They Should’ve Warned Me

When I was pregnant, everyone was all about “warning” me about what was coming next. I walked around much of those ten (let’s face it, pregnancy is ten, not nine, months) absolutely terrified. The warnings flew at me from every angle — in the checkout line at Target, on the street, slipping my shoes on and walking out of the yoga studio. Warnings, warnings everywhere about what was to come — from the excruciating, mind-numbing pain of childbirth to the shell of my former self I was about to become once I had her. There were times I felt like a prisoner on death row, trying to force myself to enjoy some tiny luxury despite my size and discomfort, because if you asked around, apparently my petty joys would be ending pretty soon!

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“Enjoy your husband now — you’ll be so consumed by the baby you won’t spend any time alone together when she’s here!” “Invest in a cute one-piece for next summer — your body will never be the same.” Or WORSE, from one of my female doctors, when I expressed concern about staying sexy for my husband, “You’ll lose the weight this time, but with the second one forget it. You’ll be so tired by then, you won’t care.” Yikes!!!

AND you all know my personal favorite, “Sleep now while you still can!” (And its sister statements, “Enjoy the quiet now!,” “Get your nails done — you won’t be doing that again any time soon,” and the good old, “You’ll never have time to shower.”) But with all these scary warnings that made me feel like the end of the world was coming, they forgot to warn me about what was really ahead.

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They should’ve warned me that after all those hours of labor (half of which with an epidural, which made things totally bearable), the first time I saw her face my heart would burst out of my chest and shatter onto the floor. They should’ve warned me that crying because you’re happy is actually a thing, and it’s a thing you can’t control when you’re a mommy and you behold the beauty in your arms. So you’d better keep tissues on hand at all times, and stock up on the waterproof eyeliner.

They should’ve warned me that I would love my husband so much more once he was the father of my bundle of perfection, that I wouldn’t remember what the old love had felt like. That we’d have challenges, and arguments, mostly bickers, sure — but that we would also create goofy ways to spend time together like driving around the city with her snoozing in the backseat. That we’d come up with ridiculous names for her and laugh our asses off. That he’d finally learn to make sure there was wine in the house at all times for me and that that would be the most romantic thing ever. That I’d overhear him while he changed her diaper saying, “I’m Dada. Da-da. You’ll say Dada first.” And that my heart, molten lava, would melt right out of my chest and all over the floor again.

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They should’ve warned me that eating healthy, proper portions of food would create enough of the nourishing milk that my daughter needs to grow. That I wouldn’t even want to diet at first, at all. That hearing at her two-week doctor appointment that she’d gained enough weight, all from my body feeding her, would make me feel prouder than anything ever had. That the weight I would now become obsessed with was hers, and it would be all about health. That my body would actually fit back into my jeans in six weeks, but that I would be way too comfy in leggings to bother with actual pants. And that my husband would tell me I’m sexy. Like, very often and with conviction.

They should’ve warned me that despite the exhaustion, waking up to tenderly care for her needs would be the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. That when it was just the two of us awake at 4 in the morning I would cherish the soft quietness of the whole world, cat at my feet and baby nursing in my lap, and cry because these days are fleeting. They should’ve warned me that watching her start to grow out of her newborn clothes would break my heart. That some days I would just stare at her for hours and not care about the deadlines I was missing. That her little cries and screams wouldn’t piss me off but would make me rise to action, that when I calmed and soothed her I would feel like a rockstar. That I would sleep. Maybe not every night and maybe not many hours in a row. But that my biggest upset about sleep would be that every time she napped on my chest I would worry that it would be the last time. That savoring her newbornness would become a full-time job and the best one I’d ever had.

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They should’ve warned me that I would indeed get my nails done, but that I would sit in the pedicure chair texting her father compulsively because I missed them. That I would pick up a discarded Elle and watch a tear fall onto its table of contents. So much for relaxing, these postpartum pedicures!

