feel after your baby is born. Suddenly, news stories aren’t just things happening to other people anymore. They are horrific situations in which your child may very well find him or herself one day. Politics aren’t politics. They are the arguments that are shaping the very tangible things that will impact your child’s welfare–the air they breathe, the debris in their oceans, the leaders deciding who they can marry, etc. etc.
You get the picture. It’s… a lot. But for every little worry you gain, you also gain a new appreciation for every small thing you may not have noticed before. You slow down, you appreciate moments, and as parenting teaches you that you are, in fact, in control of very little in this wacky little dance called life, you learn to live in and embrace the mess (and I mean that in both the literal and figurative sense). You watch them walk for the first time–at their chubby, bowed legs toddling, fat feet grasping for grip on their nursery floor–and think, Wow, I made that.
So many little moments–delicious nuggets of time that you now know to savor… because of this next one…
4. Time Does Fly, Just Like All Those Old People Always Told You All Those Years
It’s a real full-circle moment in life when you find yourself spouting the same platitudes that your mom and dad said for years, with no trace of irony in your voice.
Time flies. Maybe it’s scientific, maybe it’s allegorical, maybe it’s just a result of the pervasive exhaustion. But something happens when you have a child that’s akin to pressing the Fast Forward button in life. So sit down, let them crawl on your lap and watch Despicable Me 3, and just chill. As your mom would (still) remind you gladly, “You’ll miss these days.”
5. It’s Also Okay if You Don’t Feel that “Wow” Moment Right Away
Here’s the thing about love: It grows. The biggest things don’t always start out big; they need time to get there. And that can also apply to motherhood.