Babies | Expectations Vs Reality
Being pregnant with your first child is a truly exciting experience. And part of what makes it so lovely is imagining how life will be with your baby and the new and special things you will share together.
And when you become a parent, there certainly are a million wonderful things you’ll experience, without a doubt. However, there are many things that won’t be quite like you pictured, because babies don’t tend to comply with our imaginings and life together rarely looks like a perfect Instagram post.
Here are a few examples of how the reality of life with a baby can be very different from our expectations of it...
“I will glow with new life. My hair will shine, my nails will grow and people will shower compliments over me while offering to make me cups of tea.
My body will be treated as a temple for my baby and me, and I will eat a healthy, vegetable-filled diet, do daily pregnancy yoga, take gentle walks and sleep 9 hours a night. I will bask in sweet, gentle kicks from my compact baby bump.”
“I am exhausted, nauseous and continuously craving chips. The only thing I’m glowing with is oily skin and people regularly ask if I’m ill or expecting triplets. (They seem to forget the tea making or compliments part.) I wake approximately seventy billion times a night due to my bladder, back ache, heartburn or a foot wedged in my ribs, and the only exercise I have the energy for is walking to the fridge.“
On the first two weeks after baby arrives
“I will be rested by the time I leave the hospital and too in love with my new bundle to feel anything but exhilaration and happiness. My baby will feed by my chosen method and sleep lots in between, plenty of time to rest and enjoy the first two weeks of family life while my partner is on paternity leave!”
“Ow. Ow. Ow. Yes, I am very in love with my newborn, but it doesn’t detract from feeling ever so slightly like I’ve been hit by a bus. And I AM SO TIRED after sleeping for approximately 17 minutes in total while in hospital. My baby wants to feed more than I thought it was possible to, and also appears to be nocturnal. It is lovely having two weeks together but I also feel a tad furious when my partner tells me he’s tired WHEN I HAVE BEEN UP ALL NIGHT AGAIN!"
On napping and routines
“I will have so much time when I’m on maternity leave! When my baby sleeps, I can grab 40 winks and then catch up on housework. I’ll probably use nap time to go shopping or for lunch with friends regularly too, it will be like a long holiday!”
“I feel there has been some false marketing about this whole nap thing. Sure, my little one needs to sleep lots, but that doesn’t mean he won't put up a fight. He’s also a fan of waking up every time I put him down and changing the time of his nap and its length about 50 times a month.
HOW AM I EVER MEANT TO PLAN ANYTHING? I haven’t napped ONCE when he has, and the reality of a relaxed lunch with a napping baby is a sick joke. Like a holiday? WIll I ever feel relaxed again?!”
On sleeping through the night
“I know the early weeks will be tiring but I’ve been tired before! It will probably just feel like I’ve had a night out, and anyway, this stage will be over before I know it. I’ve heard babies start sleeping through from 8 weeks.”
“Ha! Hahahahaha. Excuse me pausing for a moment to laugh hysterically at the thought of my baby sleeping through from 8 weeks. Although, at least the laughter makes a change from my exhausted weeping. Between sleep regressions, teething, wind, hunger and just good old NOT settling, we clearly missed the visit from the sleeping-through-the-night fairy. YAWN.”
On dropping the baby weight
“I think the weight just falls off once the baby arrives, between walking the pram, feeding and the exercise I’ll be able to do during nap time. I’ll also be having a really healthy diet, obviously. No more eating for two!”
“Maternity clothes are for AFTER the baby arrives too, right? If I have ANY free time during the day, an exercise video is the last thing on my mind - I’m lucky if I have time or energy to sort the piles of washing.
I can barely make a cup of tea, never mind make a salad. Eating a doughnut while rocking my baby to sleep now constitutes a meal and exercise combined, and takeaways are default when we’re too tired to cook.”
But... baby makers, do you know something? This is real life and it’s all ok. You’ve grown, carried, nurtured and looked after a whole human life. You and your body are awesome, in or out of stretchy leggings, regardless of your routine (or lack of) and how your little one naps.
Anyway, baby cuddles, Netflix and comfy pyjamas are what maternity leave is really all about, right?
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