Motherhood is one of life’s greatest blessings and biggest responsibilities. Whether you have always known you wanted to be a mom or you are unexpectedly becoming one, there are several shocking truths that accompany your new role. If you dare, read one for some seriously shocking motherhood truths.
Childbirth is Nothing Like the Movies
When I was induced at midnight, I fully expected to begin pushing immediately and holding my baby (at most) a few hours later. I had taken all the classes and read all the books, but stories of laboring for 24 hours went right over my head. Once I finally understood that the process would be long and (duh) laborious, I thought for certain that when it came to pushing, it would be just like the movies (a few he-he-hoos and out he comes). Wrong. When I asked how long I would push and why the doctor kept leaving, my meek but stern little nurse told me, “Some people push for 15 minutes…some for two hours.” What?!
Breastfeeding is Hard, But Stopping is Harder
Please don’t mistake, I think breastfeeding is amazing, but fed is best. If you are breastfeeding, it’s hard and it hurts. A lot. No breastfeeding ads or materials depict a wincing mother and gagging baby, but that’s reality. A few lactation consultants told me, “Stick with it for four weeks and you’ll have the hang of it.” That was a lie. It took six weeks of dread, pain, gore and mess to get comfortable breastfeeding. I had several visits with a lactation consultant, on some instances considered skipping meals so I wouldn’t have to endure the discomfort, and threatened to injure anyone who considered putting a pacifier, bottle or formula near the mouth of my babe for fear of the dreaded “nipple confusion.”
But, after six weeks, I really got the hang of it and, despite the pain, every feeding made me feel so close to my baby. It was incredibly precious time. I had the goal of breastfeeding (or feeding breast milk) for at least six months. I made it five before the stress of working and other things made it hard to keep up production. I was able to bottle feed breast milk until six months, but I was so sad when my son was finally weaned. I used to think mom’s who breastfed three-year-old’s were nuts and crazy inappropriate, but after experiencing that, I could see how you’d want it to last forever.
Not all Babies like Pacifiers
Everywhere you turn it seems, you see a baby happily sucking on a pacifier. In movies, on television, in magazine ads. Pacifiers are a staple on every baby registry and parents are inundated with what seems like hundreds of them prior to the baby’s arrival. So it’s a total mind-bender when you learn that your baby hates the things…would rather spit, choke, cry and scream as opposed to suckling on one of those soothers.
You Think you Know Tired, but you Don’t
Everyone says it when talk of babies occurs, “Get your sleep now!” As if it’s even possible to stockpile slumber. But if you could, you’d want to. You may have been overwhelmed in school, lacking sleep due to all-night study sessions, you may have been exhausted when you first started working full time and tried to balance work and a late night social life, but you don’t know tired. The early days, and sometimes weeks, with an infant are unlike any sort of sleep deprivation you’ve ever experienced. Any sort of leisure time and true rest becomes completely non-existent. You can try to “sleep when the baby sleeps,” and you’ll be exhausted enough to do so, but that isn’t real life. You still need to do laundry, grocery shop, cook meals, bathe yourself, bathe your baby, and watch reality television. You will be tired like you’ve never been tired before. If you’re reading this as a parent, you’re agreeing. If you’re reading this as a parent-to-be, you think you’re picking up what’s being put down…but you aren’t. You have no idea.
Eating is Impossible, Weight Gain is Not
As a mother, it becomes increasingly more difficult to have a meal to yourself. Either you’re having a snack that your child wants to share (read: take) or you don’t have time to prepare anything for yourself because you’re preparing for your children. If you have a picky eater like I do, everything your child eats will be yellow (mac and cheese, mandarin oranges, grilled cheese, regular cheese, Chef Boyardee, corn, etc.) and while you prepare it you won’t feel tempted to eat it, but when your child has been eating for an hour, you’ll find yourself picking off their plate or quickly stuffing your face with what is about to be thrown away. So while you may feel like you never eat, if you pay close attention you’ll find that you’re actually eating a ton of junk food in tiny little bites, licks or tastes. You may be unaware of the calories consumed, but your body won’t be.
Mirrors of Your Worst Self
We like to think that our children are made up of the best parts of us (and they really are), but sometimes it’s shocking how accurately they represent the worst of ourselves. A friend and I were recently reminiscing about how accurately our children portray us. My son “helped me” close the pantry door and several spices feel off the rack, I nearly choked when I heard him say, “Oh dammit.” When I looked at his father and said, “He said dang.” My son looked up and defiantly said, “No. Dammit.” Ugh. My friend walked in on her 2-year-old daughter yelling at their cat saying, “No! No! No! Bad Kitty!” Knowing their cat had done nothing to be scolded for and that even if she had, their daughter would be unaware she thought, “Gah, do I really sound like that when I yell at the cat?!”
How Fast They Grow
I was around plenty of kids before I was a parent myself, but I had no concept of their age and what that meant. My son is only 2.5-years-old and he is so smart and funny. I had no concept of what he would be able to do at this age and I’m surprised every day and how much he can say and do. When I check on him at night, I swear he looks like a teenager and I get excited about what new things will say, accomplish and do each day as he grows because he’s already so amazing.
Motherhood is at the same time the hardest and most rewarding thing you’ll ever do, without a doubt. What are some of the “truths” becoming a mother busted for you? Share your experiences in the comments below!