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They should’ve warned me that becoming a mommy would absolutely change every single thing, but that I would never want to go back and visit the “old” me, not even for a second. They should’ve warned me that my life was about to become so rich and beautiful and fulfilling, that I’d look back on what it was before and think, “Poor me. I didn’t know her yet.” IMG_5396

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314 thoughts on “They Should’ve Warned Me

  1. What a beautiful article (I can’t actually believe that most of the comments are debating the technicalities of how long a pregnancy lasts for!)
    When I was pregnant, nobody warned me what mommyhood could be like. When I was pregnant, I dreamed of having an experience just like the one you describe here! I imagined what it would be like. Beautiful. Warm. Loving. Angelic. I was expecting sunshine and roses, and choirs of angels singing from the heavens! Because that’s what everyone said it would be like: that it would be the most magical and beautiful experience I’d ever had.
    Then I had my beautiful son.
    But the first year of his life was the lowest I had ever been. Postpartum Depression is no joke.
    It started when breastfeeding. Instead of the beautiful bonding experience I was assured I’d have, it was the worst 7 weeks of my life. I felt like a failure because I had to stop. Half my nipples were gone due to latching difficulties, and the pain was so excruciating that I cried every single time he had to feed.
    He never gazed lovingly into my eyes, to the point where I thought he might be visually impaired.
    He didn’t want to hug or cuddle, or sleep on my chest, or be rocked to sleep.
    That first year was dark and ugly, and by the time he was 1, I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Luckily, I sought professional help.
    Unfortunately, as amazing as I find my life now, being a mother, and I could never imagine life without him, I WISH someone had warned me of how awful that first year could be!
    We put so much pressure on ourselves to enjoy every moment of big a mother that we end up feeling so guilty when it doesn’t work out that way for us. I thought something was wrong with me, and that I must be the worst mother in the world for not adoring every single second!
    It is so beautiful to see that there are mothers who experience the beauty in all of it, and I can only hope that with my next child, I too will get to write of my experience as you have.
    Thank you for restoring hope in me…

    • Panethea, I had the same experience with my first child. He was inconsolable, latch was terrible, I kept nursing and finally figured it out but holy cow it was horrible at first (like months)! I also had post-partum depression and it ruined me. I couldn’t calm my child, he would not sleep, he only screamed what seemed like day and night. I was jogging him all the time, lost a ton of weight and couldn’t keep it on. I looked like a skeleton with double d boobs! It was gross!!! I hated myself for not being able to help him. I hated the labor and delivery because it was tramatic. I hated that I hated myself. I felt guilty about everything. I felt like I could do nothing right. Everything seemed horrible. It did get better around one year of age. Although I wonder if I damaged him emotionally because it was so hard on me. I want to let you know that the second baby was totally different. I had a much better labor and delivery. It was natural and not forced. It was painful, very painful, but it wasn’t tramatic. I did not have PPD. I had a better time nursing. Everything went easier and I saw what other mother’s saw. The joys the feelings of bliss even at night when she would wake to be fed or changed. It helped me see my son differently. We have a tighter bond now. Both of my children are amazing. Keep your chin up. The positive is still possible. And do not be afraid to try again. Every pregnancy, labor, delivery, and child is different. I wish I could give you a hug and say everything will turn out fine. Just imagine me doing that. Kelly

  2. A term pregnancy is 275 days. That is nine months. Since a pregnancy is 40 weeks, many people assume 4 weeks is a month. Only February is four weeks. All of the rest of the months are approaching four and a half weeks. Let’s face it. A pregnancy is nine months. It always will be…..

    • This comment is horrible! I mean seriously she writes this beautiful passage, and your going to reply as this. Wow. What’s it matter anyway any women who carries a baby in her for that period of time should be respected. Dick. Oh and there are people who go over nine months.

      • I had three children and carried each 10 months. My Doctors told me that was normal for some woman. No men do not want to understand.

    • Did writing that comment make you feel better about yourself??
      Seriously – sometimes being supportive and nice is surely better than being rude and right.

  3. Spoken like a true rookie hipster mom of a new born(1st child)… The first year was great. What most women don’t emotionally realize is that babies grow up and get more difficult to raise. Wait until that baby gets a mouth and mind of its’ own. Then she will get mad at the father for not being there for the kids. Yes newborns are great! Here is the break down; Newborn 90% awesome 10% frustration, 2 year olds 75% awesome 25% frustration, toddlers 50/50, Teenagers 10% awesome 90% frustration. I still wouldn’t change that fact that I couldn’t imagine not having my 3 amazing kids.

