When the glitter wears off of your first-born and you have had real-time to assess the situation, facing reality can be ugly. I have to say I considered myself well prepared for motherhood, I mean about as ready as anyone can be. I was 32, had hands-on experience with my sisters when they were babies since we have a 17 and 15 year age difference, I attended every recommended class and read all the damn books and articles I could get my chubby pregnant hands on.
Once the dust settled though, you realize that there are some pretty big chunks missing from those parenting classes. Maybe because some of it falls into the category of common sense and perhaps because some of it is situational. I can’t be sure. But I suspect an updating might be in order.
Maybe it’s me, but I think we could have skipped the diaper practice and perhaps skimmed over lopsided tits or how a onsie can be correctly removed when cleaning a massive blowout instead of how many men in the class can correctly put a diaper on an unrealistic doll under pressure for a fun size Snickers. I am sure a large percentage of the class, predominantly those with breast, know how to change a diaper and am positive they can teach it to their partner if for some reason they cannot figure it out on their own throughout the course of that child’s life.
Here is a quick list of things I sure wish we discussed in at least one of the classes or countless appointments I attended.
1. There is no “getting your old body back.” Once you have grown a human being in your body it is forever changed. Your hormones may go back to normal and you may even get back down to the same weight, but your body is not the same on inside after you carry a baby and it won’t look the same on the outside. I apparently sacrificed my ass and now get migraines.
2. If you breastfeed, your tits will be lopsided at some point. Well maybe I shouldn’t generalize. If your normal breast size on the smaller size, your tits will be lopsided at some point. Everyone has a champion milk producer. Mine is my right, and by the end of the day poor leftie just looks defeated. And tired. The poor thing.
3. Sex is different after kids, and I am not just referring to the fact that it is mostly hurried sex.
4. Everyone is an expert, except you. You already know you will receive an unnerving amount of unsolicited advice. And mostly you don’t mind, some you actually appreciate receiving. But mostly the tone you receive is that they are the expert because they produced life before you and no matter what you think you know or learned in school doesn’t really measure up. Once you accept this, you can move on.
5. Kids have personalities and everything you thought you knew before hand is pretty much null and void. Unless you are some sort of medium or something, you are meeting your kid for the first time in the delivery room. Sometimes your parenting plan doesn’t work out. I would dare say most of the time. At the minimum, you can expect to make some alterations to your parenting plan. Daily alterations. Sometimes hourly.
6. Sometimes pumping milk is a challenge. I can sit there for an hour with my premium grade Modela pump and get mere ounces will my friend pumps bottle full. I am quite sure there is an explanation for this phenomena but I failed to hear it in any class or follow-up doctor’s appointments, and as a new mom I was unaware that maybe I should ask.
7. Surrounding yourself with a mom village is so important in those first years. Having babies means more time home and more time at home means less time with friends and family so slipping into a depression or feeling lonely in common. It is pretty well accepted that being a mom is the hardest job you will have, so having like-minded moms you can lean on is oh so important.
8. Educating yourself is important. Times have changed, advances have been made and information is more available than ever. I am baffled by parents who do not use the tools available to them. I am most certainly not saying “google” everything, but knowledge is power in every other avenue in our life, why do we not include parenting? Go to websites, books and local groups should be included in the information packet you get during your hospital discharge.
9. Onsies fold down from the shoulders. You may know this. I did not. If you don’t, you’re welcome.