I’ve come across quite a few people that honestly think having a baby is a blissful, fulfilling, amazing, breathtaking, easy-as-pie sort of thing.
You’re thinking I’m going to say, ‘Not so!’, but not so.
It is all of those things. And I’ll have you know, pie is HARD. Really, really hard.
But, as any of you who have tasted and (even more so) made with your own hands, a homemade pie, you’ll know it’s so, so, SO worth it.
Confession #1: Having a baby is hard
Pregnancy is hard. There’s the nausea, new aches and pains, leg cramps, breathlessness, hip pain, back pain, stretch marks, weight gain, varicose veins, swelling, blood sugar highs and lows, etc., etc. Labor and delivery is some of the hardest stuff you can go through. Taking care of a newborn, whether your first or 15th, is hard. Breastfeeding can be hard. Raising a child is hard. Nothing to do with a baby is not hard.
Confession #2: Having a baby is one of the best things you can do
Even though it’s stinking hard, and it’s literally one of the craziest things you can do, having a baby is off the charts on the scale of worthwhile things you can do with your life. It makes you question literally every little thing you thought you knew and takes you to heights of joy you couldn’t even imagine. There is literally nothing like a little ones purely innocent giggle, or a baby’s first smile. There’s nothing like looking at your little one knowing that through you God brought this sweet, angelic, hard thing into the world.
Confession #3: Your body is going to change
On to some basics. Everyone pretty much knows pregnancy is going to change your body. Believe it. Even if you’re an athlete and plan on being within mere pounds of your pre-pregnancy weight the moment you give birth (please don’t), your body is going to look and feel and be different. Both of my pregnancies I gained between 25-30 pounds. Breastfeeding dropped the remaining pounds after birth pretty quickly with my first (way too early to tell with my 2nd), but my body was still different. I have beauty (aka: stretch) marks now, and my hips are different from carrying two babies. I had diastasis (the stretching and separating of the abdominal muscles) from my first baby, and never got around to correcting it before getting pregnant with my second so I’m sure it’s more advanced now and will be a bigger task to tackle when I am able to get back to exercising.
Confession #4: Your body is incredibly amazing
I don’t care what kind of pregnancy, labor or delivery you had, your body just did astounding things. You grew another human within you. You brought that sweet, sweet baby into the world. Your body now makes food that is made up of exactly what your little miracle needs. That extraordinarily magnificent thing your body just did was perfectly orchestrated and planned by our Creator. It’s not something to take for granted or abuse.
Confession #5: You’re going to go through ups and downs
Having a baby is not only hard on your physical body, it’s hard on your hormones and emotions. With such huge life changes and different demands now, you’re going to have higher highs and possibly lower lows. Just know that that is normal and make sure you communicate to your hubby and loved ones if things are feeling low. Don’t suffer alone, and don’t try to hide what’s going on inside. Postpartum depression is real and can be severe. One way to fight it is by being open and honest with those who care, most especially your hubby. I wrote a whole other post on PPD just for him. There are also some other ideas here if you think you might be struggling with it. Not all mamas have PPD, but most agree there is a transition getting back to ‘yourself’ after pregnancy and birth.
Confession #6: Being ‘Mama’ changes you
Some people think they will stay exactly who they were, only with a mini-them tagging along now. That’s not what I’ve found to be true. Motherhood changes you. Not only physically, emotionally, hormonally, but also all your presets. Suddenly your heartstrings are tugged harder if you hear a crying baby and you snap to attention in case it’s yours. You don’t just go out on a date now without worrying about how baby will handle your absence, if you need to bring a pump, if you left enough food, if baby will take the bottle ok, if your routine is going to change too much and if baby will sleep ok tonight, etc., etc., etc. And running ‘normal’ errands like grocery shopping or going to the mall is suddenly more about diaper bags, feeding/sleep schedules, if you have enough burp cloths, diapers, wipes and back-up clothes packed, and if everything will fit around the stroller. Life is no longer about you and your hubby, your schedule, when you want to do what. But that’s ok. This is a great exercise in learning how to put others first, and God gave us wonderful grace because when you become ‘Mama’ and ‘Daddy’, your first instincts are suddenly to do what is best for your little one/s anyway. 😉
Confession # 7: Life will change
You know how getting a puppy changes things? You no longer can just up and decide to go on a weekend trip. You have to get up in the night to let them outside. You have to clean up messes and accidents. Property gets destroyed and even tho it’s annoying, you put up with it and try to train them so that when they are grown they are manageable and enjoyable.
Thinking about it, that’s a lot like having a baby. Except the let them outside at night part (please don’t). 😛 Everything about life now means something totally different, and inherently better, than it did before.
So, Mama and Daddy, I know things can be hard. Toddlers and little ones can drive you to edge of your sanity, then throw you back the other way when they innocently tackle your legs while giggling and wanting to play. This is the best, and I think it’s some of the best stuff you can find on this earth.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Matthew 19:14 (NIV)
So try, during all those difficult moments, to really look at your child and realize what a precious human being you’ve been entrusted with to raise. And praise God with me that He promises to never leave or forsake us, even during those moments we feel like throwing ourselves on the ground and cry-screaming. 😉