parenting · surprises

Things I Wish I Had Known…

So…I’m all about being informed and educated. I love school, learning, reading, etc. I read baby books and your blogs and all sorts of things about babies. I talked to my friends with babies (which is, face it, everyone) and listened to what they had to say. But there are things I wish I had known before it took me the past week to figure them out.

I’m not posting this to scare people – I just thought maybe I might be able to give someone a “heads up” that I could have used 🙂

Further more, I am NOT complaining – I am loving every minute of being Little Man’s mommy!! Again, my goal here is to educate!

I Wish I Had Known…

1) How utterly and completely exhausted I would be. I heard about the lack of/interrupted sleep. What I didn’t know about was the change in my quality of sleep. I wake up frequently just to make sure Little Man is breathing, and I wake up with every little sound he makes. No one (including me) can accurately explain to someone who hasn’t been there just how tired you will be.

2) How sleeping while the baby sleeps is easier said than done. Yes, I know I should lay down & rest while Little Man is sleeping. However, he is on a 2 1/2 hour feeding schedule. Here’s how that translates:
7:00 – bottle & diaper change
7:30 – cuddle & awake time
8:15 – nap
9:30 – start over
So…at most, I would get 1 hour & 15 minutes of sleep IF I laid down and IF I fell asleep immediately. However, I see needs around the house and think, “Oh, it’ll only take 10 minutes to put in the laundry.” That leads into something else into something else into something else, and suddenly Little Man is awake and we start over again.

3) How utterly incompetent I would feel at the beginning. Dressing a squirmy little guy is hard, and it’s worse when he’s screaming because he hates being naked and cold. Diapering a little guy who has a raw circumcision is hard, and it’s worse when he’s screaming because he hates being naked, cold and having vaseline smeared on his little wound. Knowing how many layers is too many or not enough takes some practice. Wondering if I’m paying enough attention to him takes some practice. Wondering if it’s okay, after interacting with him for almost an hour, to put him in his crib because he likes his little aquarium with nature sounds. I’m getting there, but as I keep saying to Little Man, “Dude, there’s a learning curve here. Give Momma a break!” Wish I could give myself a break.

4) How I wish people wouldn’t come visit. That’s a fine line. Of course I want Little Man’s family to see him and love him, and how do you say to people, “You can’t come over” when they’re bringing dinner so I don’t have to cook? But how much do I wish it was just the three of us…

5) How I hate having a messy house AND I don’t think anyone else can clean it the right way. This has never bothered me before – I’m certainly not a perfect housekeeper, and my house has never been picture perfect. But after a few days of being basically housebound, the dog hair, the dust and the clutter was getting on my last nerve. So instead of sleeping…I cleaned. And I actually felt better! But I should have laid down 🙂

6) How wonderful a blessing it is to have friends & family bring meals. I have taken meals to new moms for almost 10 years now, but I had no idea what a true blessing it is. The second night we were home my good friend brought over dinner. We sat down to eat and I burst into tears because I was SO glad I didn’t have to cook. If you don’t have people who can bring you meals, I am sorry. Try & cook & freeze some before baby comes, because you certainly won’t want to cook when baby gets home!! Or quickly join a church! Our small group is doing meals the rest of this week and then my school is doing the next two weeks. HUGE blessings…

7) How emotional I would be. I cry at everything now. Meals (as mentioned above), commercials, moments alone with Little Man, moments when Little Man is crying & I don’t know why, during worship at church…everything. And on the other hand, I totally lose it over my husband’s dumb jokes – I laugh a lot, too.

8) How much laundry one little body can generate. Holy crap. It’s like one full load every other day. I’m sure it didn’t help that there were diapers he peed out of, but seriously…blankets, sleepers, clothes, burp clothes. And it will only increase here shortly when we begin using cloth diapers.

9) How much my back and wrists would hurt. My back hurts from leaning over and picking up little man, from wearing him in a sling, from doing laundry. My wrists hurt from cradling him and holding the little bottles.

10) How amazing and overwhelming it is to be responsible for this little person. I just stare at him, and I just love him SO much.  He is beautiful and wonderful and perfect and amazing and every other superlative you can list. I am overwhelmed by the responsibility, but I am loving every single minute of it. Even when I am utterly exhausted!

So…there are the top ten things I wish I had known. I cannot get over how perfect Little Man is and how much I utterly and completely love him.

I should go now – he’s asleep and I should be, too!!!

12 thoughts on “Things I Wish I Had Known…

  1. I love this post – you have so accurately captured so much of what it's like those first few days and weeks! The thing is…even someone who is/was as well educated and informed as both you and I were when our babies came along can't really *KNOW* until they've experienced parenting a newborn first hand. Even the very best baby is overwhelming during that stage.

