My mom always said that you can’t describe what it’s like to be a parent. She said some people understand a little more than others, but until you actually became a parent, you couldn’t imagine what it was like.
I find this is largely true. But I am not a woman of few words, so I think I might be able to find some words to describe it, in the form of what people said and what they didn’t mention.
They said I would lose sleep
True. I have lost sleep. Gone are the days, at least for a little while, of expecting to sleep for 8 hours in a row.
They didn’t say that I wouldn’t care about that a whole lot
I mean, yeah, I get cranky if I’m really tired, but I’m a whole lot less cranky when my daughter is happy! And yeah, I used to dread going to bed because I didn’t particularly prefer waking up every 2-3 hours, but you know, it’s actually not too terrible once you’re used to it. At 10 weeks, EV is actually sleeping through the night (5+ hour stretch), so maybe I’m not one to talk. But what I remember from the early days is that you might be frustrated, but you’re not any less willing to deal with it than if you were not tired.
They said I would be dealing with a lot of poo
Also, true. I mean, there is a whole other, if tiny, person living here who relies on me and her father to deal with her poop for her. It’s a lot more than I would deal with if, say, there wasn’t another tiny human who needed diaper changes.
They didn’t say it isn’t all that smelly or gross
At least, not yet. And actually, diaper changes are kind of fun in the Kramer house, because EV gets all smiley when it comes time to change. I realize there is an expiration date on this smelly thing (the day she eats solid food) but dealing with breastmilk poo is not bad at all. Speaking of breastmilk…
They said breastfeeding is the best option, and it’s not necessarily that easy
Yep. Establishing breastfeeding was more emotionally trying that labor! I’ve heard all kinds of stories about moms with nursing troubles, but…
They didn’t say it was an emotional roller coaster
At least, not super clearly. Some days, it is beautiful and loving and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Other days, gosh I just wish I didn’t have to be the only person who could feed her! But then, I like feeling needed, and then I get sad when I think about the possibility of having to leave. What if she starts liking the bottle more than me? What if I’m not giving her enough? What if she gets hungry and I didn’t leave enough milk? Oh, and on that note:
They said it would be hard to leave her
They didn’t say that the anticipation of leaving your baby for the first time feels like you’re waiting for your limb to be amputated
I left her for the first time last week, just for a few hours. Like 3. I cried for at least an hour straight. And then off and on until I actually had to go. It wasn’t that terrible, honestly, because I left her with my husband and you know, we have cell phones and stuff. But I greatly appreciate how lucky I am to be able to stay home with her. I also have an elevated sense of respect for single and working moms. They are superheroes and we should treat them as such. Really.
They said you never imagined loving someone so much
It’s hard to describe, this one. Especially if you’re like me and you truly love those around you deeply. But it’s different with your kid. Your kids rely on you, and that changes your connection with them.
They didn’t mention that there are so many moments that prove it
When she smiles, I’ve never been so happy.
When she needs me, I’ve never been so determined to help.
When I look in her eyes, I see this amazing little soul looking back.
When she does something new, it’s like I’ve never seen it before (partly because I haven’t seen her do it). It’s more impressive than if anyone else did it!
Nothing is more adorable than her sneezes, or her wide eyes of surprise, or even her itty bitty pouty face.
When she’s awake, I just stare, and when she’s asleep, I just stare. And it only partially is because she is such a beautiful creature. Most of it is because I am so amazed that she’s mine, that she exists as a product of me and her father, and that she is also completely her own person and she always has been. No one is like her.
And I think about her future more than my own. I think about who she will be and what she will say more than I think about really anything else.
And it hurts when she is hurting. It’s worse, way worse, if something bad happens to her instead of to me.
And you will never feel as guilty as you do if you are the cause of your child’s pain.
You do whatever it takes for them, without thinking twice.
When I look at other kids, when I think of other little ones that I’ve loved, it’s not the same. Bad taste to whoever said babysitting is the best birth control, because it’s not even close to comparable. It’s like saying… You know what, I can’t even come up with an appropriate analogy. Other kids are not your kid, so don’t let your experience with other kids be your guide.
It’s more amazing and worth it than I or anyone could ever describe. They did say that, and they were right.