Nothing can prepare you for parenthood. You can read all the books or websites you want but I am here to tell you, NOTHING and I repeat NOTHING will ever prepare you. I waited a long time before starting a family and here are ten things I wish I would have known before becoming a Mom.
1. Getting Pregnant Is Not Easy
Looking back, I was really naive to think that getting pregnant was going to be super easy. I truly believed that whenever we decided to have kids, it would just be as easy as having sex and voila you’re pregnant. It wasn’t until we went on our last vacation to Italy and Bora Bora that I learned that it wasn’t that simple. After trying to conceive with no success, I realized that I had my ovulation dates all wrong (slaps forehead). We tried for over a year and month after month, I was left heartbroken. In hindsight, I was probably really stressed about getting pregnant which obviously did NOT help the situation. Some people are able to reproduce very easily like my sister who basically walks past her husband in the hallway and I get a text saying she’s pregnant AGAIN (lol). So my advice if you’re looking to get pregnant, give yourself time. Make it fun and DO NOT make it a chore. Most importantly try not to stress. I know it’s easier said than done but it really is important for your health and mind.
2. Say Goodbye To Sleep
I was always told during my pregnancy, sleep as much as you can because you will never be able to sleep well ever again. I never slept well even before I got pregnant and had pregnancy insomnia so I was pretty confident that I was going to be just fine with lack of sleep. I’m used to it so how bad could it be? There are NO words to describe the pure exhaustion you will feel as a new parent. I was also told eventually you will be able to sleep a little bit as they get older but that isn’t the case for me. I’m very fortunate that Milan sleeps through the night (read how I sleep trained her HERE) but I work very late and it’s the only time I have to get anything done.
2. Breastfeeding Is Not Natural For Everyone
Breastfeeding is such a natural process. Um…no it’s not. At least it wasn’t for me. I wasn’t able to get Milan to latch at the hospital. I started to think what is wrong with my nipples? They weren’t flat or inverted, they were just fine so what the heck? I thought my newborn baby would just plop on and just start sucking (lol). Luckily we were given this nipple shield before we got discharged. This literally saved our lives! I refused to give up and used the nipple shield every single time she nursed. It would have been much easier to give her formula but I was determined to breastfeed with or without the aid of a nipple shield. Day after day, I would continue to try to get her to latch. I even called Le Leche for some advice. Finally, after a lot of work and perseverance, she latched perfectly at six weeks! How ironic because that was right before she had to have surgery for her two hernias (read more HERE).
3. The First Year Is Tough
The first few months was excruciating for us. Milan’s surgery at only six weeks old and then having an infection was just TOO MUCH for any new parents to endure. On top of that, having to pack her wound ourselves for weeks on end while she’s crying at the top of her lungs put us in a really dark place. It took a toll on both of us and our marriage. You always hear how tough having a baby is but there are no words that convey how difficult it truly is. You go through so many different emotions that it’s hard to wrap your mind around what is happening! You’re sleep deprived from waking up every two hours to feed this tiny little human. Everything that you ever knew about life is basically thrown out the window. If you can survive the first year as a new parent and keep your marriage in tact, then you are a superhero. You can survive anything. Know one thing, as bad as it gets, you will get through it and you will miss the newborn stage and want to do it all over again. I know I already do. 🙂
4. You Don’t Need A Lot of Baby Stuff Or Clothes
You’d think that babies need a ton of stuff right? Wrong. They live in onsies and swaddle blankets for the first several months. It’s so easy to start hoarding cute baby clothes and toys the minute you find out you’re pregnant but save yourself some money. I bought a bunch of stuff but only used half of them. Milan was too small for normal sized clothes so I had to buy preemie sizes after bringing her home. Forget about buying shoes – babies do not need shoes! They more than likely will kick them off. Yes they are cute for photos but that’s basically about it. You can see Milan’s nursery reveal HERE.
5. Basic Things Will Become Luxuries
Once you become a parent, something as simple as leaving the house that used to take five minutes will now take at least 30-45 minutes or longer. You have to account for everything – extra clothes in case there’s a blow out, diapers, diaper bag, swaddle blankets, etc. Once you think you have everything packed and ready, don’t even think about leaving because more than likely there will be another poopie diaper to change (lol). It never fails. Basic things like brushing your teeth, combing your hair, going to the bathroom, taking a shower will all become luxuries. I never thought I would get so excited about being able to brush my teeth or comb my hair. I’m lucky if both those things happen in one day. LOL
6. You Will Never Be The Same
Becoming a parent changes you. For some, it changes you for the better and for others, not so much. I don’t think anyone has a clue about how different your life will be after having a child. I expected it but I had no idea it would be this drastic. It changes you mentally, emotionally and physically. It’s no longer about you. It’s about this beautiful life you created. You will never stop worrying and stress will be just become a part of your daily life. Life as you know it will never be the same. EVER.
7. Becoming Parents Changes Your Marriage
Anyone who says their marriage didn’t change after having kids is lying. You cannot bring another human being that you created into the equation without it affecting your relationship. It’s impossible. You don’t really know how it will change your marriage until it changes your marriage. Priorities shift. Men change and adjust differently than women. Postpartum depression is a REAL THING and not to be taken lightly. The way you look at your spouse changes and the way they look at you will change. You will be on edge, sleep deprived and sometimes angry at each other for no reason. Most say to put your kids first but I think you need to put your marriage first and everything will fall into place. Marriage is tough and even tougher with a new baby. Make time for each other, always work as a team and never against each other.
8. Your House Will Never Be The Same
My house used to be spotless. So clean you could eat off the floors. Everything had a place and there was never clutter or a mess to clean up. You can basically say goodbye to a clean and organized house once you have a baby. For those that have clean homes and children, God bless you because it’s rare. Possible but rare. I’ve heard and read that a messy house equals a happy child. Is that why Milan is so happy ( LOL)? Ask for help, hire a cleaner, and don’t focus on having your house perfect.
9. Sleep Train Early
I didn’t sleep train Milan until I was so sleep deprived that I almost potentially killed all of us by leaving the gas cooktop on. That was my rock bottom. Milan was 9 months old and I decided that I needed to sleep train her. She never slept in her crib EVER (big mistake) and would nurse all day and night. Depending on your situation, I think sleep training is necessary. Think of it as giving your baby the gift of sleep. Read more about how I sleep trained Milan in under 30 minutes HERE.
10. Take A Lot Of Photos and Videos
Make sure to take a lot of photos and videos especially when they are newborns! I wish I would have taken more but grateful for the ones that I was able to capture. It’s so much fun to look back and see how much they change and grow. It’s crazy to witness! Another piece of advice I can offer is make sure you buy a separate hard drive to store all your baby photos and videos in one place and organize them by months for the first year. You will thank me later. Also, back up your computer and hard drive in case something happens. You will not be able to get these moments or memories back. I’m in the process of organizing all of Milan’s photos and videos right now and it’s no joke. I should have done this sooner but better late than never.
As scary as some of these items may sound, you quickly forget how tired you are when you see your baby smile or hear them laugh. You won’t remember all the diapers you had to change when you hear them say Mama or Dada for the first time or witness their first steps. Parenthood is not for the faint of hearts. You will experience a love and bond like never before. So is it all worth it? Without a doubt or question in the world. As cliche as it is, being a Mom is by far the hardest but most rewarding job EVER.