When I signed myself up for being a new mum, I knew the one thing I should be prepared for was to be completely and utterly unprepared. However, I did my research, like most mums-to-be do, scouring the bookstores and Googling insanely, but still, there were plenty of surprises that no amount of reading or internet searching could have prepared me for. Here are the top 10:
1. Sometimes, babies just cry. As a newbie mum, you try every trick in the book to figure out the mystery of your baby crying, but after a while, you realize that sometimes babies just cry, and it’s okay. It’s a strange feeling to know there’s nothing you can do for your baby who is upset, but admitting defeat is strangely uplifting.
2. Many of the adorable clothes you own for your baby will never be worn, or even be touched for that matter, because babies grow at an ungodly rate. As much as you probably want to hang on to those clothes forever, your baby isn’t getting any smaller, and it’s best not to let the clothes go to waste – recycling them for children in need is the best way to put them in good use.
3. Hypochondria skyrockets to a new level. The new mother’s curse: every slight bump, cough, sneeze, or warm forehead signals an alarm in your mind that it’s sure to be the next black death, or some unknown form of influenza that will for sure wipe out your child and the rest of the universe. After spending the few hours of the night that you could possibly be sleeping endlessly Googling symptoms, you realize it only makes you more paranoid. It takes quite a few trips to your doctor to make you figure out when you should worry and when it’s just diaper rash.
4. You take more photos than you thought humanly possible. There seem to be an almost insane amount of cute, one-of-a-kind moments you must absolutely document and show to everyone (whether or not they want to see the fortieth photo of your child attempting to feed itself or not). Looking back, you know these moments will be worth every moment of phone battery life, but it can seem silly when scrolling through your phone sometimes and finding a thousand stills of the same photo. Only new mums understand. I’ve taken to making collages and videos and putting them on my Facebook and social media rather than forcing them down people’s throats which seems to be the happy medium.
5. You experience really weird emotions when you see your children imitate you. It seems no matter what age, you notice your children picking up on so many tiny mannerisms. At times, it can be enthralling, and at other times, it can be downright terrifying. You hope that they won’t begin to pick up on your bad mannerisms, like the way you pick your nails or have bad posture, and will only pick up on your best. Then you start to think you’re crazy for even beginning to believe your baby is imitating the way you or your partner smiles, but you know he crinkled his nose just in that certain way…
6. The mess. The smell. The horrors. Enough said.
7. Your relationships will change more than you thought possible. Every relationship in your life – with your partner, with your best friends, your co-workers, and most importantly, with your own mom – will transform. Everything changes when you have a child of your own, and you have no idea how much certain people start to matter and how other relationships become strained. You begin to realize how much work relationships take when you have another human being to work to take care of.
8. Breastfeeding changes your body. And as a result, you begin to feel strange hatred towards Victoria’s Secret models with seemingly perfectly perky breasts (or celebrity moms who claim to have never had plastic surgery – liars!)
9. Coffee doesn’t even begin to work anymore. However, you do feel grateful for the looks of pity that your favorite Starbucks drive-through cashier gives you when he sees how much darker the circles under your eyes get each day.
10. Motherhood is a wonderfully beautiful, sometimes terrifying, and often surprising journey. One of the biggest surprises is the way that no one except for other new mums seems to be able to relate to the way that one day you are a normal person, and the next day, when you move into this world of new motherhood, you have seemed to merge into a realm from which you will never come back and few others understand.