Before having children, I had certain ideas about the type of parent I would be. I would be the super mom who would ace every test motherhood presented me with, and would still meet the girls for happy hour. After living with a newborn who is now a rambunctious toddler I chuckle at my old self. Motherhood has challenged me and pushed me to the brink in ways I could have never imagined. Here are some of the silly lies I told myself.
1. I will deliver my son naturally.
After 29 hours of back labor, which included high blood pressure, labor that failed to progress, a doctor that never showed up, and a hospital that was only supportive of natural births on paper, I had a c-section. I firmly support every woman’s right to plan their delivery but in my experience, when it comes to labor and delivery there’s many things that will be out of your control. The labor is only the beginning of that loss of control. Which frankly is hard for many of us who are used to micro-managing everything around us.
2. I will breastfeed for a year.
After the c-section I never wanted occurred, I had tons of breastfeeding issues. I saw lactation consultants and fed my son out of cup to prevent “nipple confusion.” I cried when the pediatrician asked me to supplement with formula because my son had lost too much birth weight. Ultimately, I had to keep my sanity and I fell very, very short of my one year goal. My son is healthy and thriving. I still feel guilty when I hear someone talk about how they are producing SO much milk.
3. My partner and I can handle this all by ourselves.
"We will nap when he naps, watch him sleep peacefully and marvel at the amazing person we created.” This last part did actually happen but it was only for the few moments of lucidity we had when we weren’t feeling exhausted. I had never been around a newborn, I had no idea what the first few weeks home with a baby would be like. At the hospital the “kangaroo care” I had been so delighted to have meant that there were no breaks for us. After my long labor, we were both exhausted. I wanted to bond with the baby and that completely backfired. We were exhausted! I finally started to understand that caring for a newborn is not meant to be done only by the mother and father and that there is a reason why our ancestors lived in villages and raised babies as a group.
4. We will never argue in front of the baby.
I remember the first time we argued in front of the baby; It was somewhere in the midst of my breastfeeding woes, exhaustion and my layoff. I’m sure it was about something that we would have never imagined ourselves arguing about before the baby completely altered the dynamic of our relationship. The love is as profound as it always was and in many ways our love has deepened but the day-to-day is completely different.
5. I will not let the baby dictate my schedule.
I became a maniac about the schedule pretty early on when I realized that all hell would break loose if he didn’t nap in the morning. If I went out to run errands in the morning he would NOT sleep in the afternoon but would instead be in a fussy mood the rest of the day. I became THAT parent, the one that would say, “I HAVE to be home at 7pm to start his sleep routine.” I’m still that parent.
6. I won't worry about milestones.
The day my child turned one, I made the mistake of checking the internet and reading the 12 month milestones in anticipation of his one year checkup. Then I realized that he was waving but not waving-waving. It was more like a half raised hand that would swing back and forth at random times. I panicked. I spent the entire day observing him and asked the doctor a thousand questions until she reassured me that everything was fine. It’s as if he read my mind because a few days later he started “waving-waving” and saying “Hello.”
7. I won't have a crazy first birthday party for my son.
8. My fashion sense won't change.
I just recently started working again after spending a year home with my son and so I have been pulling myself together for work but on the weekends I need minimalism. I still find weird stains on my clothes and its hard to carry a 29 pound child in platforms or stilettos. I mostly wear lipstick when I am out with my son and he keeps breaking my necklaces, attempting to eat my bracelets and yanking at my earrings so I am sticking to the basics for now. The good news is that the baby has made a more confident woman. I have stretch marks and a c-section scar and I wear them with pride. After spending years focusing on what I dislike about my body I am now in awe of this little person it created.
9. I will be the same person I was before.
This one is the biggest lie I told myself because how could a love of this magnitude not transform me? Indeed it has, it has made me better, it has helped me focus less on the superficial and more on the people that matter in my life. I want my son to acquire experiences not things and so I am now constantly examining how I can embody the values I want him to possess. You don't need to become a mother to transform but in my case it certainly has accelerated my growth as an individual.
(photo: kurhan/ Shutterstock)