10 ways I thought I had motherhood figured out while I was pregnant.
I was a first time mom-to-be in 2015. So as all first time moms, I read, I googled, I researched all things pregnancy and baby. I wanted to be prepared for it all. My husband and I bought cute outfits, decorated our nursery, downloaded all the pregnancy tracking apps, and read more books than we probably did in college. We made sure to put “sensible” items on our registry and we eagerly awaited the arrival of our little one. We looked around our home, proud of what we had accomplished. “We got this”, we thought. We were dead wrong. We weren’t even close. Here’s all the ways I thought I had it all figured out, when I really didn’t at all.
1. I would NOT spend endless hours washing bottles because I would be breastfeeding.
This is so hilarious I could laugh uncontrollably right now. It’s funny, how I thought breastfeeding would solve majority of my problems, but it turned out to be a major pain. I thought I wouldn’t have to wash so many bottles or heat bottles in the middle of the night. I thought I wouldn’t have to lug bottles around with me when we went out. But I struggled with breastfeeding and eventually became an exclusively pumping mom. I didn’t even know that was a thing. I had more dishes than the average mom. One bottle had about 5-6 parts depending on which brand we used and my pump had endless parts that needed to be cleaned before I needed it a few hours later. I had a dishwasher and was still frantically trying to keep up. On top of all my baby’s bottles, my pump parts, and our regular load of dishes, I was going insane.
2. Just in case I don’t make enough milk I’ll just use some formula.
I was determined to breastfeed but knew there was a chance I might have to supplement. I thought it would be easy to choose a formula. And I didn’t realize how expensive formula could be or how many options there were. I thought I would just google which one was organic and had the best reviews. Easy. Okay, not exactly. Our baby didn’t care about online reviews. Almost always, parents have to try multiple formulas until they find the one that is right for their baby. We tried a few until my milk supply increased enough and every single time it was a disaster. She spit up, had bad gas, and was fussy. Luckily my supply eventually increased enough that I didn’t need to keep searching for one that agreed with her.
3. Once she was clean, fed, didn’t have gas, and was swaddled she would sleep.
Are you laughing yet? Yes, I seriously thought this. I mean, why else would she stay awake? Everyone told us babies slept a lot, practically all day. So we always made sure to check all those basics. We never expected to have to rock her to sleep for what seemed like hours. We never expected we would need a rocking chair, a swing, or anything to help a sleepy baby, well, sleep.
4. I would nap when the baby napped.
This was the thing that gave me the most comfort when I was pregnant. I thought I would be able to handle waking up all night and I would be superwoman. That I would let my hardworking husband sleep as I would be energized from power napping all day with my baby. My daughter is almost a year old and I think I probably napped with her only a handful of times. When she napped I usually had to pump. On the rare occasion that I didn’t have to pump, her naps were sometimes so brief, she would wake just as I began to drift off. I felt worse instead of refreshed.
5. Having a summer baby would be so much fun!
I was so happy that I wasn’t due in the winter. I thought of days at the beach, walks in the park, and road trips. How lucky was I? Really? I don’t know how all these other moms do it but I barely had time to brush my hair let alone plan fun filled days. It was so much work to do or go anywhere that I’d sometimes talk myself out of it. I felt like I was packing for a week long trip when I was just going to the grocery store. With doctor appointments, my pumping schedule, visitors, chores, trying to have a routine, and life just happening, our summer was pretty much a blur.
7. I would never use a pacifier.
My parents, as well as the rest of my family, are completely against pacifiers. They told us how it ruins teeth and it’s a terrible habit. It was almost as bad as smoking to them. So my husband and I made sure we didn’t buy any or put any on our registry. After 4-5 months of exhaustion, we gave in. Our daughter isn’t reliant on it that much, which we’re grateful for, but it was so helpful after vaccines, for teething, or if she was just having a rough time falling asleep. We definitely wish we would’ve used one sooner.
8. I would incorporate my baby in my exercise routine.
You’ve probably seen all of these websites that promote mommy and baby exercises. It’s taken over social media with these crazy yet amazing yoga poses and all of these fit moms lifting their babies and getting toned. I thought I would find time to not only get in shape but maybe even the best shape of my life. Well, life happened. I ended up having a c-section (which I naively thought could never happen to me) and couldn’t do much for a while. After I “healed” I couldn’t find time and my baby wasn’t having it with some of these over the top poses and exercises. Once I did find time to fit exercising in to my life again, I found out I had a hernia. Joy!
9. I wouldn’t get emotional over silly stuff.
I was determined to not be one of “those mom”. I wouldn’t lose it if I had to let her cry for a few minutes. I mean, she’ll be okay, right? I wouldn’t cry when she got vaccines, because she needs them. Do I really have to say it? Okay, I’m “that mom”. I cried whenever she did something new, like crawl. I cried when she cried sometimes. I cried over commercials. I was just a mess.
10. Once I kept our baby on a routine things would fall into place.
Everyone told us to try to keep our baby on a routine especially at night. We dimmed the lights, read her books, gave her a nice warm bath, and a nice warm bottle. It’s nothing like the movies or these ridiculous commercials that make it seem like a lullaby. There were more bad nights than good. Sometimes we’d be busy cleaning the tub because she pooped in it, or no matter how much we tried, she just wouldn’t sleep. Eventually things got better (if you’re a new mom, don’t worry there’s hope) but trying too hard to stick to a routine drove us crazy. Not every day will be the same, especially those first few months. Life just happens.
By the way I missed #6. Did you notice? Yep, that’s motherhood. I never thought I’d have “pregnancy brain” a year after birth!