Entering motherhood alters you in ways you could never imagine before having children. The structure of your life, the way you evaluate and make decisions, and your capacity for love and compassion are all fundamentally altered once you have your own child. Although these are things you hear over and over again while pregnant, they’re truly impossible to understand until that little baby enters the world.
And that’s all true. However, I want to talk about the things people DON’T tell you. That they really should.
1 ) Entering motherhood is hard. No, I’m not just talking about labor and delivery.
Although that’s hard too. If you want more real info on labor, check this out.
This fundamental shift in your life immediately impacts how you eat, sleep, and structure your days. Gone are the relaxing lunches with friends, a trip to get your nails done and a nice movie marathon on Saturday. (Don’t worry – they’re eventually replaced with other awesome things, but with a newborn, it’s mainly feeding and changing diapers.) Right off the bat, this isn’t fun.
2) The hormones are crazy.
I actually felt like I had been taken over by body snatchers the first couple of weeks after delivery. The shift in hormones from pregnancy to breastfeeding combined with lack of sleep literally make you a little crazy. I cried at the drop of a hat, felt like a failure, and thought my life was ruined. I remember looking at my husband during one middle-of-the-night feeding and telling him we’d made a terrible mistake. This was all coupled with crushing anxiety…. Hence, #3.
3) Mom life = worried life. Once you become a mom, you worry about everything.
Is the baby eating enough? Why was her poop that color? Is that rash ok? And heaven help me if someone comes over to the house with a cold. That person is on my sh*t list. Your #1 priority is to keep your new baby safe and yet you have no training for this. How in the heck are you supposed to know if you’re doing it right?! Worrying about absolutely everything now comes with the territory.
4) You can no longer watch the news without crying.
You never noticed it before, but EVERY. SINGLE. STORY. Is about a tragic childhood death, the new flu or norovirus outbreak that is shutting down schools and pre-schools, or the increase in sexual predators in your state. If you do manage to make it through the news, I’m sure there is a commercial about starving children in Africa that starts the waterworks.
5) Your lady parts are going to be jacked up. For awhile.
Seriously. Do NOT look down there. In no scenario is this a good idea. Even without tearing you’re swollen and stretched. They’ll give you some stuff in the hospital to deal with this and my advice is to look away and blot. It will go back to normal but there’s no need to see the aftermath of labor.
6) New moms understand how sleep deprivation is an effective form of torture.
I thought I’d been tired before I had a baby. Sure, I’d been up until 2 a.m. and then drug myself up “early” the next day. I’d needed some coffee and then probably hit a slump in the afternoon.
This in no way prepares you for being awakened every two hours by a hungry newborn. For months on end. If someone had told me I wasn’t going to sleep through the night for a year I would have laughed in their face. And then reconsidered getting pregnant.
7) You’ve never loved like this. You may feel like you’re literally staring down at your heart.
I thought I understood — people like really love their kids. I’d heard a million times that it’s a love like no other. However, until you have a child you won’t truly understand the depth of unconditional love for another person. It’s literally a throw-yourself-in-front-of-a-bus-without-a-second-thought to protect them, kind of love. It’s weird. And totally amazing.
If you want to learn more about mom life, check out Buzz Feed’s list of 24 things no one tells you about becoming a mom.
Entering motherhood is a true transformation. You start off as one person and a few hours (or days) later, you’ve been reborn as a mom. It’s amazing and life-altering and really hard. But I bet it’s the best thing you’ll ever do.