I’m sure that everyone is somewhat blindsided when they become parents. You can prepare yourself as much as possible with all the new gadgets and take 10 prep classes, but NOTHING prepares you to be a parent. When people ask you if you’re ready to have kids, I think the honest reply to that is “Is anyone really ready to have kids?” To this day I am amazed at how naive and unsuspecting I was when I was pregnant with Annabelle. I thought we would be able to travel all the time and maintain our very social lifestyle. Uh, wrong. I guess I just expected her to sit quietly and go with the flow! Things are definitely getting easier and we are beginning to get out more and more every week, but still! Here are just a handful of things I found most surprising about becoming a parent.
- THE LACK OF SLEEP: I remember being told a hundred times to get as much sleep as possible before the baby came. I guess I just never understood exactly WHY you weren’t sleeping when the baby was around. I’m sure I missed that in my prenatal research, lol. What I didn’t realize is that you are feeding these little bundles of joy every few hours in the beginning. That’s night AND day. Babies fall asleep quickly and I on the other hand would spend most of that time tossing and turning and falling asleep in just enough time for the baby to wake up 15 minutes later. Another thing, newborns are loud sleepers. Annabelle would grunt ALL NIGHT LONG. We tried keeping her in our bedroom but quickly realized I needed her far, far away so I wasn’t waking up to every little noise. I have to say that now I know the true meaning of being tired. I’m still tired.
- POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION IS REAL AND ITS UGLY: I didn’t do much research on this pre-baby so I had no idea what to expect. Most women go through a few days of baby blues and tears that come from nowhere. Unfortunately I didn’t luck out in that department. It all started to hit me the day we got home from the hospital, and it lasted for weeks. I can honestly say I have never been so sad in my entire life. The regret and pain I felt in those first months are unforgettable. The clouds have cleared and the sun is out now, but in that time I was positive I would never be happy again. For those of you that are expecting, I urge you do some research on this! It doesn’t hurt to be informed.
- NEWBORNS DON’T NEED MUCH: I was in such a rush to get everything I thought a baby needed ahead of time. Little did I know, babies that small don’t require a whole lot! Here are the basics: diapers, bottles and formula if your not breastfeeding, wipes, a crib, maybe a swing, clothes, a swaddle, a rock n play, and baby soap and shampoo. There may be a few additions like pacifiers and bottle warmers, but thats all just a matter of preference. Looking back, I wish I hadn’t gotten all bent out of shape making sure I had EVERYTHING a baby could possibly need for day one.
- BABIES ARE A MYSTERY: Just when you think you have everything right and things are running smoothly, it all comes crashing down. Then you are left with the ever changing challenge of figuring out how to fix it! Nap time for instance, one day you can just nurse them and lay them down and the next they refuse to sleep unless they have been rocked. Then all of a sudden they want to be rocked for 20 minutes and when you lay them down they wake up screaming. So then it’s back to just nursing and laying them down. It’s all very confusing. Then there’s the sleep regressions (they start sleeping less). It seems as though there is a sleep regression as soon as you finally get used to the other sleep regression schedule. I’m not sure if it’s a real thing or if they just tell you that to make you feel better. Although it’s a good excuse, it doesn’t aid in the process of coping with it. It seems no matter how hard I try or how good I think I am at it, things change everyday. I try to embrace it and take it in stride. Sometimes I fail at that too.
- THE LOVE: I had no idea how it felt to love something so much. I love my husband and I love my family, but this love is different. It’s the kind that makes your heart hurt all the time. It’s a love that can’t be fully expressed with any amount or combination of words. And on top of how much you love them, they love you back just because. Not because your nice or pretty or because you buy them things and spent days upon days preparing for their arrival. They love you because you’re you. Just as simple as that. Of course their love will change and look different over the years, but in those first months it’s pure and simple love.
All in all, becoming a parent is a true honor. It’s full of tears and exhaustion, but even more with joy and laughter. Not a day goes by without me saying, “I can’t believe she’s mine. I just can’t believe it”. And in those moments when I wake up in the morning to a little voice or cry and I frustratingly think to myself, “It”s way to early!”, it takes but that one second when I open the door to her room and see her smiling face for all of those negative feelings to just fade away.
Thanks again everyone for reading! I will be taking next week off from blogging for Annabelle’s birthday, but I will be back the next week. Now go enjoy those little ones if you have ‘em!