This isn't going to be your typical pretty post about love, cuddles and magical moments. For many moms the first 6 weeks after baby arrives (or longer!) can be challenging and filled with unknowns and unexpecteds.
Here are a few not so known facts about postpartum:
2) You will cry. You will cry so much. You will look at your baby and cry. You will cry because you can't find your favorite pair of socks. You will cry because of the Kleenex commercial. You will cry because your husband tells you that you smell and need a shower. You will cry even more because you don't have time to shower. You will cry most of the time. But don't worry. It is mostly normal. If you are not sure if what you are experiencing is normal baby blues or postpartum depression be sure to talk to your doctor. Postpartum depression can happen to any of us (it happened to me) so don't be afraid to reach out and seek help.
3) You will want to throw your baby out a window. I know, I am making a really bold and terrible statement right now. How could anyone want to do that to their child? I am a horrible person who doesn't deserve to have children. Sure. Or maybe I was not prepared for the crying and long nights. Maybe I have never been a parent before and had no idea what to expect. Maybe I wasn't ready for the intense level of sleep deprivation I would experience. Maybe no matter how many books I read and how much I wanted to be a parent, I still find parenting really hard. Keep up the great work mama, parenting is hard at every stage and age.
4) You will be exhausted. I am not even going to try to prepare for you this. Nothing can prepare you for the level of exhaustion you will experience from having children. Just know that anyone who has a child has experienced this exhaustion. Most of us make it through the exhaustion, unless you are like me and keep having babies. We have been exhausted for 9 years. I am hoping now that we are done having kids we will soon be well rested. But even still with 4 kids all waking up once per night for various reasons (can't sleep, need a diaper change, peed their bed or are scared) you can believe that we are still not sleeping through the night.
5) On a similar note, it is almost impossible to "sleep when the baby sleeps". No matter how many times someone tells you to do this, know that most of us don't actually do that. When the baby sleeps, if we are lucky enough to experience this, we get everything done that we don't have time to do while caring for our baby. We brush our teeth, do laundry, make a peanut butter sandwich, answer emails from 4 weeks ago and of course we cry.
6) You may still be peeing your pants - especially if this is your second, third or fourth baby. Visit a physiotherapist if you need help in that department. No one wants to be jumping on a trampoline with their kids and then have an accident.
7) Your first poop after having a baby will be monumental. You will have to overcome an obstacle you never thought possible. Be sure to take some stool softener or eat fibrous foods after giving birth! You will thank me for this advice later.
8) You may have a hard time breastfeeding. Many of us do. It is not as simple, natural or magical as the books and magazines make it out to be. Know where to go for help and have a tool bag ready (nipple butter, amazing bra, nursing pads). For those in Kingston, you can check out our breastfeeding resource post HERE. Make sure you have a supportive family member, friend or doula who can be there for you. PS. If you are breastfeeding, be prepared with a water IV line. You will be incredibly thirsty during and after breastfeeding
9) Parenting is like high school all over again. Your first time at a play group will feel like the first day at a new school. Everyone will have their baby cliques and they may be reluctant to let you in. Keep at it though, there are a lot of lovely mamas and papas out there just waiting to invite you into their new life and family. Instagram, facebook and pinterest will make you do crazy things with and for your kids. You will want to dress them in stylish slouchy hats/pants/sweaters, take photos of them in rustic bowls and crates and turn them into corporate advertisements. If you don't do all this stuff, I assure you that your baby will be fine and so will you! Try to not to fall for all that high school cool kid crap with your baby. Do what your gut tells you and you will always be happy at the end of the day (that's how you get rid of mommy guilt. Always do what feels right for YOU not what others tell you is supposed to feel right).
10) And lastly, you will be amazed at how much you can love someone. You thought you loved your partner, parents, sisters, brothers, etc, but you have never felt love like this before. I know you won't fully understand this until you have kids, but consider yourself warned. And don't worry, if you have more kids, you will create so much room for love in your heart. It's amazing how you can love so many little beings in such different and beautiful ways.
What were some unexpecteds for you? Was there anything that surprised you about having a baby?