1. You will be tired
You know, I knew that an essential element of being a new parent was surviving sleep deprivation. I knew that I wouldn't get much sleep and that I would feel pretty tired at first. But here's the thing - I've been tired before! I ran a summer camp for the past five summers, a really intense summer camp with challenging children and overworked staff in a brutal, wilderness environment. I routinely worked 18 hour days, and during staff training, often survived on just 4 hours of sleep. I got awoken in the middle of the night or early, early in the morning for various emergencies - I figured that I was perhaps more prepared for this sleep-deprived state than most
I was wrong.
I didn't know tired until I brought that baby home. Part of it I'm sure is that I started off the whole being a new mom thing by having to recover from a c-section after undergoing 50+ hours of labor and over two days with little more than a few hours sleep (that story to come soon). The first few nights in the hospital were rough because I had to wake Cy up every two hours to feed him, and by the third night my milk hadn't come in but he was hungry! By the time we got home, I didn't know what to do with myself, I was so tired. In fact, I think there should be a new word for the kind of exhausted that comes with being a new parent. Something like, close-to-death-don't-know-my-own-name-what-time-of-day-is-it-again-tired. Nothing could have possibly prepared me for that feeling.
2. They change fast
Well of course they change fast, I thought, they are little babies, they are growing and developing every all the time. Right. They change every day! And not in subtle ways, in big ways! What I didn't realize was that as soon as I thought I had a routine, or knew what worked for him, he changed it up on me! What worked in the morning didn't work in the evening. Oh, he's taking two three-hour naps a day this week? Don't worry, next week he won't sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time, and it will take you three hours just to get him to go to sleep! Perhaps what I didn't believe wasn't how fast he would change, but rather just how much his rapid change would affect me.
3. Don't expect to be in pre-pregnancy clothes for a while
This is the one that I haven't yet overcome. I just can't get over it. I mean, I knew it would be tough to shed the weight, but I didn't anticipate how much the shape of my body would change. Not only am I wearing a significantly larger size than I used to just so that I can stop wearing maternity pants, my clothes fit differently altogether. When I told Jason this, he laughed and said, "Oh, now you'll have to get Mom jeans." Except, the thing is, I've discovered that so-called mom jeans aren't a particular style of pant...it's just the way all pants look on a mom's body! No matter what style I buy, they look like "mom jeans"! I guess I figured that if I exercised and ate well I'd be able to slide back into my pre-pregancy clothes in a matter of months. Now, I'm just happy to be in anything non-maternity, no matter the size.
Were there things that threw you off about being a new parent? What are things that you heard but didn't believe?