(Guys, ya may wanna skip this one)
I was talking to a friend recently who just had a baby. Several times throughout our conversation she exclaimed, “Why doesn’t anyone tell you these things?!”
I had to agree with her. We really do go into this whole parenting thing completely ignorant of what is actually happening to us. The transformation, so to speak, is subtle. One day you are in the bathroom and find it odd that no one has followed in behind you or that you don’t have a baby sitting on your lap.
For me, if someone had told me with all certainty, what the journey of being a mother would look like, I wouldn’t have believed I was capable of such and would have prevented pregnancy at all cost.
Just as He does in times of uncertainty, the good Lord gives us the strength we need, when we need it. He always arrives right on time. His time, that is. It does not always coincide with our time.
So for those of you who have yet to take the plunge into parenthood (and for those of us who have), I have compiled a list of “The things no one tells you, but you wish you knew, until you know, then you wish you didn’t know”
(drum roll please)
When you are pregnant, your body no longer belongs to you. You are now a human incubator. Instead of looking at your face, people will look directly at your belly while talking to you. (This doesn’t change after baby comes either. People now want to see baby more than they want to see you. It’s okay. Just eat your slice of humble pie and move on.)
There will be times when you feel like the Thanksgiving turkey (especially after your belly button pops out!) with family assessing and taking wagers even, on when the baby will be born. Or as one family member put it, “When the baby’s done.”
Your stomach will stretch beyond recognition and you will begin talking to it.
Strangers will touch your belly as if they’ve received an invitation.
Those support hose that you made fun of your mother for wearing, will become your best friend. Spanx now makes ‘em with room for your belly. (You can thank me later for that little gem of information.)
You will feel physically sick at the mention of something that you used to crave and instead dream of things like, cheddar cheese and peanut butter with a side of dill pickles accompanied by a glass of chocolate milk (my personal favorite).
Your body temp will seem to rise by about 120 degrees.
If you didn’t snore before, you will now.
You will become closely acquainted with the clothes that have the best elasticity and how many colors your favorite drawstring pants come in.
You are forced to be aware of everything that crosses your lips. Artificial sweetner? Not anymore. Deli meat? Not unless it’s heated. Sushi? Forget about it. (Oh and this gets even more strict if you decide to breastfeed).
At the first sign of a full bladder, find the closest restroom. You’re just going to have to trust me on this. A cough or sneeze could be hazardous.
Go see lot’s of movies. You will not have this opportunity often after the baby comes.
Oh, and that thing that happens to your chest…well, that’s a conversation to be had in person as there are just too many variables with that subject.
For a mother, not all, but many, from the moment conception is confirmed, we fall in love. As our bellies protrude and we get kicked in the ribs, we begin to picture what the baby will look like and the kind of personality they will have. We start making big plans.
Nothing will prepare you for what happens next.
From this point on, we are forever changed. We can’t go back and make it the way it was before. Our new normal will be all of the stages of our child’s life.
Having a child is like watching your heart walk around outside of your body. You are no longer a single being. Depending on how many children you have, through adoption, birth, or loss through physical death, that is how many pieces of your heart are out there. And don’t worry, there is always plenty of a mother’s heart for all of her babies.
If someone tells you that having a baby will save your relationship, they are wrong. As wonderful as it is, it is equally as difficult and demanding in ways that you have no prior experience.
Just as your love expands and multiplies at a rate which you never thought possible, so you are stretched in ways that you never thought extendable.
The days are filled with beauty and firsts. Just as they are interrupted by pain and uncertainty.
I became more conscious of absolutely everything around me. It was as if with my children came the ability to see the things I couldn’t see before. Mortality became a reality. Things that seemed mundane were now cherished traditions. Families looked different, bad or good! Holidays took on new meaning (as did showers and brushing my teeth on a regular basis).
Nothing that I say here and nothing that the one closest to you can say, will prepare you for what it is like to have a child. It just can’t.
Here’s why…because everyone is different.
As I listened to my friend talk about all of the challenges of those first few weeks with a newborn, I thought to myself, “I’m past that. I’m a veteran. It does get easier and there are more hours of sleep in the future. I can speak into this out of experience and truth. I think I’m officially a grown-up!”
I smiled, put my hand on her hand and said, “I promise, it’s gets easier. Enjoy these moments. They are fleeting. When you come to the end of your precious one’s first year you will think to yourself, ‘It’s all a blur! Where did the time go?!’ And it does not slow down from there. So try, as difficult as it is when you’re going on a couple of hours sleep and multiple days without having showered, to enjoy these sacred moments. Children remember moments, not days or weeks or even years. Specific moments. And these moments are what make up our memories.”
Your turn! What surprised you most about becoming a parent or watching your friends take the plunge into parenthood. Come on…don’t be shy…we’re all friends here.