I have some good friends who are due to have their first babies in the next few months, and I’m so excited for them. I’m also holding my tongue because there are some truths about having a newborn in the house that I think people just don’t tell first-time mums because it’s not nice to pile on a person while her body is out of whack and she’s swimming in hormones.
I’m not sure if it’s for the best, though, because from my point of view, there’s a little too much sweet myth to what new mums are supposed to feel and do with newborns. I don’t know if it would have helped me, necessarily, or I would have welcomed some not-so-happy truths, but I might have felt a little less alone.
So for those who are up for it, below are the things I wish someone had told me (maybe) about what happens when you have a baby. If you would sincerely prefer not to worry now and just come back later, I don’t blame you. I mean, don’t worry — you will do great! But at the same time, it’s much less of a cakewalk than you even thought it would be.
1. Your labor and delivery are ultimately out of your hands. Sure, it is smart to know what you want and be prepared, but don’t pin all your hopes and dreams on your baby being born under certain circumstances. Make all the birth plans and go to all the classes you want, but no woman can prevent preeclampsia, or the baby’s heart rate suddenly getting dramatic, or that kid deciding she would like to be breech. The baby comes out eventually and that’s the most important part.
2. It is a cruel prank that you begin one of the most difficult jobs of your life right at the time when you most need to rest. When people tell you to take it easy, listen to them, even if every fiber of your being yearns to straighten up the house.
3. You will never be “done” with laundry for the foreseeable future. There will always be something that needs to be washed. Just accepting this is more than half the battle.
4. Same with dishes (this may be on a delay if you are breastfeeding, but once you switch to bottles, look out).
5. You will realize that there are some problems (like getting the baby to sleep) that do not have solutions, although you will be mistaken
ly led to believe there are solutions thanks to all the advice out there. This frustration — being made to think you have control when you really don’t — is (almost) as bad as the problems themselves.