Congratulations! You've been waiting for your baby to make their grand entrance into your life and now they're finally here. You've prepared your home, read your baby books, and built an impressive and adorable wardrobe for your little. Then you get them home and realize they haven't spent any time in the nursery you meticulously designed, you remember nothing from your reading, and they have pooped, peed, and spit up on all their clothes. There are things that happen during your baby's first week home that you never thought to plan for because, well, WTF is this madness?
I feel like all parents know that they're in for it when it's time to go home with their baby. The humble ones will openly admit that to friends in family who warn them of that fact. However, it can be damn near impossible to completely comprehend what that "it" actually is, because you can't know what you don't know. When it comes to child-rearing, what you don't know can knock you on your ass and leave you reeling until one day you come to and realize you're dancing with your child at their wedding. But hey, it can be really awesome, too! No seriously! Honestly! I swear! What are babies if not warm little blobs of cuteness and fat that you get to cuddle whenever you want because they're always down to cuddle?
In other words, that first week of your precious newborn's life will be filled with the unimaginable, and you'll have a lot going on. So yes, while every baby is different and every parenting experience is unique, I think it's a safe bet to at least attempt to prepare yourself for the following. I mean, it can't hurt, right?
You'll Spend A Lot Of Time Crying
For all the reasons. You'll cry because you love your baby so much. You'll cry because you don't know what you're doing. You'll cry because you love your partner. You'll cry because you just changed the baby's diaper and they pooped again. You'll cry because your boobs hurt. You'll cry because your life is so wildly different and that makes you happy, or terrified. You'll cry because you're exhausted. You'll cry because you saw a really cute picture of an otter.
When you're a week postpartum your life is upside-down and your hormones are a mess: tears are totally normal and not always a signal that things are bad.
You'll Be Overwhelmed
There's so much to learn and the stakes have never been higher. That in and of itself is overwhelming. In addition to the aforementioned, you're going to have to learn how to do everything one-handed with a shrieking baby in your arms. And if you gave birth, your body is still healing from that whole labor and delivery thing. There's a reason you're overwhelmed: it's overwhelming!
You'll Be Concerned That You're Actually Bleeding To Death
If you gave birth to your child, it doesn't matter how you did it, there will be blood. Lots of blood. Like, so much blood you'll be like, "OK, I probably definitely shouldn't be alive right now. Is this a Sixth Sense sort of 'I'm dead and I don't know it' scenario?"
Don't worry. Chances are it's totally normal. It's just, um, graphic.
You'll Be Bored AF
"But didn't you say I'd be overwhelmed?" you ask. Yep. It's weird. You're simultaneously going out of your mind with stress and bored to tears. Honestly, it's all about learning a new speed and way of doing things. Sometimes, doing what you're supposed to be doing means you're just kind of sitting there. Parenting an infant is incomparable to anything else you've done.
(Unless, perhaps, if you're a zookeeper hand-rearing baby pandas or something, in which case; can I have your job, please?)
You'll Get Super Into A TV Show
Because, again, you're just going to be sitting there a whole lot. Streaming services are a life saver.
You'll Marvel At Everything That Comes Out Of Your Baby's Butt
Because how does this one week old infant have the farts of a grown man? You'd figure tiny butt equals tiny farts, but no. They are the same volume and smell you could expect from an adult. (Bonus: if you fart you can just blame it on the baby.)
Of course I haven't even begun to discuss baby poop. It sounds gross to those who haven't been through it, but any new parent will assure you that you spend way more time contemplating and examining crap than you ever would have guessed.
You'll Try To Solve The Mystery Of Why You're So Exhausted, Even Though All Your Baby Does Is Sleep
You will fail. It's an eternal mystery.
You'll Discover Just How Much Laundry Is In Your Future
Infants DGAF about where their various body functions wind up. This usually means they end up somewhere on you (or them, or both). Unless you wander around naked all day, that's going to mean you're going to have a ton of laundry to do. If you cloth diaper, just save yourself some time and stick a washing machine in the middle of your living room, because between diapers, baby clothes, your clothes, and linens, you never won't be doing laundry for the next few years.
If You Have A Pet Or An Older Child, You'll Feel Guilty
After the birth of my first, I sobbed when I came home to my cat. (The cat, for his part, was a jealous and mean-spirited dick about it, which only made me feel worse.) After the birth of my second, I probably prolonged my recovery time by refusing to sit still for a minute, determined that my oldest would not feel neglected now that his baby sister had arrived. Even in week one, mom guilt is real, folks.
If You're Parenting With A Partner, You'll Work Hard To Establish An Equitable Division Of Labor (Or You'll Fight A Lot)
Or both. Sorry to be the bearer or bad news, but it happens. For what it's worth, the hard work is worth it, even if it leads to a few fights early on.
You'll Write Down Everything
When did they eat? How much? Did they wet their diaper? Did they poop? What did the poop look like? When did they nap? For how long? Did they make any weird noises? At what time? You will bring your little notebook to your child's first appointment at the pediatrician, where they will politely listen to everything you have to say about your extensive notes before likely saying, "Yeah, that's normal."
You'll Worry About Everything
Because WTF do you even know about babies at this point?! It's only been a week!
You'll Be Amazed If You Can Accomplish Anything At All
I quickly realized plans and tasks that once would've taken me ten minutes to accomplish, were going to be a full-day affair — sort through the mail, pay a bill, empty the dishwasher — and towards the end of my first week I realized, "That's OK." Once I managed my expectations I took a deep satisfaction in realizing them.
You'll Learn Things About Yourself You Never Could Have Imagined
You will draw on wells of strength you never knew you had. You may discover a kind of love you never knew possible. You could wind up staring into a bleak darkness and find yourself needing to reach out for help from your family and friends. It might be awesome, or terrifying, or both at once or alternatingly. Be open to the idea that you're going to be doing some level of self-reflection (whether or not you are even trying to).
You'll Wonder How You Made It So Long Without Baby Snuggles
Because OMG IT'S SO AMAZING! THEY'RE LIKE HUGS PERSONIFIED!