August 24, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Sometimes things just don’t happen the way we expected. In fact, this is true so often for me that I wonder why I even bother predicting how things will go! For example…

Harder than I ever expected

  • Establishing breastfeeding.  Shouldn’t something so “natural” come naturally to us?  Holy cow. So hard the first time.  So many contraptions (nipple shield, syringe, pump, etc.) to get us going.  But it was so worth the agony of those first days/weeks and easy peasy with babies #2, #3, #4.
  • Healing from giving birth.  OUCH.  How come nobody ever tells soon-to-be moms about the weeks of agony down below when you have stitches? So glad I was able to avoid that agony with babies #2, #3, #4.
  • Adjusting to life with a first baby.  Wow.  Sleep deprivation was killer.  The overwhelming responsibility of caring for another person 24-7 was, well, overwhelming.  This transition was one of the hardest things I’d ever been through.  But we did it with the love and help of wonderful people around us.
  • Waiting for a “late” baby.  After three “early” births, waiting until five days post-EDD for baby #4 was tough!  It really gave me respect and awe for women who go to 42 weeks.  Ladies, you amaze me!  And, actually, I am grateful I was able to have that waiting experience.  Hang in there, if you’re waiting as we speak… that baby WILL arrive.  You are NOT broken!
  • After pains.  Another thing nobody tells you about… wowza.  And they get more intense with each baby, in my experience. Some of them are surprisingly like labor.  Be warned, soon-to-be mommas!  You think the hard stuff ends once the placenta’s out, but that uterus is going to keep contracting for a few days, especially when you’re nursing. Fun times. :-)

Easier than I ever expected

  • Being married.  With divorced parents and four siblings married before me, I definitely wasn’t going into matrimony with “rose-colored glasses.” I had seen and learned that marriage was HARD WORK… not some fairy tale like you see in the movies.  Then, after being married for awhile, I kept thinking, “When does it get hard?”  Ten years later, I’m still asking myself the same thing.  I am quite certain I owe it all to the man I married.  He is a saint.
  • Giving birth.  Once it was over, I kept thinking to myself, “That was it?!”  Sure, it was hard, but not nearly as hard as I had expected it to be.  You can do it, ladies!
  • Adjusting to life with baby #2 and baby #3.  All my worst fears about my older children “freaking out” or my being unable to juggle everything were unfounded.  The older kids always loved their new sibling, and I had plenty of love to go around too.  (Adjusting after baby #4 was kind of crazy though! Whew! Glad we’re past that.) :-)
  • Sleep sharing.  Babies are supposed to sleep in their own beds, right?  A baby in your bed means nobody gets any sleep, right?  Ha ha. Almost eight years ago, I discovered that bringing my baby to my bed was actually the only way I was going to get any sleep.  She spent most of the first weeks of her sleeping-life right on my chest, listening to my breath and heartbeat.  And I’ve brought all my babies to bed with me since.

How about you? What was harder/easier than you expected?