When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I was ecstatic.
Some moms-to-be are bundles of nerves…wondering what it will be like to be a mom, worrying about the best bottles for avoiding “nipple confusion,” and generally going crazy with irrational fears about becoming a parent.
Not me- I was calm, cool, and collected. After all, I had been babysitting since I was twelve, nannied throughout my college years, and even worked at a daycare. Surely I was prepared to become a mother. I secretly worried whether I would be too good, putting my other mom-friends to shame.
I pictured me and my baby on playdates. I don’t know why she’s such an amazing sleeper/eater/baby genius. We’re just lucky I guess! I would shrug apologetically.
Somewhere in the middle of my daydreaming about my perfect mothering skills to my perfect angel baby, Lilly arrived. I had an easy labor (thanks to my new best friend, Mr. Epidural). See? It’s starting already! I thought. A perfect labor! This is going to be a piece of cake!
Then we brought her home.
The next two months were a blur. What I do remember is that it was NOTHING like I had pictured. While Lilly thankfully took to nursing right away, it was still a challenge for me.
It seemed like my cracked, bleeding nipples would never heal. Since I was nursing her on demand, I decided, why bother to even wear a shirt? Much easier to just walk around the house topless all day.
In fact, why even get out of bed? We could just stay in bed- Lilly could nurse and sleep on me while I watched Law and Order: SVU reruns the entire day.
In my pre-baby fantasies, I had imagined putting Lilly down for a nap in her crib while I got all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry done before my husband got home. I would probably even have time to do a quick workout DVD and shower before dinner. In reality, I was lucky if I changed out of my pajamas by 5:00 P.M.
So where had I gone wrong? I had set such unrealistically high expectations for my life as a new mom, it was impossible to live up to them.
I remembered having a conversation with one of my best friends, Sarah.Sarah had always said that she didn’t want kids, and I always tried to encourage her to change her mind. About a month into being a mom, I called Sarah. Forget what I said about you having kids. I was a kid expert and I’m dying here! DON’T DO IT! I told her. She laughed.
Fast forward to somewhere around month four of being a mom. Lilly started smiling and giving me the positive feedback that I so desperately needed. She was eating less frequently and sleeping longer at night. My life was falling into a bit of a routine.
I called Sarah back. Hey you know what? It gets easier. You should TOTALLY have kids! But you’ll need my help!
Recently, I have had a bunch of friends have their first babies. I have tried my best to reach out to them during what can be an emotionally-draining couple months of new motherhood. So to Cindy, Marta, Brie, Elizabeth, and Marion… you’re all doing a wonderful job and remember- it sucks for all of us at first! But it WILL get better.