Things I Wish I Had Known About Being a Mom

Did you catch my other post awhile back about the things I wish I had known about being pregnant?

Pregnant Woman Before Giving Birth

I wasn’t sure how becoming a mom would change me, but it definitely has, probably in even more ways than I realize on my own. I do know that I am much more emotional. My heart is bigger and more full of love. My love for my husband has grown since seeing him as a dad and having him as my partner in raising another human being. Lastly (and surprisingly), I think my self-confidence has improved.

**Side Note** I started writing this post a few months ago and then saw a similar post on Kristen’s blog last month. No idea why this one sat in my drafts for so long! **End Side Note**

There are so many things I wish I had known (and a few I’m glad I didn’t) about being a new mom. I read some books and talked to many other moms before I had Connor, but some things you just learn for yourself regardless of how much you think you know. As Kristen mentioned in her post, it’s kind of a waste of time to read excessively about being pregnant (and especially about labor and delivery) because there is only so much you can control!

Mom to newborn baby boy

I’m sure the learning has just begun for me since I’ve only been a mom for 7.5 months, but obviously there are a lot of mental and physical changes that occur during pregnancy, during labor and delivery and after having a child. I’ll leave out some of the ickier details (you’re welcome), but I’ll share some of the less talked about things I wish I had known before experiencing them. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll help a new mom avoid a few frantic Googles. ;-)

What I wish I had known about being a mom!

  • Contractions were more painful than I would have thought, delivery was faster and easier than I would have thought (although I had an epidural…go ahead and judge if you want, but i sure don’t regret that!), and recovery was more painful than I would have thought. [All birth experiences are SO different…these were my thoughts from my particular experience!]
  • Your hair falls out at an alarming rate starting about 3 months postpartum. I’ll be 8 months postpartum soon and it’s still happening, although starting to slow down. Thank God because it’s hard enough to find time to keep the place clean without this little situation on my hands.
  • Mood swings don’t stop after you have the baby. Breastfeeding creates a monster. Now that I am no longer nursing, my mood has stabilized for the most part (not sure my husband would agree), but I find that I’m just more emotional. So many things, happy or sad, turn on the tears these days.
  • Speaking of breastfeeding (or exclusively pumping), you will be incredibly thirsty all the time until you stop.
  • Changing poopy diapers is really not that bad except when you’re in a public place with no easy access to a {relatively clean} changing table.
  • You’ll long for some alone time, but once you’re alone you immediately miss your baby.
  • Watching a movie becomes a bit of a luxury. We usually have to stick with DVR’d shows. The 30 minute ones are good since you can fast forward and get through it in 20 minutes. Going to the movies? Now that is a real luxury.
  • Trying to figure out what and when to feed your child can be fairly stressful. Their needs change so fast! I’ve had a few rough weeks with Connor where I had no idea what was going on, but then I realized he was just hungry. Even something as simple as when to introduce a sippy cup or when your child can have yogurt can be confusing/controversial!

Baby Drinking from Sippy Cup

One thing I’m glad I didn’t know is how incredible the love you have for your baby is. There is no way I could have known before having a child and honestly, I wouldn’t have wanted to. It’s the coolest thing in the world and something you must experience for yourself! There’s no way to explain it with just words.

I asked other moms for their help on this post. I got some great responses from the Twitter crew when I asked them what they wish they would have known about becoming a mom:

  • No matter what you do, you won’t feel like it’s good enough.
  • Sometimes bonding isn’t instant. It may take time, but that doesn’t make you a bad mom.
  • There is no ‘best way’. Just do whatever you think will work, and let the chips fall where they may.
  • People give SO much advice, but in a way I liked figuring things out for myself.
  • How hard it is to care for a newborn. Everyone tells you it’s hard and you get no sleep, but it was harder than I ever imagined in the beginning.
  • How difficult breastfeeding is. I knew it would hurt and be a challenge, but it is literally one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. It’s also one of the most rewarding.
  • How much I would love my son. I knew I’d love him of course, but I didn’t realize it was this all-consuming, unconditional love. However, I also didn’t know that I might not feel an instant connection or bond with him. I loved him right away, but I was so out of it and tired after delivery that it kind of felt like an out of body experience for me.
  • How much more anxious and worried I would be about my baby once he was no longer inside my body.
  • That some babies don’t do well on a rigid schedule and my son is one of them. He likes a more flexible, go with the flow kind of day. I love schedules, so this was hard for me.
  • That sometimes you won’t know what is wrong with your baby. He/she might just be fussy.
  • It’s okay to ask for or accept help. My mother in-law had the summer off so she was able to stay with us (my husband is legally blind & can’t help with some things like driving) for 5 weeks. For some new moms this might seem crazy, but she let me rest, did all the cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. I was able to heal much more quickly than anyone expected.
  • It’s okay to ask people to leave or to not visit, regardless of their relation to you. Your first few days and even months, you are getting used to your baby. It’s a lot of work and it’s exhausting.
  • Sometimes you’ll get frustrated when your baby is screaming and doesn’t seem to want anything you have and then dad comes home and he’s done screaming.
  • Just how hard it would be to lose the baby weight.
  • How many people would give me unsolicited advice. I want to tear them a new one sometimes, but I keep my cool for my baby’s sake. It’s a struggle.

