It's easy to assume you know everything there is to know about motherhood before you become a mom. You get the books and do the research and form your own view of parenthood without the complication of, you know, real life. And depending on how you were raised, you'll either lean on your parents as examples of what to do or, in some cases, what not to do. There's no denying, though, that the first six months of motherhood will teach you things about your own mother that you never would have learned any other way. In the end, you can't appreciate everything your mother went through — good, bad, or indifferent — until you become a mom yourself.
My mom had me a few weeks after she turned 22. She had zero experience caring for children, was completely unsure of her future, and was in no way prepared to be pregnant. Still, she was determined to be a mom. As a child, oblivious to the sacrifices loving parents make on a daily basis, I took for granted everything she did and, especially, everything she endured after her divorce. As a single mother she did whatever she had to so she could provide for my brother and I, and more often than not her efforts went unnoticed. It's a tale as old as time, really: a woman's self-sacrifices are considered par for the course, while the same efforts made by men are championed and celebrated and highlighted ad nauseam. It wasn't until I had my first child, and went through some of the hardest times of my life, that I was able to fully understand some of the choices my mom made. My first six months of motherhood were hard, but little by little I realized I could learn from my mother's journey. Her past could help dictate my future. The lessons she learned could help me face my own.
As a new mom, who felt just as unsure and lost as my mom did when she had me, I learned a lot, including details about my mom's story, her intentions as a new mother, and her unfailing love I didn't always see or appreciate. And while postpartum life is challenging and exhausting and confusing, I am so thankful for the opportunity to understand my mother just a little bit better. After all, now we both know what it's like to be a parent. So with that in mind, here's what you'll likely learn about your own mom during the first six months of your own parenting journey: