I wish I had known certain things before giving birth to my daughter about what the first postpartum weeks and months would look like. As they happened, I wondered why no one told me about them. I have friends with children; surely they thought this was information I might want to know! But as the fog surrounding that first year lifted, I realize that friends did tell me many of those things. Apparently I just wasn’t listening (or maybe I thought it would be different for me.)
Here are five things about the postpartum baby stage that I was utterly shocked by, and in retrospect, I should have been completely prepared for:
1. The no sleep thing.
Really. No. Sleep. Your friends are not exaggerating.
2. When the baby finally does sleep through the night, you don’t blissfully enjoy the evening to yourself.
Instead, you think that maybe she has stopped breathing and, instead of sleeping yourself, you actually go and check to see if it is true. My masseuse casually mentioned this to me when I was getting a prenatal massage. At the time, I thought she was just one of those crazy, over-the-top protective mothers and I would never be so ridiculous. Fast-forward a few months postpartum, and I’m hovering inches from my daughter’s mouth to see if I could hear her breath. Did I just see her chest move or was that my imagination? Turns out my masseuse was right.
3. You argue with your partner.
I am not sure if anyone warned me about this, but I am pretty confident that if someone did, I wouldn’t have believed them. Having a child is amazing; how could arguing possibly be involved? Well, apparently this is universal.
4. Sometimes you question whether having a child was really a good idea.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter more than anything in the world and would never dream of changing my life. But there are times when one of my childless friends jets off on another vacation or tells me about how her life is “so busy” because she can’t even fit in time for a pedicure this week. And I think to myself, “Hmm, I would love to…pee alone. A vacation alone would be nice too.”
5. Holding your baby is the best feeling in the world.
Everyone will tell you that there is no love like the love between a mother and her child, and that holding your baby is the most amazing feeling you’ll ever have. It was hard for me to imagine loving someone as much as I love my daughter, but it absolutely and truly IS the best thing in the world.