Look at the world’s population. Clearly, babies are being born every day. This is nothing new. Then how is it possible that so many things were a surprise when I had kids?!? My mom had six children, 5 of those girls. My four sisters had kids before me, plenty of my cousins and close friends did too. While I was filled in on many things, there were still so many things that came as a surprise for me when I became a mom.
I know many subjects regarding motherhood aren’t exactly glamorous or fun to talk about, but we really need to start talking about them! Yes, even the “embarrassing” and “taboo” topics! While I know that some topics may seem scary to a mother-to-be, it’s still good to have a heads up before things happen. Women don’t need to feel ashamed or embarrassed when they go through the magnitude of changes motherhood brings.
One thing I did hear (from my previous hair stylist – thank you S!) was that she needed to buy new underwear while pregnant. While I knew my belly would grow (as well as other parts), I never thought of that swelling. When I needed new underwear, I didn’t feel bad about it at all. I knew in advance it may be a part of the process.
Things No One Ever Told Me About Having a Baby
My first pregnancy resulted in a planned c-section. I was completely okay with this as my second twin was breech. My recovery wasn’t exactly pleasant but it was well worth it. When my second pregnancy rolled around, I was hoping for a VBAC. After three hours of pushing, the doctor told me we needed to use a vacuum or do a c-section. No one ever told me you can’t push longer than three hours! Cue my tears at just the memory. I was really hoping to NOT have another c-section. Well, three contractions later, my little guy was out with the help of a vacuum. As you can imagine, I was TORN (sorry for the TMI – just trying to be honest). While I am thankful to have experienced the birth process, I NEVER fully anticipated the recovery.
A c-section recovery is one everyone knows you are going through, but a vaginal delivery felt like a “silent” recovery. People just assumed I was all good since I had a “normal” delivery. I could barely sit comfortably for weeks, had bathroom issues for way longer than they mentioned, and I don’t think I’ll ever truly be back to “normal” again. I was also quite surprised to be introduced to the topic of “pelvic floor therapy.” All worth it of course, but the duration was quite unexpected.
What sleep deprivation really does to you! This is a tough one, as I don’t think you can fully fathom sleep deprivation until you are in the thick of it. I knew I wouldn’t sleep much and be tired, but I had NO idea how crazy a person becomes without sleep. Oh, the stories my husband and I laugh at now from the odd things we did during the true sleep deprivation phase! One of my favorite stories a friend shared was when she breastfed her pillow during the night. Anyone else do crazy stuff while SOO exhausted??
Losing the baby weight doesn’t exactly mean your body will be back to it’s old shape. Your body does INCREDIBLE things while pregnant so, of course, it’s going to change. I guess I was always under the impression that stretch marks were a strong possibility but things mostly depended on losing the weight or not. Boy was I wrong! One of my daughters said to me recently, “Mom, your belly button is doing that thing again.” That thing is a result of lots of stretch marks and extra skin… You can lose the weight, but your body will never be the same (at least in my case)!
Once my sweet babies were born, I didn’t realize how much I would worry about SIDS! Since many of my thoughts were irrational, I didn’t share them with many people. I felt like I was crazy to always be thinking of the worst. I know it is a sensitive topic, as many people are greatly affected it by it, but I now realize that I wasn’t alone in my fears after my first children were born. Thankfully once my third child was born, I had a much clearer head regarding this.
Sex changes in ways I never imagined. Yes, I knew we would have less time for the act, and it would be painful to begin again after having a baby. I had heard those things of course, but I didn’t realize that after a vaginal birth, things can take a REALLY long time to feel “normal” again. After having twins via c-section, my body healed quickly but the twin exhaustion didn’t exactly help our cause. After my VBAC (and major tearing – again TMI alert), things were much different. I thought that things would be back to normal once my body healed, but it was a much longer road than expected for me/us. Thankfully time helped immensely!
The loneliness and anxiety that can follow a birth. It sounds so odd to be lonely with a new baby, but it can be so lonely & isolating. You feel helpless at times, trying to figure out what your new little life needs. No sleep, crazy hormones, & no one to talk to or fully “get it” makes for a long day/night/week. Many irrational fears can follow causing new anxieties to arise. If the loneliness and anxiety continue, NEVER feel bad about asking for help! Looking back, I know my kids were getting exactly what they needed. We were ALL going through lots of changes, and it was just a phase for us.
Not only will you be in charge of caring for a newborn, you will also be caring for yourself in ways you never expected. As if that is not enough, also care for your marriage since you won’t have much time for your spouse. Don’t forget to care for your home as well. Never mind your crazy hormones yet, and the fact that your body is no longer your own and has fluids coming out EVERYWHERE. Whew. Motherhood is incredible, but it’s also very challenging. Moms are thrown a LOT of new things all at once. Thankfully we are also “thrown” a cute and cuddly baby too!
Embrace the chaos and know that everything comes in phases. You don’t have to enjoy EVERY moment because it’s hard to find the joy in being thrown up all over, sleep deprived, unshowered, hungry, etc., but your sweet little bundle of joy certainly makes everything else seem so small.
These are simply based on my experiences as I journey through motherhood. What came to you as a surprise after having a baby?