Friday, October 5, 2012

What They Don't Tell You

Going through my first pregnancy, delivery, and the early days with our son, I felt like there were so many things about this stage of life that no one told me. They didn't tell me about the endless worry during pregnancy, or how fragile it would all feel most of the time. No one mentioned that I would feel like the worst mother on earth when I took their advice and sent the baby to the hospital nursery for a few hours at night (the right decision for us, it just felt so irresponsible!). Definitely no one told me that after three months, I still wouldn't be able to read my baby's cries every time and know what he needs. There are tons of things that no one tells you.

But I think what strikes me the most right now is how inadequate the things they do tell you are. Yes, we've all heard about how tired you'll be with a new baby. No one explains that that means not just physically tired from getting up at night, but the pure emotional and mental drain you feel everyday. How can such a tiny person who doesn't even talk yet drain your mind so much?! How can you use up so much emotion on normal daily activities?

They mention that being a mother is hard, a twenty-four hours-a-day job, that being a stay-at-home mom is the hardest job you'll ever do. But they don't go on to tell you that it isn't just work like you would do at a job, physical, mental, or social effort. It is stress on every ounce of your being for hours at a time. It's a person who depends on you completely and utterly every minute of their existence (at least for awhile). It's so consuming at times that you feel like every aspect of your life is spiraling out of control and you can't get it back.

A lot of that was pretty negative, I know. It's been a rough week at our house. I had no idea I would feel so underprepared and overwhelmed! But for anyone who is contemplating kids and thinks this all sounds horrible, here's something else they didn't quite explain. There are no words to express the joy and love of having this amazing little person who, a year ago, didn't even exist. Watching him grow and learn and change is more wonderful than I could have guessed. It's rough right now, but I'm trusting the part where they say it's worth it will turn out to be better than they said :)