There wasn't a single part of my pre-baby mind that could've adequately comprehended just how taxing that first year of my baby's life would be. I tried to prepare myself as best as possible, reading and researching and asking all the necessary questions, which was both a smart move and somewhat of a hinderance. Turns out, there are things everyone thinks happens during your baby's first year, but don't, so not everything you're "warned" about comes to fruition. Those first 12 months, for me, were a real testament to how patient, resilient, and forgiving I was (and how much I'd have to work on being more of those things).
The first year of my daughter's life can best be described as a hard wake-up call. Not only was my vision of postpartum and newborn life horrifically false, but being a mom was really hard. Who knew?! I planned on laying in a flowery meadow with my babe cradled in my arm (breastfeeding, obviously), and feeling well-rested with no obvious bags beneath my eyes. I assumed I'd feel gloriously like myself and, as a result, I'd get to tell everyone that having a baby was no big deal. Yeah, none of that happened. Like, at all.
That scary first year, while an amazing experience, has a huge learning curve. What I thought I knew turned out to be false, and what I figured would happened turned out to be some alternate reality other parents seemed to be experiencing. With that, here's some other things people think happen through those first months of newborn life that they're completely wrong about, for better or worse.
You'll Become A Breastfeeding Pro
I had planned on becoming a natural, effortlessly successful breastfeeding pro in a year. After many months of failing, depression, and overall loathing of life, though, I stopped nursing my baby altogether. Once I went to the bottle, my mood lifted and the whole motherhood thing didn't seem as overwhelming. Some moms do work through their breastfeeding issues so, by the time baby blows out his or her candles, breastfeeding is second nature. Not for me.
The Sleep Thing Will Work Itself Out
I couldn't laugh louder or harder if I tried. The "sleep" thing still hasn't worked itself out. During the first couple months of our baby's life, my partner and I tried to put her on a sleep schedule. For a short while, that schedule even worked. Then, of course, a regression hit. By the time our daughter turned 1, it felt like she was a newborn all over again.
Now that 1 year old is a 10 year old, and she still doesn't sleep all that well. So, basically, no one in our house sleeps and it's just a new normal we've grown accustomed to.
Your Body Will "Bounce Back"
Nope. I gained a ton of weight during pregnancy, but even if I hadn't it wouldn't have changed how my body looked postpartum. It's not like 40 weeks (more or less) of weight just melts off the moment you push and/or have a baby cut out of your body.
The saying goes, "It takes nine months to put the weight on, and 20 years to take off," right?
The Relationship With Your Partner Goes Back To "Normal"
My partner and I are almost 11 years into our post-baby marriage, and will never be what we were before we had our first baby. Actually, we're better.
There were weeks without romance or intimacy while tending to a newborn, though, and a lack of closeness from devoting so much time to parenting. Eventually, when the kids became more independent, we found our way back, but that first year? So not back to normal.
You & Your Baby Are Instant BFFs
I stayed home with my daughter while my partner worked, so my baby and I were pretty inseparable. As a result, I lost myself in motherhood and it contributed to my postpartum depression. I loved her, and obviously still do, but I didn't know how important time to myself was. Feeling as thought I couldn't leave my daughter alone for one second was, to my surprise, actually hurting our bonding experienced.
You're A Master At Finding A Life Balance
I didn't figure out how to balance work, home, motherhood, and my person life until, oh, around five minutes ago. As a new mom, there's no such thing as balance. Even now, as a mom who's been doing it awhile, there still really isn't. I either devote myself to work or kids, but never both at the same time. I mean, I try to multitask, but it's not the same as giving everything I have to one of the other.
Your Kid Will Definitely Be Walking & Talking
My partner and I bought the educational toys, games, movies, and whatever else we thought would help our daughter hit those milestones "on time." Maybe they helped, but we didn't do any of that with our son and he's just fine, too. That entire first year is literally a baby doing baby stuff. I wish I hadn't put expectations on myself to raise the smartest, most talented kid that ever existed. Then maybe I wouldn't have felt like such a complete failure.
You Know What You're Doing
The first year is challenging. It pushed me, made me re-evaluate my perceptions of motherhood, and compromise those ideals on a regular basis. I applaud all the moms out there who do get things figured out in that important first year, and beyond. I just don't happen to be one of them.