    • Richard : “wait until that baby gets a mouth..”

      See?!? Those are the kinds pf useless threatsand warnings!!! How is that helping her?? All kids will eventually “get a mouth and a mind of their own” – how does your “warning” change anything? What is the point of you saying that ?

      • Actually, it gets EASIER as they get older. Also, people who say: “….you’re going to miss them at the young age…”, don’t know what they’re talking about. The older they get, the easier it is to communicate with them. Why would you miss diapers and feeding them all the time? Total strangers would come up to us in the mall and say: “…enjoy them while they’re young…”. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I enjoy my kids now,,,they’re in their mid to late 20’s, and it’s a blessing!

        It all depends on how you bring them up to begin with.

    • No kidding! My son was 3 weeks late. So, for that matter, were my brother and I. And I wasn’t wrong about the date of conception. So nine months and then some is not all that uncommon.

    • Lol. You shouldn’t have kids at all. I feel bad for every single one of them. Bet your a crappy father that had to be nagged by your wife to actually be involved. Ew your comment is disgusting just like your personality.

    • I am raising my 6 year old nephew, and have been since he was born. The emotion that you can see and feel in this article is not a new naive mother, but a mother in love with her child. I love my nephew as much now as when he was a new born. I truly love my nephew with all of my being.

  4. Beautiful article! I am happy to say I have had the same experience – nothing better than being your child’s everything 🙂 18mos in & it just evolves into new joys everyday. It truly goes by way too quickly!

    I would like to apologize on behalf of all the enlightened people and all their ridiculously petty comments on how long a pregnancy truly lasts…funny how many have come from men? No uterus = no opinion…whether it is 9 or 10 months technically, when you’re in the last month and a week overdue, it can FEEL like you’ve been pregnant forever! Move on people…life’s too short

  5. A beautiful story. Don’t let the naysayers take your wonder away or make you focus on the challenges, which will always be there. I have 7 children, ages 1-15, & I’m even so crazy as to homeschool them so they’re with me most of the time. There is beauty & challenge in every stage, & some stages will be more challenging for you personally, but it isn’t true that it’s all downhill from here, as some would seem to suggest. I find the preschool age years to be most challenging for me, but boy are they funny at that age! So far I have two teens & I enjoy them immensely; they are smart, funny, helpful, & thoughtful most of the time. Just keep focusing on enjoying the good & working through the challenges…you’ll do great!

  6. I believe it helps to have a well cultivated relationship with the father and being healthy in body and mind as the author is. I believe her perspective is ideal and wish more people could think and do as she does. I had beauty and sorrow in every pregnancy and a true lack of support. I had depression but the mere sight of my angels kept me going. No matter how isolated or unloved I felt, I felt so much love for my children, and now they are all in their 20s and such amazing human beings. I grew up with them.
    Kudos to those who get the experience of this writer. It brought forth lots of memories and I was moved to tears.

  7. As far as children “getting a mouth” , l loved that my kids felt strong enough in their beliefs to challenge mine.I felt proud that I raised them to have “critical thinking” and not become little stepford people.they are now adults and wonderful ones at that..

  8. I’m 23 weeks pregnant with our first and just last night when I came home from an event with my husband I said to him, “I’m going to make a list of things I never want to say to first time moms.” Almost every single thing was one of your “warnings” haha. I was very blessed by this post. It’s so much easier to imagine all the hard things than it is to imagine all the wonderful things. Thank you so much for sharing!


  9. 280 days is full term.
    On average people go longer than their expected due date for the first one, anywhere up to 14 days longer is considered normal. ( If you live in the states I believe they induce you prior to that for convince, but that goes hand in had with the medical system and deadlines they have)

    If you go over, even a week and half, your now at 291 days, PRETTY close to 9 FULL months.

    Also, this mom nailed it. Beautifully written and I like that she takes time to focus on the positives, cares about her body and that most likely transfers into the type of mom she is. Well prepared and positive. Children pick up on all of this from a very early age there is just so many negative people out there.

