I didn’t even go to a single child birthing or baby care class. I just assumed I could figure it all out on the fly. I had absolutely no idea what how hard being a first-time mom would be. I knew the lack of sleep would be hard, but I was incredibly unprepared for the severity of it.
I mean, how hard can it be? It’s just a baby.
VERY hard. That’s how hard it can be. So hard you want to cry and scream and tell yourself you are the worst mother in history. And here’s why it’s so freaking hard.
1. Childbirth recovery can be brutal. I really did little research on what this process would be like. I had no idea that for some women it’s a total breeze and for others it literally takes months.
2. You don’t know what you don’t know. With my second baby, I knew so much more about baby care and routines and baby products. With my first I never used nursing tops. Like why? What was I thinking? I was clueless.
3. There’s so much nervous energy. I felt like I constantly needed to be doing something when my son was an infant. I was too anxious to rest. I was checking him constantly and trying to stay on top of the laundry. If I could go back, I would tell myself to rest — not just sleep — but rest.
4. Everything is different. When I say everything is different, I mean waking up and making coffee isn’t even the same anymore. I didn’t anticipate how much my daily routine would change—even the smallest details.
5. Your body feels like it is not your body. I remember looking down at my fluffy little pooch after giving birth and thinking “What is that?” I felt strange in this round, soft body and if I’m honest, slightly afraid things would never go back to “normal.”
6. The sleep-deprivation can be dangerous and scary. At one point during my most sleep-deprived state, I lay down to sleep and literally started dreaming before I had closed my eyes. I had no idea how brutal it could be.
7. It’s hard to ask for help. Early on in this motherhood journey, I really thought asking for help meant I couldn’t handle it. I thought it meant I wasn’t good at this mom stuff. But that’s not true — not even a little bit. Asking for help is the best thing we can do.
8. Your baby feeding method is a big fat question mark. Most new moms have no idea how they are going to feed their baby. I wanted to breastfeed but there were so many unknowns. Would I produce enough? Would he be able to latch okay? Would it be painful? I feel like your second time around this is one issue you mostly know the answer to.
9. How does all this baby stuff work? Our first night in the hospital I wish I could have recorded my husband and myself trying to swaddle our newborn. We laugh about it now but we were so confused and already convinced we were messing everything up.
10. This love wrecks your life—in the very best way. I remember looking at my newborn son and bursting into tears. I just couldn’t believe it all. I couldn’t believe this amazing gift we had been given. Life suddenly felt so fragile. It is a love like you’ve never known and it turns you inside out for the very first time.