There are lots of cliches that I heard when I was pregnant. At least once a week I would hear one of the following phrases, even from complete strangers. It sounded like these were universal truths that everyone believed, but what did they really mean?
What they say: Enjoy every moment, because it goes by fast.
What was true for me: If you can, find beauty in every day. Smile if you can, but if not, it’s perfectly OK to cry. A lot.
If you have the energy, be present in the moment. Look down at your little baby and be amazed that you made that. Study her ears, her eyelashes, her cheeks, her birthmark, her fingernails, her belly button and her little feet. (Oh, those perfect little baby feet. Those got me through a lot of hard days.)
And if you don’t have the energy, don’t sweat it. Babies are forgiving. Sometimes The Price Is Right seems more interesting than your newborn. One day you will wake up and your baby is now 2 months old and you wish you could get some of those hours back. But you did what you had to in those moments to get through the day. Because sometimes you have to get away from it all to really appreciate it.
What they say: These will be the best years of your life.
What was true for me: These may be the best years of your life, but it probably won’t feel like it at first. You may wonder why you ever wanted kids in the first place. That, if you would have known what it was really like, you maybe wouldn’t have done it. (I remember trying to fall asleep the night she was born and thinking, Eric and I had such a good thing going, why did we ruin it?! But now, two months later, I get it. We love our little family so much.)
What they say: Sleep when the baby sleeps.
What was true for me: Sleep when the baby sleeps, but you’ll really wish you could sleep whenever she doesn’t want to. Those are the moments that wear you down.
What they say: Never wake a sleeping baby.
What was true for me: Never wake a sleeping baby, unless she is not back up to her birth weight. Then, unfortunately, you have to wake her up every few hours at night even when she wants to sleep longer. It feels wrong, because it kind of is.
What they say: You won’t remember what it was like before baby.
What was true for me: Oh, I remember. And we still get glimpses of our old life when we put Roo to bed or when we are at work. But I definitely feel different now. I feel like a mom and even when I am out and about without her, I feel a greater sense of purpose. That is not to say that my old life was meaningless or that if you don’t have kids or don’t want kids that your life is not as awesome as mine. I don’t want anyone to feel that way at all. There are ups and downs. I haven’t forgotten what it was like before, but it would be very hard for us to go back to that now that our hearts know what it’s like to be parents.
Do you agree/disagree? What would you add to this list?