01 Aug 11 Surprises from the first year of parenthood
11 Surprises from the first year of parenthood
One of my best friends is about to have a baby. Her and her husband’s first child; a boy. I’m beyond the moon thrilled for them. My own first child, also a boy, is now a year old. It was the most incredible year of my life in every way imaginable. The love I feel for this little guy is so fierce that it hurts.
I remember being so excited to meet him, and yet I can also remember that slight feeling of panic, dread, and terror in the days leading up to the birth.
What advice can I give? What did I learn over the last year that will help ease their minds, or at the very least make them feel somewhat more prepared?
The truth is, there is nothing that will ever prepare you for this.
Parenting is a crazy rollercoaster of emotions, trial and error, tears, and second-guessing yourself.
It’s hours of googling when you should be napping. It’s sleepless nights, poop-splosions, and contradictory advice. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. You don’t get it, but you will.
So, instead of advice (you can google it later. You shouldn’t, but you will) I’ll leave you with a few of the surprises we experienced in our first year:
1. The first two weeks are a blur. I was told this by another new mum who had just come out the other side. I was on day 9 or 10 and I didn’t believe her. On day 15 I looked back and realized she was right. It was all a blur.
2. I remember everything about labour and delivery. They say you won’t, but I do. It’s an intense, horribly painful (sorry), but emotional and incredible journey. It’s WORTH remembering.
3. When you remove your bra, or get in the shower and milk sprays out of your boobs for the first time it’s both oddly fascinating and hilarious.
4. It’s a really strange thing to have another person look you dead in the eye while they are pooing, while you yourself are sitting on the toilet pooing.
5. Speaking of poo. You will talk about poo A LOT. Daily, in fact. It is not at all uncommon for the question, “How was he today?” to be answered with an enthusiastic, “Good; he had a big poo!”
6. Babies are surprisingly bouncy, and resilient. They might bruise (earlier than you would like to imagine) but they don’t remember the bruises.
7. Your own child is the funniest person you will EVER meet.
8. Baby fingernails are sharp little claws that seem to regrow every night.
9. If you choose to breastfeed, I won’t lie to you (why do they lie to us?), it hurts. At first it hurts, but then it doesn’t. At all. And once it stops hurting it is the most beautiful bond, and way easier than heating up bottles. Trust.
10. You can’t choose your child’s first word. You can say “mama” or “daddy” a million times. They know who you mean. They don’t care. Their first word might still be “broom.” (sigh)
11. It will go by so quickly. Too quickly. Everyone tells you this. It’s so true.