Friday, May 3, 2013

Prepared for Your New Baby? Just You Wait...

When I was expecting my first baby, I made all the typical preparations:  I read books, researched baby gear, created a baby registry, doubted myself and redid the registry, agonized over baby names, the list goes on.

I did these things because I am, by nature, a planner, but also because I believed that having a baby was kind of like entering a wild, uncharted frontier.  No matter how much planning or gear I took with me, there was no way for me to be prepared for what lay ahead.  It wasn't even the blind leading the blind; it was just me and my husband, blind and alone, and there would be no going back.  Ever.

Photo by Calsidyrose via Flikr under Creative Commons license

Other parents saying things like "Just you wait..." added to this feeling that I had no idea what I was getting into.  Yes, I knew that sleep was about to become a precious commodity.  Yes, I knew that my life was "going to change."  Yes, I knew that there would diapers and fevers and tantrums.  But, of course, I couldn't really know.

It was all very ominous.  I felt that I had to temper any excitement with "But of course, it's probably going to be awful" so no one would think I was being unrealistic.  But you know what?  In retrospect I can see how unrealistic I actually was.

Because it wasn't awful.  It isn't awful.  All the reading and researching and purchases did help.  Sure, there have been surprises.  I'm going to be honest, there were also some really dark moments (I hope to share more about this at a later time).  I thought it would be challenging, and it was.  But through it all, I was prepared"
  • When the first fever happened, I was frightened, but I also had baby acetaminophen in the drawer.
  • When sleep wasn't happening, I was exhausted, but I also improvised and dug in and survived.
  • When the first signs of post-partum depression crept in, I felt hopeless, but I also remembered what I had read and started treating it like the monster it is.
In short, I was prepared.  At least, as prepared as you can be for anything in life.  There are always surprises.  You are going to have to think on your feet and make a new plan.  But, no matter what it is, you deal with it.  Knowledge and tools help you do this.  If you be prepared for a camping trip, you can be prepared for a baby.  That is my two cents.

All that being said, though, there is one thing I was truly not prepared for.   I had heard parents go on and on about the love for their children.  Oh, the love!  I was not prepared for the magnitude of the love that would grow in my heart a little more every day.

But I was least prepared for how much I would like my kids.  Truly.  They are a blast to hang out with.  Every moment isn't sunshine and unicorns, but I genuinely enjoy spending my waking hours with them, and this gets stronger as they get older.  My son is almost two.  He is hilarious and innovative and cautious.  Saul is slowly learning to talk, and I cannot wait to have conversations with him (and somewhere out there, a parent is saying "Just you wait... soon he won't shut up" and I don't care).  And now that little boy has a little sister.  I can't wrap my mind around it all.

Think you're prepared for the blessings that await you?  Just you wait... 


  1. I love this! In some ways, I feel like I was unprepared for how hard motherhood would be emotionally. Physically, yes. Emotionally? Some days, it's just hard. Some days, your toddler bites you and runs in front of cars and you cry in the car. (Not anyone I know, of course. Cough.)

    And then yes, some days I'm surprised but how much I just like them. My daughter is 4 1/2 and hilarious. Some times she drives me NUTS but the older she gets the more fun she is to just hang out with. It's awesome.

    1. Thanks! I totally agree that it's hard to know what to expect, and I don't want to give new moms the impression that it's a piece of cake. I do feel, though, that they hear plenty of the doom and gloom about it, and I think that's oversold as well.

      And I have definitely been bitten once or twice, though so far no parking lot escapes. I'm sure it's just a matter of time. Thank you so much for reading and saying hello! =)