  10. Beautiful article! Thank you so much! My daughter is almost 6 weeks old, and this is an amazing articulation of all of the things I’ve been feeling since the moment she was born! I’ve been sharing it with everyone I know! Congratulations on your BEAUTIFUL little girl! She looks like you!

  11. These babies are do previous, they are sent by God. Human beings ready to be molded by the person who is raising them be very careful in what you say and do these children will be a product of what they learn from their environment. So enjoy your gift from heaven and teach your children what they need to know to be beautiful healthy mentally stable adults good luck and God bless.

  12. Beautiful post. I’m so glad you’re bonding is going so well. I know it’s not as smooth for everyone. I just want to encourage you in another way too, as a mom who started as starry eyed as you are now. It keeps getting better. Harder? Sure, at times. But as you learn to parent your child/ren you deepen the bond and relationship. Parenting a toddler is 24/7. Training them to obey, to sleep, to listen, etc requires your all. But I’m telling you it’s worth the effort. A child who has been patiently and lovingly trained is a delight to be around. I have 3 boys and #4 on the way. My oldest is 6 and he is becoming so helpful and considerate. He is my motivation to not slack off on training my unruly 2 year old. It’s worth every effort! Cuddle and nap together now. Every stage has its delights and challenges.

    • I agree with your post and what you are saying – but you use the word “train” continuously…. Ummm… These are not dogs! :S

  13. I can’t even tell you how much this means to me. I am expecting my first in May and have been trying to prepare and do everything i can to make sure i have all i need to give my daughter a great start but all of these blogs and posts and their “warnings” were bumming me out BIG TIME. Like to the point of tears. I am so beyond happy to see that someone is embracing the JOY that this challenging adventure will bring. I am comforted to know that i don’t have to accept that everything will change for the worse and I will become a sexless zombie. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this:)

  14. I Can’t say for sure, but I read her comment about pregnancy lasting for ten months as rhetorical and pithy, not as a protest to modern science and arithmetic. I also agree that focusing on that comment completely misses the point of the article.

    I think it’s great that mothers can all have their own horror stories, and some of them are quite horrible to endure, and yet agree that motherhood is one of the greatest, if not the greatest blessing ever experienced.

  15. So this is trivial, but I’m tired of people saying pregnancy is 10 months. It is 9. A month is not 4 weeks. It’s more like 4.5 weeks. Those half weeks add up.

  16. This was such an amazing article to read. I am just about to get married and have been having all of these fears about having children because of all the negative things that people say. I have been so scared hearing how sex will never be the same, it’ll be so hard to lose weight, you’ll never get sleep again, your kids don’t ever be quiet once they can talk, and so on. I started to feel like I didn’t even want to have kids anymore…coming from a person who dreamed of having kids since they were a kid.
    I just want to thank you for letting me see the positives of having children and allowing me to want to follow my dreams again!

  17. This is so beautiful. It is true when people are pregnant they will always tell you bad things, the first thing I tell someone is to cherish that little baby for as long as you can because they grow up so much quicker than you think they will and once the time has past it has past you can’t get that back.

  18. Still feeling complete satisfaction and eternal gratification … At this point they are 11 & 18 years old (my college student) Still the best feeling in my life, which is full of great moments… I agree full-heartedly with the writer of this post. What is the problem? Women reveling and their successes- that’s what you don’t hear. My daughters have exceeded my expectations… And made me feel more more justified in my choices in life than any woman should have a right to. AMEN sisters!! ( oh and btw, both childbirths were quick and painless!!)

  19. Still feeling complete satisfaction and eternal gratification … At this point they are 11 & 18 years old (my college student) Still the best feeling in my life, which is full of great moments… I agree full-heartedly with the writer of this initial post. What is the problem? Women reveling and their successes- that’s what you don’t hear. My daughters have exceeded my expectations… And made me feel more more justified in my choices in life than any woman should have a right to. AMEN sisters!! ( oh and btw, both childbirths were quick and painless!!)

  20. Your story was so encouraging to me, even though I’m no where close to being a mother yet! Those concerns already make me feel a little anxious about having children someday, but reading how the joys can outweigh the issues was really nice. Thank you! I also appreciate the stories about first years not going well, that was also important to be aware of (legitimate & potentially helpful warnings!).

