When I used to think about motherhood, I have to admit I was scared about the level of sacrifice required. You give up your body to grow a baby; you give up all your vices, because they’re bad for baby; you give up your social life because you need to care for your baby. It turns out, however, I was only partly right. While it might not seem like it to a non-parent, many of the sacrifices we make for babies are so worth it. Because the thing is, once you’ve got that little one in your arms — the little one you've been working hard for and anxious to meet — the rest of the world kind of slips away.
That’s not to say that you won’t care about some of the things you’ll be missing out on. It’s just more like your FOMO levels will go from 75 percent to about 25 percent, respectfully. Your priorities simply shift and go from buying that [insert whatever you used to spend most of your money on here] or making it to that amazing once-in-a-lifetime event, to making sure your baby is warm and snuggly before bed and getting just the right amount of cuddles in every morning. And, of course, it's totally cool and you don't mind.
I also learned that while a level of sacrifice is required of all parents, so is a constant level of self-care. I can't take care of my baby and make the sacrifices necessary to ensure his safety and security and happiness, if I'm not at my best and well and rejuvenated. So, yes, there's some sacrifices involved, including the following, but that doesn't mean I'm a martyr. So, with that in mind, here's what you can expect to "give up" in the name of your newborn, that's more than totally worth it.
You Forego Sex (And Even Masturbation)
This is a given for mamas that gave birth. More likely than not, you'll be told you can't have sex for at least a few weeks postpartum, and odds are that you’ll continue to be sex-free after that six weeks has passed.
Some of us experience birth injuries, others experience birth traumas, and others are simply slower to heal (whether it be a vaginal delivery or a c-section). Your sex drive will often plummet as well, usually due to hormones, and even if you didn’t give birth yourself, it will also often drop due to general grumpiness and lack of sleep (which all parents experience).
You Frequently Skip Those Long, Luxuriating Baths
Showers are a luxury when you become a parent. You will not be hanging in your tub with some bath bombs. You will not be exfoliating or using fancy soaps. You will run in, hit the necessary areas, and run out.
Parties? What Are Those?
Invitations to birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, bar mitzvahs, engagement parties, networking mixers, alumni events, tailgates; they will go unopened and unanswered. Some folks won’t understand, but you will. You will but much too exhausted to attend 90 percent of events you’re invited to. Parents of newborns know it’s just much easier to Netflix and chill, and by chill we mean pass out from sheer exhaustion on the couch.
You Still Stay Off Alcohol
After having my son, I know that I will never drink the same way again, (which is probably a good thing). See, my body just doesn’t take to booze the way it used to. Also, I simply can’t afford to be hungover in any way when my kid wakes up and wants to play. A beer or two is fine, but a night of cocktails is definitely not for me.
Clean Clothes, Because You Know You’ll Be Coated In Spit-Up In No Time
It’s not that you’re doomed to only ever wear old, ratty clothing. However, as a parent to a newborn, you know better than to bust out your brand new, price tag-heavy coat or skirt. Spit up and other fun accidents are commonplace at this point. Save them for when you have school-aged children.
Dangling Earrings, Because Ouch
My jewelry collection used to have tons of dangling earrings. This stopped after I had my son, who loved to reach for them while nursing and bottle feeding. I was able to start again as he got a little older, but now he’s a toddler and I value my earlobes too much to risk it.
Your Favorite Perfume
This isn’t always the case, but you might find yourself phasing out your perfumes. For one, your child might be allergic. For another, you might find you don’t enjoy the smell the way you once did because pregnancy does weird things to people.
Using The Bathroom With The Door Closed
When you have a newborn, you leave the door open so you can hear your baby if they need you. When you have a toddler, you leave it open because you want to avoid them having a total meltdown because you’re on the other side of the door. Basically, get used to peeing with an audience until they’re (I'm assuming, and please someone tell me I'm wrong) they're in high school? I don't know the answers, you guys.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “touched out?" I did when I started reading parenting articles late in my pregnancy. I didn’t understand it then, but it’s a real thing. You will no longer belong to just yourself, and your kiddo’s tiny (adorable) hands will be on you to remind you every hour of every day.
Personal Grooming, Because Who Has The Time?
Just like there’s no time for long baths, personal grooming often takes a step down at the newborn phase. Makeup, shaving, manicures, combing your damn hair; these things take time that we usually don’t have. Plus any extra money these days goes towards diapers.
Watching Gory, Violent, Or Otherwise Explicit TV Shows Or Movies
This one is kind of a gray area. This all goes out the window more as your child ages. I used to nurse while watching Game of Thrones, but I kept the sound extremely low and made sure my son faced away.
You might as well get used to it because it’s all over once they’re toddlers, though.
Loudly Listening To Your Favorite Songs With Curse Words
Speaking about the explicit stuff, you might have to alter what music you listen to for a while. Granted, newborns might be totally cool listening to Diplo or Dr. Dre but, eventually, you’ll want to stop since the curses are extreme.
Even if you don’t have a problem with so-called foul language, their preschool sure will so that’s something to think about.
Sleeping In (Or Just Sleeping At All)
Sleep. Ha. What is sleep to the parent of a newborn? Just enjoy your newfound insomnia and be done with it.
Staying Up Late For Something “Good”
At the same time, you will never, ever forego sleep just to stay up for a TV show or an event. It just won’t happen. You will cling to every chance you have to sleep, because you’ll seriously never appreciate sleep the way you do at this point in your life.