|There's more than one reason they refer to it|
as "expecting" - but how much of being a parent
is as we expected?
In retrospect, I think it was the emotional component. There is a part of me that thinks that, perhaps, it's impossible to tell someone else what things will be like because we all bring different stories, perceptions, strengths and weaknesses to the table.
I recently wrote a post for one of my sisters-in-law who was about to become a mom of twins. I concentrated on a lot of practical things - getting help, getting rest, not needing two of everything and so on. I touched less on the emotional aspect of things. Perhaps that's because I was not sure there was anything new I could add to what has been written about the enormity of becoming a parent. But now another sister-in-law is about to have her first baby and I can't help thinking about this time in my own life and what I wish I had heard someone say to me. So maybe this is for my sister-in-law, and maybe it is also for me. It is definitely for you, if you needed to hear this, too.
Dear soon-to-be mama (or papa),
|Our daughter at 2 weeks old|
I am so excited for you. This is such an amazing time; in just a few days your life will be totally different. You will be more tired than you ever have been, you will feel more love than you can ever possibly imagine, you will feel totally incompetent one minute and on top of the world the next. It is a crazy, beautiful time. Be kind to your partner; it's especially hard for new dads as we moms get quite territorial about the new love in our life. We think we know it all and know it best and can be impatient and bossy.
Remember that much of what you are feeling after birth is hormonal and it will normalize soon. If you feel depressed, tell people. If you need help, speak up. If you want to complain and even if you want to say you are miserable, tell someone. And when you want to brag about your beautiful baby and talk about how much you adore her and show picture after picture, I hope you have a person who will listen for as long as you want to talk.
|My husband and our son, 2 weeks |
into the parenting process
You will suddenly have a new found understanding of why recycling and reducing your carbon footprint are so important. You will learn every line to every Raffi song ever written. You will hear yourself saying things your parents said and you will also do so much that is different. You will find your own way. You will heal old wounds. You will uncover ones you didn't know you had.
You will have days when you question how you could ever think you had the stuff it takes to be a good mom. You will have days when you can't believe the gloriousness of your life compared to what it was before. Your marriage will change. Your body will change. Hopefully you will learn how to accept both in their new form.
You will be a brilliant mom. Trust your gut, don't let people push you into doing things that don't feel right to you. There are a million "experts" out there, but you are the only expert on your child. Listen to what people suggest, throw away what doesn't resonate for you and keep the rest. Do what works for you.
I believe our babies choose us and it is through those wise little souls trusting their lives to us that we all have the opportunity to become who we are meant to be. So remember, you are exactly the parent your baby needs.
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