When you’re expecting, family, friends and social media basically sum up parenthood as cuddles, kisses & joy. And the rest… well, it’s rough. But I’m here to fill you in on a few things that I’ve found aren’t as bad as people prepped me for.
- Sleep: So no, you won’t be sleeping consecutively 12 hours and rolling out of bed when you please. But newborns do one thing wonderfully: sleep. And yes you’ll feel like a zombie at times, but your body does adjust. It’s not until the first “sleep regression” that it actually starts to hurt. But then once again, your body adjusts.
- Money: I remember when I got pregnant everyone told me that my baby will suck every cent out of my bank account. While this may be true when your child starts soccer, dance and piano, it’s not exactly true for newborns. Yes, you have to buy diapers and diaper cream that seems to run out in days. If you’re nursing, you’re skipping the costs of formula, which is even better. Aside from all that, plus the irresistible cute outfits you find, it’s not really all that costly. Not compared to when they become teens asking for the credit card.
- Childbirth is horrific: Your mom, neighbor, and the lady at the grocery store all have this idea that since they’ve given birth, they have some sort of responsibility to scare the shit out of pregnant-you, like it’s a rite of passage. Yeah okay it’s no day at the spa. But I remember how afraid everyone made me that I would poop during labor. And then when it came time, I could honestly not give a shit less (pun intended). Epidurals normally work, so don’t listen to your co-worker who tells you hers didn’t. And if you wanna catch your baby in the birthing pool, do it. You’re a woman and believe it or not, one of your sole purposes on this earth is to reproduce and that includes birthing a baby. Just tune out other people’s horror stories. Does it hurt? Well, you’ll find out soon enough. (*When I said our sole purpose is to reproduce, in no way am I supporting the idea that a woman’s job is to pop out babies and nothing more, I’m speaking to our biological and innate ability to create life*)
- Your vagina will never be the same: Just, no. Yeah you might pee a little when you let out a huge sneeze for a while. But you don’t have this big floppy mess that your husband never wants to look at again. For all intents and purposes, it goes back to normal.
- Your relationship with your husband is doomed: Different? Yes. Forever. Doomed? Not exactly. I can remember crying (duh) at 41 weeks pregnant that our relationship was going to go to shit any day now. Well, that didn’t happen. However, it does change. He took a backseat to pretty much everything. I sat in the car next to her in the back while he drove. We listen to the “Moana” soundtrack instead of our favorite Vampire Weekend album. Sex? Sure. But don’t touch my nipples. Those are for the baby only. Anniversary cards? “I love you and I love our baby” is basically what’s written inside. But if you’ve chosen the right partner, there will be time to find each other again in 18 or so years. In the meantime, don’t forget to drop that kid off with someone and make time for date night. Even if date night means a candlelit dinner and conversation over the color and consistency of your child’s poop that day.
Gina O’Brien is a stay-at-home mom of one-soon-to-be-two girls who like many new mothers, is struggling to find her identity outside the all consuming motherhood. Currently, physical fitness along with bits of reading and writing are what takes up the little free time she is allotted. You can find her on Instagram.