I’m pretty sure she was still pregnant when I first asked for advice on this post, but since it took me so long to get this up, I’ll also mention that Jen posted shortly after having her baby how she was surprised by how much she missed her pregnant body. I can relate to that. You get so used to having your little one in your belly and with you at all times. It’s such a unique bonding experience.

You’ll see some themes above about being a new mom. It might take a bit for things to feel real. It’s not easy. It hurts. And most of all…it’s amazing and better than anything you have ever experienced before! :)

Mom and her baby boy

Moms…what surprised you about being a mom? What do you wish you had known beforehand?

Comments

  1. Margaret Williams says:

    Nice post Mandi! I could not believe the recovery time after giving birth. My hair has not started falling out (only when Rose pulls it out!) so I am not looking forward to that and did not know that was going to happen! I also totally agree with you and the poopy diapers, they are not as bad as you would think! I love snugging with Rosie and will be sad when she doesn’t want to as much as she does now. I hope we can get our little ones together sometime in the near future.

    • Yup – I was surprised by the recovery as well. Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones with the hair and it won’t fall out. Thankfully, mine seems to be getting better. Now I have all these new ones growing in so it looks really weird! Hope we can get together soon too! XO

  2. Seriously, being a mom is freaking HARD! But, you don’t know that unless you’ve actually experienced it! My BFF just had a baby a week and a half ago and she’s called me a few times just for advice and talking mom-stuff. We’ve discussed how hard breastfeeding is more than anything! And thanks for the shout out – I think you definitely addressed some stuff that I missed!

  3. This was an awesome post. So glad you waited to post it since I wasn’t reading your blog a few months ago.

    I have learned so much since becoming a mom. I agree, I miss being pregnant so much and would love to have another baby but one thing I have learned is that you will know when your family is complete. My little family of 4 is perfect. I have learned more about my husband because of the quirks of my daughters. The older the kids get, the more they turn into who they really are and you can really see where they came from. Again, love this post and thanks for sharing!

  4. Loved this post! I can relate on so many levels. Although I never dealt with hair loss – thankfully!

  5. sooo true! :) I never thought I’d be one of “those parents” who is constantly worried about their babies, doesn’t want to ever leave their side and misses(obsesses?) about them when they’re not next to me. Then I had my preemies :) haha oh well..parenting is a fun learning experience ;)

  6. There is NO WAY that I won’t be getting an epidural :)

    • Brooke – you’ll be surprised by how strong people’s opinions are about having an epidural vs natural birth. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work out the way you plan. You could progress too fast and not have time for one. Others who don’t want one may end up needing one for some reason or another! That said, I loved mine. ;-)

  7. This is an awesome post and I can relate to almost everything you said. Especially with how thirsty I am all the time! And I’ll admit that I didn’t bond instantly with my son but now I have and it’s amazing. I caught myself tearing up just playing with him the other day and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get to this point. I’m so happy that I have though. And yes, I want alone time but then I’m afraid I’ll worry like crazy when I get time alone haha!

    • Thank you Maria! That totally happens to me all the time. I tear up when he smiles at me or when I talk about him or something. You will worry like crazy, but you still need that time. :)

  8. This is an awesome post! I sent this to my sister Jen, who I think would appreciate it :) She’s at http://squashgirlphd.blogspot.com/

  9. So much has surprised me! That they don’t sleep! Chase only took 40 min naps for several months and people were trying to tell me to let him cry. That you would worry and stress about every little thing every second of the day and your husband would come home from work being away from your child for 10+ hours and would spend time sorting the mail. Oh! What noise they make when they are having trouble breathing! Of course I had no idea how much I would love him and want to spend all my time with him.

  10. Wow! What an awesome post. I know I’ll be using this info come July, so I am sending to my home email. I have a feeling I’ll be doing the same with your other what I wish I knew post!

  11. Loved this!!! Obviously, I’ve yet to become a legit mon…but once I do, I’m sure I’ll have a few bullet points of my own!

  12. I realize that kids are takers, as they should be, and that being a mom is the most selfless job in the whole world. I also realize that you really do miss them as babies when they get bigger and that as hard as it was caring for them as newborns you wish you could turn back time just to snuggle then as an infant one more time. Great post Amanda!

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