  21. THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing this!!! Thank you for voicing exactly how I feel. I have a 4 month old son, and he has completely changed my life for the better. Yet all I remember from pregnancy is the constant stream of lame comments that made me confused…and only one person did pull me to the side and say, kinda like you explained..the deep emotion and joys I would soon experience, thank heaven for people like that! There is at times a negative or awkward attitude about pregnancy..when it is truly amazing!!

  22. I love this! You have said so many wonderful things. I have printed this out to save for my own daughter so that she can read it when she is becoming a mother.

    Being a mother is absolutely the best experience in the world! There is no other love that is as consuming and unconditional. Time does pass quickly, but it’s because you are so caught up in living it. There will be times that your eyes will fill with tears and you will ask,”Where did the time go?” (times like those first steps, when your toddler talks like a 30yr old, the first day of every school year, first dance, first significant other, watching your baby driving away in a car… You get the gist, those are hard!) But just as quickly as you ask yourself, you will know where time went and your heart and mind are so full of memories that it seems you can’t possibly hold more-and then you do.
    All new mothers get lots of advice- much of it unwanted! However, no one ever told me to write down all of the funny things that my children would say, because I would forget them….And I did forget many of them. Sometimes, though, one of the hilarious remarks my 20-something son and daughter said as toddlers pops into my head and I laugh all over again. I wish I had taken the time and done this, it is the one regret I have. I have enjoyed every age and phase that my children have gone through ( and yes, some of them have been difficult! But that’s part of it) and I find that I enjoy so much the adults they have become. Enjoy your child(ren), time does pass quickly and we have no promise of tomorrow.

    On a different note… many people (for whatever reason), feel the need to offer their ‘advice,’ or to solve all of the problems that everyone else has, conveniently forgetting the problems of their own, of course! Unfortunately, the ones who suffer the most from this affliction are some of the most miserable human beings on earth, and when they open their mouths to give you unwanted advice, nothing positive comes out. I’m gonna offer some unsolicited advice now LOL! Walk away from those negative people! They’ll find someone else to advise—because it’s not just you they are advising! They are also busy telling the lady at the grocery store, the pharmacy, the mailman, etc. what they need to do to make their lives better. They are spreading the misery!

    And to those miserable people who totally missed your heartwarming story and focused instead on the fact that you said 10 months and they didn’t agree with that, I say this: You are to be pitied! You are so focused on negativity and finding some small thing that you can grab onto for your next cause that you are missing out on some truly wonderful things. This young mother’s story should have warmed your heart and made you think about love & happiness, and all of the marvelous experiences we are lucky enough to have in this life. Wake up before it’s too late and recognize the joy in the world and don’t be so quick to find negativity when there are so many positive things to focus on.

  23. First, I’m a man so I can see and relate from the other side. My wife thought/worried the exact same; and now after our beautiful baby was born she feels the exact same way. She would never go back to who she was nor misses ANY part of it. I know this because I can see it in her eyes, her actions, and hear it in her voice when she’s with our baby or when she comes home from having her alone time and misses the baby greatly. So I agree with 99% of what you wrote.

    The part I disagree with is the part about your husband thinking you’re attractive. I don’t know the man, but you do; and unless he was a jerk before the baby, which you don’t depict him as being, he means it when he says you’re hot, sexy, attractive, and wants you just as you are. Men are too simple to say and act like they want you out of obligation. We’d more likely not say anything and pay no intrest in you or act different in that manner. So if your man says you’re sexy and beautiful, he means it.

  24. What a beautiful short story you and written. Please save this as it needs to be printed for all new mothers to read. It brought back memories some 50 years ago, and tears, on becoming a mother.

  25. What a true and beautiful story. I remember all those wonderful feelings and still have some of them today with our granddaughter. I miss her soooooooooooo much daily that I bout go nuts. I wish I could live with her so I could spend yome with her daily. I am welcome to spend time with her daily but I work so it’s a little hard to be able to see her daily. I anciously check Facebook every day to see if there’s a new picture of her. When there is it just makes my day. Be sure to take the time to enjoy parenting through ALL THE AGES. They are all wonderful!

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