Things They Don’t Tell You About Being a Mom
Sleep is a thing of the past.
I’m not talking about the loss of sleep from nightly feedings. If you previously slept like a rock you’re going to find that you’re now waking up at the slightest sounds. Even once you’re months and months into motherhood, your little angel is still going to wake up periodically during the night. My solution thus far has been cosleeping.
Baby crying is your kryptonite.
Specifically, your baby. You won’t care if other babies cry. When your baby cries it is going to be unbearable. You are biologically programmed to want to comfort your baby (usually via nursing, which releases calming hormones) and not being able to do so will make you very stressed and tense. My husband was shocked at how intensely I reacted to V’s cries. It’s perfectly normal as you’re supposed to comfort and feed your baby. Eventually, the effects will lessen as the baby gets older and you can distinguish between different types of crying, but you will still become stressed by prolonged crying by your infant.
Labor recovery is no picnic.
The next time I go to a baby shower I’m going to discreetly give the mom to be a postpartum recovery kit containing gigantic maxi pads, stool softeners and Ibuprofen.
You bleed a lot. Imagine your heaviest period. Multiply the amount of discharge you had that entire week by 10. Now imagine that on ONE PAD.
My doctor actually gave me prescriptions for the above meds, but I checked and the over the counter variety is exactly the same. It’s wonderful being able to take Ibuprofen again and you’ll probably need it. I tore, so I can’t compare to someone who has only been stretched out, but I’m guessing you’ll still feel like your vagina has been through a meat grinder. Peeing can be tough at first if you had a catheter during labor, but you should get used to that fairly quickly. However, sitting on the toilet seat is going to hurt quite a bit. Pooping is going to take some time, and you’re going to want lots of fiber and stool softeners to help because it will feel like you’re giving birth all over again. It was almost a week before I was able to go and it was more painful than any part of my labor (yay epidural!).
You’ll worry about everything.
It’s ridiculous. Once I was out walking with V in an umbrella stroller and we passed by a storm drain. Immediately I imagined tripping, the stroller falling towards the drain, V somehow tumbling out (even though she was secure) and into the drain, and me crying and freaking out and trying to find a way to get my baby out.
It doesn’t matter how ludicrous the odds are of something bad happening; you’re going to think of it. I’m sure we’re wired this way. It’s a great survival mechanism because we are constantly trying to anticipate the worst and avoid it (even though it was silly, I kept the storm drain at a decent distance). Unfortunately, our penchant for worrying about anything and everything can sometimes run amok. Some people can recognize when they are worrying needlessly, others cannot. A woman in my town’s mom club started a petition to get a cellular tower removed from the neighborhood because she thought it was significantly damaging her children, even though cellular towers pose no health risks. There are things to worry about, but they are usually not what the media tends to focus on. Sweeteners are not trying to my family.
You don’t need a diaper bag immediately.
I ended up with an assortment of diaper bags after my baby shower. I got rid of all but two, a backpack and a more traditional bag. My sister came over and diligently helped me pack the bag with everything I would need: a change of clothes, burp cloths, trash bags, diaper cream, baby powder, diapers, pacifier, pacifier clip, breast pads, wipes, etc. I didn’t end up using a diaper bag for several months.
Newborns are really very simple to care for. They sleep 90% of the time and eat/poop the rest. Unless you are bottle feeding and need to carry all that that entails, you really don’t need a diaper bag. A small package of wipes and a couple diapers will easily fit in your purse, and that’s really all you need. It’s good to have an emergency set of clothes in your car, but I found I didn’t usually need them. Diaper bags are good for longer trips when you need to carry more stuff and can usually be left in the car. I didn’t start carrying one with me until three or four months, and it was the backpack one.
V is now eight months and I just switched over to the traditional bag because I wanted the pockets. Now that she’s eating solids I need to have a place to store all of that while on the go.
Everything takes longer.
I’ve always prided myself on being punctual and generally plan on arriving 15 minutes early to everything. This is extremely difficult to do with a child. Everything just takes soooooooo much longer. You’ll be halfway out the door and then remember you forgot something. Or you’ll be ready to leave and suddenly the baby takes a massive poop and needs a diaper change. Feedings in particular seem to pop up an inopportune times. Thankfully, other parents will understand why you’re always so fashionably late. If you really want to be on time, plan ahead, pack early and budget at least 30-45 min in addition to however long it used to take you to get ready.