Thanks to Facebook’s “On This Day,” feature, I saw a blog I had written on this day one year ago countering all the negative warnings that people innocently give to expectant mothers, as if we are doomed for a life of “never agains.”
These innocent warnings are intensified with comments of how much we stand to lose once the baby comes. We’re going to lose sleep, time, our hobbies, our friends, our marriage, our clean house, our ability to travel, and hey, we might even lose ourselves! – ouch.
And now, as I read back on how I felt with my baby in my belly – who is now tugging at my chair giggling – I can’t help but smile and feel relieved that I was right back then. There is so much more that we gain in parenthood despite some of the loss.
I won’t sugarcoat it. Yes, there is loss, and it was a harder transition to mourn some of these losses than I thought it would be. The infamous fourth trimester broke down some of my expectations that were not realistic despite how neat they sounded online.
In those early months, I was physically drained and emotionally fragile. I didn’t know when I’d be able to shower next, if I’d ever be able to eat with two hands again, or if the frequent nighttime wakings and witching hours of incurable crying would ever ease up. You’re hit with so much loss upfront that you kick into “survival mode,” which isn’t exactly the magical bliss you envisioned when you picked out all those cute baby clothes and painted your darling nursery.
And I’ve been open about these truths:
I talked to other moms who shared raw, powerful wisdom on the realities of the 4th trimester:
I admitted the strain it put on my marriage:
And I recognize how dangerously easy it is to lose sight of yourself:
But … the gains.
One day, there are these tiny gestures of reciprocated love that begin to counter these growing pains. These inexplicable joys that forever change our lives for the better. Before you know it, you can’t imagine spending your days any differently. You can’t imagine a love greater than the love you have for your child. You can’t fathom a more fulfilling job than the job of raising your tiny human. And you think to yourself, “This is why we do it.”
Of all the warnings that people gave me when I was pregnant, many of them were frivolous. I do sleep, and when I don’t, it’s because of me, not my baby. I did survive blowout diapers and cluster feeds. I am showering – even taking regular bubble baths. I am eating with two hands again; family dinner is the highlight of my day. We still travel, sometimes spontaneously! Our marriage is strengthening. We are more supportive of each other than we’ve ever been before.
Yes, we are running in a million directions, never fully prepared for what’s next, but we don’t wish it to be any other way. One smile from that sweet boy of mine, and my whole day is made. There is absolutely nothing, no one else in the world that has the power to speak to my soul like he does.
As much as having a baby has upheaved my life, I’ve never felt so grounded. As stretched thin as I feel from day to day, I’ve never felt so alive.
So what do expectant parents have to look forward to? Well, in-between those blowout diapers and sleepless nights everyone likes to vent about (rightfully so – parenthood is not easy), I promise you will also uncover some of the greatest moments of your life.
This – this is the one warning that actually has lasting merit: Prepare to love harder than you thought possible; prepare to see the world in a whole new light; and prepare to find inner superpowers that you didn’t know existed until this tiny human came along and brought out the best, multi-dimensional version of yourself.