I have a three month old (ridiculously amazing and adorable) baby boy, and let me tell you, this mom gig? It is no joke.
When I was pregnant, all of the moms of all of the babies of all of the ages that I know or encountered told me with sparkling mom eyes that I would feel an overwhelming love for this little babe when I met him (they were one thousand percent right, of course). They also collectively told me a few other things....like to sleep while I could ( which is impossible in the 3rd trimester) because sleep becomes a thing of the past - um yep! They told me I would lose hours staring at him (#allofthehours), and to try to sleep when the baby sleeps (ok seriously?! NO. Impossible. Please do not tell new moms this because it is a lie, ok?! ). They told me to watch my partners face when the baby made his arrival (I will never, ever forget his expression. Sheer awe, pride and instant love...it was beautiful), and not to worry - I would just know what to do when he arrived.
What they didn't tell me were all of the emotional, raw, amazing, really hard and sometimes dark things. Maybe because it is different for every new mom. Maybe because they didn't want to overwhelm me. Maybe because it's just more fun to talk about the sweet and adorable baby that I was soon to meet (because it is).
I had some idea of how I would feel physically after giving birth. I was pretty fortunate in my labour and delivery, (which I feel made up for how miserable and uncomfortable I was during my pregnancy.....almost) but I was shockingly unprepared for the changes that came along with doing what used to be everyday things. They didn't tell me.....
That mom guilt thing my friends talked about? INSTANT. Once the Doctor puts that baby on your chest? BAM. Mom guilt. Everything you do, don't do, could do, should do, think about doing becomes a constant loop that stresses you. Torments you, makes you question your instincts and feel not good enough. It's that evil little creature that lives on your shoulder, dressed impeccably and sipping a Starbucks whilst judging your every move. She's a bitch.
That I would be overwhelmed by being needed. All. The. Time. Babies are really needy, that I was (somewhat) prepared for. What I wasn't expecting was the pressure I would feel (that I put on myself...see " mom guilt") to be who my baby needs, while also being who my partner needs, and who my friends and family need. And losing myself along the way in trying to be me for everyone, except me.
I knew I would be sleep deprived. What I didn't know was that I would sob through the 3am feeding from delirium and exhaustion and frustration and ALL OF THE FEELINGS. I didn't know that I would resent my partner so much simply for sleeping. Especially while I was sobbing through the 3am feeding. Pregnancy hormones do not go away because you had the baby, they simply morph into post pregnancy hormones. Doesn't seem fair, I know.
That I would stare at this perfect little human and sob because I love him SO much, and HOW did we possibly make such a perfect little human?! (see "post pregnancy hormones"). I would also lose hours of sleep both staring at him, and laying awake listening to him breathe. And sigh. And make all of the cute baby noises. And I would sob.
That a week of consistent behaviour means nothing. Babies are finicky little creatures. He slept 6 hours a night for 5 days in a row! Amazing, we found a routine!...What? Hilarious! No. Babies regress. It's bullshit.
That post baby workouts are extremely hard and humbling. Your doctor may have cleared you, but this body of yours has other ideas. You may find your favorite yoga poses impossible with your new body. You may throw up in your mouth half way through your first spin class back. You feel like you are starting from scratch.... because you kind of are.
That the minutes would melt into hours, which would melt into days and soon I would realize I hadn't left the house in a week. That I would subsequently feel awkward and stupid in the real world. The world I once thrived in. That I would forget how to act in public. That an hour in a social setting would feel like five, and running a simple errand would leave me drained and confused as to how and why I couldn't pick up where I left off.
That I would have to learn how to ask for help. How to communicate in a new way. How to lean into all of the change, and navigate all of the emotions and challenges that come along with it. That I would be at my most vulnerable and my most strong. My most fragile and most resilient all at once. That the first smile from my little boy would make every hard moment fleeting. That my heart would burst on a daily basis watching him grow and change. That I would feel like the luckiest person in the world, because I get to be his mama.
Some things? You just have to experience to know.