If you've hung out in Bloggy World for any amount of time, you've probably seen at least a few "Things They Don't Tell You About Being a New Mom"-type posts. These lists talk about sleeplessness, the fact that you will be covered in bodily fluids, and how none of your clothes will fit you anymore. Before giving birth, I read these lists and was mildly terrified. After, I read some of these posts and related to many of the points. Too often, however, I feel like these same lists focus primarily on the not-so-fun aspects of new motherhood, and glaze over the super awesome, I-Can't-Believe-How-Lucky-I-Am parts. So today, that's exactly what I'm doing.
1. You will sleep. Not right away, and not as much as your pre-pregnant self did, but you will sleep and everything will be okay. This was one of my biggest fears- sleep and I go way back, but I'll let you in on a little secret: eventually, you do sleep. Charlie typically sleeps from 6:30pm-6:30am with about one nursing session at 3:00am. I go to bed around 11:00am and wake up at 5:00am. I know many babies his age aren't sleeping that much and I do count myself lucky, but even when he was waking up more frequently, I survived. These days, I average about 6 hours of (interrupted) sleep, but I'm managing so much better than I thought I would. You'll get used to it, I promise.
2. You will have to fight the urge to nibble on his/her fingers and toes. Seriously, I literally want to eat Charlie's face off every single day because he is the most adorable, delicious little human being on the planet (I may be biased). Every day I wake up thinking I can't possibly love him more than I do, and every day, I love him even more. I am absolutely obsessed with my little boy.
3. You will love staying in. As a homebody/introvert, this one obviously wasn't a huge adjustment for me, but even talking to my Mama friends with more exciting social lives, there will come a time when you will prefer to stay in with your baby and partner over the prospect of a party or girls' night. Nothing beats curling up with the loves of your life in cozy jammies on a Friday night. Nothing.
4. You do have Mama Bear instincts. Believe me, if me, the child-fearing weirdo has them, you do too. I can't explain it, other than it feels like this primal, biological need to do anything for your little bear cubs. I was told countless times to trust my motherly instincts and I didn't believe it. Let me tell you, the cliche is true. You will know your baby's cries. You will know when they need stimulation and when they need sleep. You will know exactly what to do to make them light up with the biggest toothless grin. You will know your baby.
5. You will have support. You will have to learn to ask for it, but 99% of the time, there is a Mama in your life who has gone through this before and will jump at the chance to give you a hug, some much-needed advice or just a "solidarity, sister." I know the "Mommy Wars" do exist, but in my experience, most Mommies are loving, supportive and will be there for you in a flash.
6. You will creepily watch them sleep. For minutes, even for hours. There is nothing more precious than a sleeping babe and you will lie there with them in complete ecstasy until your arm feels like it will fall off.
7. You will cry all the time. I know this one sounds bad, but it's totally not. Just thinking about this magnitude of a blessing in your life will drive you to tears on the regular. Watching birth scenes (even the cheesy ones) will make you bawl, because you finally get it: this miracle of life is absolutely amazing, and you have had the opportunity to experience is firsthand.
8. You will realize you have everything you need to raise a baby. Baby showers and registries are completely overwhelming for a first-time Mom, but honestly, you'll learn real quickly that babies don't need as much as you think they do. Sure, you'll blow through dozens of packages of diapers and wipes, and it's not a bad idea to spring for a crib. But mostly, what your baby needs, is you.
9. Your partner will help, if you let them. Chuck loves being a Daddy, and actually loved being on diaper duty when Charlie was a teeny, tiny newborn because it was his opportunity to feel like he was really contributing at a time when it feels like the bulk of the parenting responsibilities fall to the Mom. Let your partner step in and resist the urge to micromanage their every move. They will get their Papa Bear instincts, too, it might just take them a little longer to get there.
10. You will love like you have never loved before. Fo realz. Cheesy, but it's true.