Every first-time mom who has lived through the harrowing first year of parenting and survived to tell the tale knows that the struggle to care for a screaming, smelly stranger she now calls her ‘bundle of joy’ is nothing short of a roller-coaster ride dotted with surprises. Because all along, all anyone every told her about was the adorableness of it all and the ‘fulfilling’ experience that motherhood is. The horrific truths and heartbreaking details about parenting are conveniently brushed under the carpet, lest women abandon the idea of birthing altogether.
Feministaa gives you a rundown of things about the first year of motherhood that no one tells you about but you have every right to know as an expectant mom:
1 : Your baby may look nothing like you had imagined or like those cuddly little humans whose posters you had put up on the walls. Newborns are often soft and gooey, and a swollen in the wrong places from the process of birthing. Give it some time, you baby will take on the cute munchkin avatar soon.
2 : There is nothing natural about breastfeeding. For a lot of mothers, breastfeeding turns out to be a bigger challenge that the process of childbirth itself. The struggle to get your newborn to latch on your breasts and suckle is very real. And it takes heart to keep at it several times a day for several months at the end when your breasts are sore as a fresh wound.
3 : Babies can be pretty boring for the first few weeks of their life. It is pretty much eat, sleep, poop, cry, repeat. It’ll be a couple of months before your baby will respond to your baby talk with those adorable cooing sounds.
4 : Just like breastfeeding, handling a baby doesn’t come naturally either. You may struggle to even pick your little one up and hold them the right way the first few times.
5 : You will be scared to hell and back of hurting them in any possible way.
6 : Advice, advice, advice. Always unsolicited, always in abundance. It will come from parents, spouse, friends, family, acquaintances and perfect strangers. Get used to it. Develop a thick skin. Move on.
7 : Your sex life would be practically non-existent. If you thought pregnancy was a tough time for some intimacy with your partner, wait till there is a third person in the equation.
8 : Speaking of which, your relationship with your spouse will change in more ways than you had imagined. After all, it is the three of you in the family now, and a lot of dynamics will change accordingly. Some for better, others for worse. To begin with, the two of you will no longer be each other’s top priority.
9 : You will see the entire the whole focus of your life shifting to your little bundle of joy. Personal aspirations and professional goals will be adjusted accordingly, and in all likelihood, you’ll do it without any grudges.
10 : You will stare at and obsess about poop. A LOT. It is surprising how much poop a little human is capable of making. You’ll be disgusted by the sight of it for the first few days. Then, it will become routine. You will have full blown conversations about baby poop or the lack of it without a hint of awkwardness.
11 : Your baby will cry a lot, and you’ll probably cry more from feeling so overwhelmed and exasperated all the time.
12 : You’ll crave time away from your baby and be struck by separation anxiety when you finally get an opportunity to step out of the house sans your little one.
13 : You’ll miss being pregnant. That time when your baby was a part of you and whatever went on in that baby bump of yours was like a happy secret only the two of you knew of.
14 : Feeling that surge of maternal love may take time. It is not necessary that you’ll feel a rush of emotions or fall head over heels in love with your baby the moment you set your eyes on them. Speaking from experience, give it six to eight months, love will come through.
15 : You will worry a lot. About your baby’s wellness, your ability to care for them, and how you will protect them in face of a zombie apocalypse.
I’d like to tell you that things start looking up after that challenging first year is over, but 30 months into motherhood, I’m still kind of waiting for that to happen. What I can tell you, though, is that at the end of the day when you little human curls up and falls asleep in your arms, it is worth all the madness; and that’s no romantic boohaki.