From the moment my husband and I decided it was time to start our family, I have been surprised by many things related to pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood/parenting. Things I didn’t know about and didn’t expect. There is so much you don’t think about before having children, and even while pregnant. So many situations, physical “ailments,” things people say, etc. that come up that you just had no idea about. Things that surprise you.
Note – No one’s pregnancy, childbirth, or methods of parenting are the same. These are things I have been surprised about and what I have learned. Your story will be different and that’s OK!
At your wedding, people will ask you, “Now, when will little ones come?!”
I think we may have even been asked this question when we got ENGAGED. Really? Give me some time to enjoy being married first, people!
When you decide the time is right, it may or may not be easy for you to actually get pregnant.
My husband and I are planners. When we decided the time was right to start our human family (we have always had dogs that we consider part of our family), the universe was not in agreement with us. It took years and many visits to various medical and holistic practitioners to finally get pregnant. Life will not always happen on your schedule – especially after there is a tiny human involved.
When you are pregnant, you will create a birth plan and you will have an image of just how things are going to go once that baby comes. You will read all the books and know just what to expect.
And then you will get to the hospital (or where ever you decide to have your baby if you are considering a home birth or something) and have that baby and all those plans will fly out the window. Be prepared for anything and be flexible (literally).
During childbirth, your body will do some amazing things.
I have practiced yoga for years, so I am fairly flexible. I have never been as thankful for my yoga practice as I was during the birth of my baby. If you do not practice yoga and are planning at any point to have a baby, start doing some yoga NOW. Your hips will thank you. Your face will never be so close to your knees again (unless you have another baby, I guess).
After childbirth, your body will do some amazing things.
It does not happen right away and things will never be exactly how they were before you had your baby, but your body is amazing! After a while, it will shrink back to its “normal” size – at least the softness of your belly will get back to normal after a few weeks. You will make milk! This too does not happen right away and it may never happen for some women (and that’s OK – feed that baby formula – no shame!), but when it does happen, it’s kind of amazing!
You will see things you never thought you’d see on your body.
You will have this odd, soft belly. You may have many stitches in or near your lady parts. Your nipples will bleed and crack. You will have stretch marks. You may get weird rashes. Your teeth and gums will be different. Your hair may fall out. Hormones are crazy, you guys!
You will figure out how to heal and take care of a family AT THE SAME TIME.
Women are amazing. Childbirth can be major surgery for some and even if you have the perfect vaginal birth, it is going to take time to heal. Normally after surgery or any type of operation, you may sleep in your bed for a few days, watch television, and slowly get back to normal as your body heals. Not after childbirth! Especially if you have other children already. Most women just get right back in action after giving birth. Do take time to heal and recover and take time for yourself, but know that it won’t be a relaxing process, by any means.
The first weeks of bringing that baby home will be a blur.
Perhaps you’ve pulled all-nighters in college or you worked a night shift for your job and you feel like you know what exhaustion feels like. You do not. You will not know until you wake up every two hours to feed a newborn, or every hour just to check to see if they are still breathing. You and your partner will fight over bizarre things because neither one of you are truly awake during those first few weeks. You will loose all track of time. Roll with it. It will get better.
During that first year, you will question everything you do.
I called the pediatrician and texted friends and other medical professionals all the time that first year (and I still do – let’s be honest – but the questions are different). This is my first baby and I haven’t been around babies very much in my life, so I questioned everything. Is the baby sleeping too much? Not enough? Is the baby getting enough milk? What is this rash? Is the baby wheezing? Can the baby breath? Is it too cold to go outside? Is it too hot? Is that garlic smell too strong for the baby? OMG, how do I work this car seat/toy/musical chair?
Everyone will have an opinion.
This will happen from the moment you start telling people you are expecting. Even strangers at the grocery store will have something to say about that baby you have cooking in your womb. Just listen, nod, smile, and say thank you. Then do what you know is best.
You will experience mom shaming.
I had NO IDEA this was a thing. No one seems to do things the same way and you will get side eye in public if you are bottle feeding. You will get side eye in public if you whip out a boob. You will get side eye if you spank. You will get side eye if you don’t spank. You will get side eye if you mention you just got back from the pediatrician for vaccines. You will get side eye if you tell someone you do not vaccinate. And where does all of this side eye come from? Other moms! Just ignore it and move on. No one has time for that. Again, do what you know is best.
You will be surprised by the number of moms with a “side hustle.”
So many moms will approach you and invite you to a party or ask you to host a party to help them sell something. I have mom friends who sell books, essential oils, protein shakes, clothes, makeup, jewelry, cleaning products – just about everything! I love supporting these moms but you will be surprised by how often you hear of their side project. Buy/host if you want; ignore the requests if you don’t.
Timehop will crush you.
Before that baby, it was fun to see an old picture and think, “oh, I remember that trip, concert, dinner, whatever.” But now?! OMG, Timehop! It will amaze you how much your kid can change in just a few months. Cherish all the moments!
At some point (for me it took about 2.5 years) you will start to feel like you can do this and that you will raise a healthy, happy human.
One day, you will realize you aren’t googling every little thing. You aren’t texting friends questions (as much) or posting questions to a Facebook group (as much). You will laugh at how uncomfortable you felt on that first day home with a newborn. You may even be ready to jump in again and have more. You got this!
You will feel all the feels all the time.
News stories about kids will start to make your heart ache even more than before. You will want to wake your kid up in the middle of the night, just to give them a hug or to see them smile with those sleepy eyes. You will feel such a love for that little person, that it feels like your heart might literally burst.