    In my case, I thought I knew everything. Not to sound conceited, but I had been around and cared for A LOT of babies for A LOT of years, and I've studied child development A LOT. I thought it would all be a piece of cake for me! I'm sure my learning curve has been easier than some, but still…I had another thing coming! 🙂

    And I totally feel you on the emotional thing. I cried every single day for the first month of Charlie's life. Sometimes I still cry when I look at him, during those tender moments with just the two of us. But trust me when I say it does get better!

    Huge virtual hugs for you, friend! I can't wait to see more pictures of your little man (because you need more things to do, right??) and hear more about your experiences through this very exciting time in your life!!

    Melba

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  2. Not sure if I've been on to say congratz or not on the Little Man, so CONGRATZ!!!

    I never could sleep while she slept either. Always something else to do.
    On the layers, I read that unless it's summer and really hot out to dress them in one layer more then you would need. I've stuck to that rule and felt like she's always been pretty well clothed.
    We lived off of boxes of cheez its and such. Whatever wouldn't make a lot of noise and required no cooking. Part of it all and no one brought us anything. So glad you have all that support, but I do understand the wanting to be just the 3 of you. It's something you've waited for.

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  3. If this post doesn't speak the truth I don't know what does!!!! I can relate to ALL TEN! And it does come as a surprise. After Little Bug came along I wrote on my blog that especially people who have gone through infertility believe (falsly) that once baby arrives life is suddenly a bed of roses all. the. time. It is simply not so!! I guess we just tend to think only of the holding and cuddling of our baby without thinking about the sleepless nights and poop explosions that come along with those cuddles 🙂

    Over the past 7.5 months I have learned that motherhood is the most esasperating AND the most exilerating role I have ever had in life.

    It is GOOD for people who go through infertility and then have a baby (through pregnancy or adoption) to write REAL LIFE posts like this.

    PS: I havent forgotten about writing you about Babywise through email 🙂

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  4. Thanks for the tips girl! I know the sleep is a big one…and there is no way to truly prepare myself on how that will be…but I'll take your word for it!

    I'm going to cook and freeze some meals next week, thanks for that tip!

    And I'm thankful that our adoption is out of state only because for about 10 days, we will have him by ourselves, completely away from family and friends, and it's important to us to have that bonding time. And–we don't have to ask people not to come over, which is nice too! But once we are cleared to come home…have mercy! It's going to be crazy!

    Keep passing on the tips!!

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  5. My guess is that none of us have any clue until we're in the middle of it. Of course going through infertility and adoption I think it's easier for us to think it'll be all sunshine and rainbows once baby comes home. In reality, it's just beginning! Thanks for the honest reminder. 😉

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  6. I swear I could have wrote that myself when Lily was first born! I remember being so frustrated that noone ever told me these things that surprised me so. You captured it perfectly! Congrats! It WILL get easier in time…the first year was not my favorite but after that has been so much fun!

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  7. Yes, I remember this!!! Especially the lack of sleep. I could not believe how little sleep I got, and yes, I would not take naps when she did, cause I had so much to do!! I am determined, when our next time comes, that I will ask for someone to watch him/her occasionally so I can get at least an hour nap a couple times a week!

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  8. I FEEL YOUR PAIN! The lack of sleep was the hardest for me too! The first three months…just hold out for the first three months….my mom told me it would get better after that and it did.

    Don't stress yourself out about the house…everyone understands and no one cares but you.

    I cried every day too. My arms would start to shake from it all.

    I too felt shocked…OMG… they let me take him home…now what?

    God bless….count the days through the next 3 months….cereal in the formula makes a BIG difference….GOD BLESS!

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  9. You are so right on! What's strange is that I suffer from anxiety, and I kind of OVERprepared for the emotions I'd feel. I was sure I'd be so exhausted I'd want to perish, so overcome with depression that I'd want to throw Reid across the room, and my back would be in so much pain that I'd have to have someone else come to care for him.
    When those things weren't as bad as my over-anxious mind made them out to be, I was thrilled! Although I will say I did a LOT of napping. lol That may have helped with all of those things. Get thee to sleep, woman! 🙂

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  10. #5 and #8 are my living thoughts every day. 🙂 Just the other day I told hubby, “I realize that the disaster that has befallen the house obviously isn't bothering you, but it's killing me. You need to take him somewhere for the day so I can REALLY clean.” And it felt SO good when I was done. Tiring…yea. Good…oh yea.

    Man, it's like running a triatholon EVERY SINGLE DAY…with no breaks.

    See ya at the next check point!
    Erica

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