When you’re pregnant for the first time, your mind begins to wonder. The “pregnancy brain” aids and abets you in this. You wonder what your baby will be like. Will they be a doctor? A police officer? A writer? A poet? Will they be shy or outgoing, confident or more reserved?
Naturally, in the midst of all this, you begin to imagine what having a baby is going to be like. You skip over the whole birth aspect and right to those first few months, when you have your baby in your arms and know that your life is changed forever. You wonder what it will be like. And of course, you begin to build a vivid imagination, brimming with expectations of the what this new world will be like for you.
Then, post-birth, the reality sets in – and it’s not quite like you imagined it would be!
Expectation: You’re going to be tired. Everyone knows that parents of newborns struggle for sleep, delving into the depths of sleep deprivation in ways that the human body was never meant to be able to sustain. You’re expecting it and you’re prepared for it.
Reality: The tiredness is like a vice, closing around you, relentless. You know you’d be tired, but you didn’t realize how bone-deep exhausted you were going to be. It’s a shock to the system and, at the worst points, makes you evaluate those plans to bring siblings into your baby’s life one day.
Expectation: Motherhood is not going to fundamentally change who you are on an outside level. You’re still going to have time to see your friends, do your makeup, and indulge in things that you enjoy. You’ll still be you.
Reality: Of course you’ll still be you – but that fundamental shift is going to happen. You’ll find yourself preferring the idea of sitting over a cot watching your little one sleep to going out for a night with the girls. And surprisingly, you’ll be completely okay with that. You’ll still have time for the things you used to do, but they will no longer hold the same lure.
Expectation: Your baby (and as they age, your toddler) will be dressed in the most amazing clothes that money can buy. They’re going to look absolutely and totally adorable. You’re going to hit every baby boutique that you can find, and spend hours lovingly dressing them up and helping them to learn their own appreciation for clothes.
Reality: Clothes don’t last thanks to the endless cycle of washing that they have to go through. Babies are amazing, but they’re messy little creatures. Not only is food going to end up on those stunning clothes, but playtime introduces the possibility of paint and crayon stains. You might be able to preserve a pristine look for awhile, but it’s not going to last!
Expectation: Despite the occasional drawback and sleepless night, you’re going to love it. Every single moment is going to be worth it when you see your baby smile at you.
Reality: Exactly as you thought.