Thursday, 23 May 2013

Six Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Had Kids

When I first thought seriously about having kids, I wasn't naive enough to think it would be all cuddles and kisses and proud-parent moments...but there are some aspects of parenting that you don't truly understand until you go through them yourself. 

Today, I'm going to share a few things that I would have liked to have known in advance.

6. Pregnancy is no picnic. I enjoyed seeing the baby during the ultrasounds, feeling those little kicks and punches, and eating whatever I felt like, justifying it with, "The baby wants it!". But I was not one of those glow-y women who really enjoys the experience of pregnancy. Most of the time, I resented the fact that this tiny being was taking over my body, governing my decisions (no wine! no coffee!), making me feel sick and sapping my energy.

5. Breastfeeding may not work for you...and that's okay. In a previous post, Why I'm Still Nursing, I described my struggles with breastfeeding my first baby. I wasted a ridiculous amount of time and energy worrying about it—but guess what? My formula-fed baby turned out just fine. How you feed your baby is your choice and no one else's. If you can't nurse or you don't want to, ditch the mom guilt and cut yourself some slack.

4. You might hate having a newborn. It's hard to reconcile this one with those adorable sleepy newborns you see in photos around the doctor's office, but most of the moms I know agree with me. The fact is, those first few months of constant demands and no sleep are tough. Really tough. And yes, newborns sleep a lot, but it's never when you want to sleep. Which brings me to my next point...

3. Sleep deprivation does crazy things to you. During those early days of exhaustion, I would cry for no reason. I'd walk into rooms and forget why I was there. I'd misplace common words, and I couldn't concentrate on reading anything longer than a magazine article. All of these things conspired to make me feel like I was losing my mind...but actually, I was just tired. On the plus side, when your baby finally starts sleeping through the night, you'll feel as though you've achieved nirvana. Sleep is a beautiful thing.

2. You'll love your kids to pieces, but you won't always like them. Even though it's the greatest love you'll ever know, no one can frustrate you and push your buttons like your children can. And some of the phases they go through aren't enjoyable: for example, the epic tantrums of the terrible twos. Or threes. We're still working on this one.

1. Despite all of the above, you would do it all again—because now that they're here, you couldn't imagine life without them.

I'm sure there are more insights to add to this list, but I can't think of them right now. I'm just too tired.

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