Things they DON’T tell you about having a baby (Part 2)

17 May

If you’re reading this and you’ve already read Things they DON’T tell you about having a baby (Part 1) then you seriously have what it takes to get through the early phases of parenting. You’re tough, eager to learn and are obviously suffering from “preggie brain”!

As I mentioned in Part 1 this is a look at some of the unexpected realities of having a baby. With the help of some delightfully honest mommies, I would like to help you prepare yourself for some of the more common, yet surprising, emotions and experiences that you may run into as a new parent.

Our list continues…

11. Having a baby changes EVERYTHING!

Your life will never be the same again…but that’s NOT a bad thing! Almost every decision you make will now revolve around your baby. Visiting friends and going to the shops will revolve around your baby’s nap time. Big things like priorities, conversations, interests and relationships change. Small things like restaurants, holiday destinations, shoes and jewellery of choice will change. And your relationship with your partner will develop to a whole new level – make sure to keep your partner a priority!

12. It’s not just the first few months that they don’t sleep through, but sleep routines constantly change, especially in the first year.

I was fortunate enough to have both my children sleep through by 3 & 4 months old; but I know many moms who are still playing musical beds when their children are 7 years old! Sleep patterns are tricky and it takes constant vigilance to keep a good routine going. I would recommend any parent to try a Preparation for Parenting Course. It is a very helpful guide to the kind of sleep patterns your baby needs.

13. What surprised me was how hard breastfeeding was, but I’m glad I stuck it out because it’s definitely much easier than bottles, once you get over the first month. I can really understand now why so many women take the formula route.

I completely agree that breastfeeding is the best option, but it is not easy. Some mothers and babies struggle while others get it right the first time. Even when your baby latches properly, it’s a painful thing to go through for the first few weeks. I know what it’s like to sit there for an hour in tears because your baby is hungry and won’t latch on properly. Eventually they do get it. Stick it out moms! It will be worth it in the end. If you are struggling with breastfeeding, Baby Guardian will happily offer you the support you need.

14. “Me time” is a rare concept.

When your baby starts crawling, you’ll be lucky to be allowed to go to the toilet alone! So enjoy that special time you have when your baby is immobile. There’s no going back after that.

15. Although I try not to, I compare my baby to every other child and try to see if mine is “better”, “faster” or…(heaven forbid) “slower” than they are.

It’s only natural to compare your baby with other babies. Motherhood is a great challenge that none of us want to fail at. None of us want our baby to be “the last one” to walk or talk or be potty trained. But the reality is that all babies are different. There is no exact science, only general norms. So if your baby is marginally slower, that’s ok. They won’t be the slowest with everything! If your baby is a LOT slower, then feel free to consult an expert and ease your concerns. And if your baby is better or faster in some areas, then well done to baby! Enjoy feeling like the proud mommy you are. Just don’t unnecessarily offend other moms with too much boasting; their babies are just as precious to them as yours is to you!

16. That I would compare myself with other moms.

In our efforts to have the title of “Best Mom EVER”, we naturally tend to compare ourselves with the other moms around us. One thing I’ve learned is that “the perfect mother” you see with her child isn’t perfect. Mothers I admire the most will often be the first to tell me how many times they think they’ve failed by saying or doing something “horrible”. The reality is that you NEVER see the full story of that mom and her relationship with her children. All moms have their moods and their moments. We are all learning! It’s natural to compare, but be careful not to judge!

17. That it hurts and I take it personally when someone says “No Kids Allowed” on the wedding or party invite.

Us moms need to stop reading this as “YOUR Kids Are NOT Allowed” and start reading this as “Mom’s Night Off”, because that’s closer to reality. I haven’t been to a wedding without at least one of my kids in the last 6 years because my daughter keeps being asked to be a flower girl. The next time someone asks, I’m saying “NO”! I WANT to have a party and not worry about leaving early to get my kids to bed a decent hour. Enjoy the night off mom!

18. You forget how to talk about anything other than your baby; and you take it personally when friends without kids actually DON’T want to know what your baby’s poo smells like or that she said “teddy” again or that she can now walk 5 steps without falling.

Your baby takes up a lot of your attention, you know your baby more intimately than anyone, you LOVE your baby; naturally you’re going to want to talk about her. But your friends without babies won’t understand you until they experience it for themselves. Then it will be your turn to listen to how cute it is when their babies try to crawl, what their poo looks like and how precious it was when they farted with a smile! Until then, turn on a radio or read a magazine and catch up on some news and celebrity gab.

19. Nobody told me that nappies don’t actually work half the time. And when small babies poo, it squishes out their nappies and up their backs. And that this will happen when you’re on a plane.

I laughed when I read this, because the EXACT same thing happened to me on a plane (see, you’re probably not alone even in the most arbitrary experience!). Breathe easy moms-to-be, this doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen. Babies who are only drinking breast milk have very soft poo that may sometimes squish out the nappy. Be armed with at least 2 babygrows when going on an outing!

20. What about that moment (most likely between week 3 and 6) when you’re completely overwhelmed and are in tears out of complete frustration and exhaustion. You actually feel like throwing your baby out the window/against the wall/burying them in a very deep pit. You wonder if there’s a return policy on this thing and regret ever deciding to have a baby. And then you feel SOOO guilty about feeling that way.

It sounds horrendous but almost every mom I know has confessed to feeling like this at least once & feeling EXTREMELY guilty & shameful, even though – thank goodness – none of us actually DO it! Moms are secretly famous for experiencing extreme feelings of frustration, anxiety, shame, guilt, hurt and confusion; but we bury these feelings behind a smile because we don’t want other people to judge us and think of us as bad mothers. One bad moment does not make you a bad parent! You are not a bad mother for feeling overwhelmed. You’ll make it through and prove that you’re tougher than you ever thought you could be! If you think you could be suffering Post-Natal Depression then please speak to a professional and get the proper attention you need.

If you’re already a parent, I’m sure you’re identifying with what has been shared; and probably ecstatic to know that you’re not alone! If you’re a parent-to-be, I hope you feel a little more ready for the reality of what your precious bundle will bring! If you’re planning on having a baby, I dare you not to back down now. Parenting is something that changes your life and I promise you that your children will bring you more joy than you can imagine! So here’s some advice to be taken with a pinch of salt…you will be fine! If not, put some brandy on the gums and have a sip for you!

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2 Responses to “Things they DON’T tell you about having a baby (Part 2)”

  1. S Verhoog May 18, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    This is an excellent article and I believe it really covers all the topics! Well done! It both scares and excites me thinking about doing this all over again! 🙂 Atleast this time ’round I’ll be more prepared (and less stressed!)

    • Desiree Haakonsen for Baby Guardian May 19, 2012 at 6:02 am #

      Thanks so much! I’m glad that you are excited about having another child – it proves that a mother’s love really can overcome sleepless nights and hours of frustration. And one day, when your baby looks you in the eyes and says, “I wuv you, mommy!” you know it’s all been worth it!

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