What they don’t tell first time moms:
You can plan and read all you want but your baby will be an individual. What may have worked for you as a child may not work for your child. Even if you work with children or have a family with a bunch of little ones, yours will surprise you. You may have a vision of things being easier as the months progress, because after all you’ve seen and maybe played with or cared for babies that are 6 months and over and they seem easy. But you have no idea what 24/7 feels like until you have your own.
2. Sleep regressions/leaps.
Oh, I dare you. Google this, please. I myself am guilty of thinking, well, at 4-6 months I’m sure things will be a lot easier. I thought every month I would be getting more sleep and a schedule would start to unfold. This is so laughable. I’m embarrassed that I even thought this. As your baby grows they go through sleep regressions and leaps. During this time (which happens every few week) they learn a new skill like learning to make sounds or move a little bit more, is disrupts their sleeping pattern. They begin to wake more, become cranky and fussy, and it throws everything out of whack. Throw in teething too. Just when you get a handle on things, sh*t gets crazy, for a lack of better words.
Regardless of what season your baby is born you’ll be told by your pediatrician to play it safe and keep your baby away from crowds and public places. I had my daughter during the summer, but that didn’t mean I could take her everywhere. It will be months to a whole year before they even have half their vaccines. Obviously, you can’t lock yourself away and throw away the key but in the beginning you’re options are very limited.
4. Postpartum blues/depression.
This can happen to anyone whether you suffer from depression or not. It doesn’t matter how badly you wanted children. Part of it is hormonal and the rest is just the adjustment period. There’s a cure—tons of sun, rest, sleep, and eating healthy. But who can do that with a newborn? Get help and take care of yourself because if not, it’ll only get worse. You may think it cannot and will not happen to you, but it will and it can if you try to be superwoman.
5. Struggle with breastfeeding or choosing the right formula.
I thought breastfeeding would be easy! After all women have been doing it forever. Plus I wouldn’t have to worry about bottles! Oh, the joy. Yeah right! Breastfeeding is difficult and pumping is even harder. It’ll take up your whole life. There are so many rules to it and such a strict and ridged schedule to be successful at it. You have to be half crazy to be successful. And formula? That’s not as easy either. Most babies go through a few or more options before you can find one that they can tolerate. You may have to deal with a lot of spitting up, fussiness, adverse reactions, and so on before you choose the right one for your baby.
6. Losing friends.
It will happen. Just as you may have had unrealistic expectations on becoming a parent, so will your friends. Some will expect you to be the same way or still be as available as before. Some just don’t like or care for children and will just disappear. Even some with children may pull back if their children are not around the same age as yours.
7. The unsolicited advice.
Be prepared for how many people will come forward and tell you how to raise your child. They will not wait for you to ask, they will not say it kindly, they’ll just tell you.
8. Mom guilt.
Even if you do everything right, you’ll think you can do better. You’ll put yourself last. You’ll do more than you can handle. You’ll be a zombie for a while.
9. The constant worrying.
You’ll worry about every expression they make, every sound they make, how they look or feel. You’ll try to sleep when you can but you’ll worry. I don’t think the worry ever stops really.
10. The sudden adjustment.
Being pregnant slowly progresses. Over 9 months your body changes and you have some time to adjust. Even if it’s a difficult pregnancy, it’s not something that happens overnight. It’s a process. But you literally become a parent instantly. You prepare for this moment but there are always things you would have wished you knew or did differently. That adjustment period is wild. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll laugh and cry all at once, you’ll question your life, you’ll be the happiest and the saddest all at once. It’ll be the best of times and the worst of times.