1. You might get depressed after the baby is born. In fact, it might get really bad. But that’s normal, and everything is going to be okay. At one point, I swore I wasn’t making enough milk for my baby and he was starving. I felt ashamed about everything I was doing as a mother for no apparent reason. I didn’t want my child. I was a mess. Maybe you will get diagnosed with postpartum, or you might only have one short topsy-turvy kind of day. But either way, your body has to dump out those hormones that have been in there for nine months. Some things just aren’t going to be quite right for a little while.
2. The body you have the day after birth doesn’t stay that way forever. I knew I wouldn’t be skinny right away. I bought yoga pants one size up from my pre-pregnancy size to wear at the hospital. I was horrified when I couldn’t fit into them. For heavens sakes, they’re stretchy! Stretching is literally their job. Thankfully, within a week my stomach had shrunk inches. I’m still far from where I started, but I’m so glad I don’t look like I did the day my baby was born!
3. Breastfeeding sucks, but it’s totally worth it. I actually did know this before I had my baby, and I’m so glad I did. I can see how it could be extremely easy to give up. Going into it, I decided I was going to breastfeed and that was that. My nipples are very flat, so he couldn’t latch well. He had an insane sucking reflex right away, so he always wanted to eat (we figured that pacifier out real fast!). And man did it hurt! I screamed each time he latched and I wanted to cry every time he started to root in the horror of what I knew was coming. It felt like razor blades. But what kept me going was knowing that the pain was absolutely normal and if I could just make it through that first week, everything was going to get a whole lot easier and be totally worth it.
4. Your birth is absolutely not going to go the way that you planned it to. It might be one small thing, or maybe your whole plan will go right out the window. Either way, something is most definitely going to go haywire. A human being is coming out your vagina. Expect the unexpected.
5. Your baby won’t do everything “right”. During my pregnancy, I read everything I could get my hands on. I was so prepared. But it turns out that my baby is thinner, eats way more often, sleeps better, cries more, poops less and is way more picky than the “normal” baby. You’re just going to have to learn how your baby works and what he likes. Listen to advice, but don’t expect anything to work for you just because it did for someone else. Learn to be flexible, because goodness knows your baby doesn’t care about your routine or your expectations.
6. The rest of the world doesn’t stop because yours does. This is what made things the most lonely for me. For nine months the world revolved around me. It went from, “When are you going to have this baby?!” to “You have a baby!” We had visitors, meals, gifts and attention. My husband took a week off from work. It felt like the entire world had stopped for our perfect moment. But then it was gone. My husband was at work, the visitors were gone, the gifts put away, and here I was alone at home with a baby. I felt left behind. Nothing could have been done to change how things were, but I wish I would have been prepared for the loneliness that comes with new motherhood.
7. Lower your expectations. For everything. You won’t be able to do everything you did before. Why in the world did nobody mention this? I heard a million times how tired I would be, but not that I wouldn’t be able to move for 8 hours of the day with a child on my boob. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew this. But I had no idea how real it would be. When I went to visit my sister-in-law for the first time after having my son, I mentioned that I wasn’t getting anything done and we were exhausted. Her advice was to lower my expectations and be okay with not getting anything done. She said to pick one or two things to get done in a day and be happy with that. That perspective literally changed my type-A life.
8. You may not lose weight while breastfeeding and that’s okay. My whole pregnancy, all I heard was to not worry about the extra pounds because they will just melt off. Lies. Don’t gain too much weight. You’ll have to lose it just like any normal person.
9. You don’t have to take everyone’s advice. I’ve never been able to say no to people. For some reason, I just feel like I have to make sure everyone feels like they’re right about everything. So, naturally, when people started to give me advice during my pregnancy, I just nodded and said “Wow! Yeah, I’ll try that!” Now, I still say that to be nice…but when all the friendly advice is contradictory, I usually end up going with whatever my mom said to do.
10. You might not fall in love with your baby at first sight. This was probably the least expected of all. When that baby was put into my arms for the very first time, I felt nothing. I remember my first response to seeing him was, “Wow! He is cute!” I was happy to see him finally, and I kind of liked holding him. But overall, there wasn’t that overwhelming sense of joy and love that I had expected at the sight of my offspring. Thankfully, in time, the emotions came, and I’ve never loved someone more. ❤️