Nothing can prepare you for the whirlwind of emotions you’re going to experience when you hold your baby for the first time.
No matter what anyone tells you, “the greatest gift,” “the hardest thing you’re ever going to do,” and “the most fulfilling role you’re ever going to take” can resemble your worst nightmare, too.
My first year of parenting didn’t look like the ones I saw on Instagram and that made me think there was something wrong with me. I was prepared for the sleepless nights, the twenty-four/seven diaper changes, and milestone celebrations.
I was prepared for family photoshoots, matching outfits, and birthday candles. I wasn’t, however, prepared for unsolicited advice, mom-shaming, and guilt-tripping. I wasn’t prepared for the changes my body and my mind went through.
I wasn’t prepared for what actually awaited me on the other side and I wish somebody would have warned me. Without further ado, here are the unexpected, unavoidable, nitty-gritty details about the first year of parenting that no one talks about.
What are the 10 things about the first year of parenting that no one talks about?
1. Breastfeeding might not be the best way for you to feed your baby, and that’s OK
Everybody seems to make a fuss about breastfeeding which might pressure you to keep on trying even when you’re 100% sure there’s something wrong.
Breastfeeding might not be the best way for you to feed your baby. Whether you don’t produce enough breastmilk, your baby doesn’t eat enough, or she doesn’t know how to latch onto your nipple the right way, you might want to experiment with formula.
No matter what anyone says, there’s nothing wrong with doing what works better for you and your baby.
2. Parenting means not knowing what you’re doing most of the time, and there’s nothing wrong with that
Sometimes I wonder whether I would’ve done something different had I been warned about the struggles of parenting beforehand. I might never know that, but I can assure you one thing – you aren’t the only one who doesn’t know what to do most of the time.
Whether you’re questioning your parenting methods, wondering whether you’ve scared your baby for life, or channeling your parents (oh, how the tables have turned!), there’s nothing wrong with that.
3. Giving birth to a baby will change your life, your body, and the way you see yourself
OK, you probably saw that one coming. But trust me, nobody’s prepared for the rollercoaster of changes that happen during the first years of parenthood.
We’re talking about changes nobody warned you about. Sure, you’re going to spend your time changing diapers, interpreting your baby’s cues, and celebrating her milestones.
What about your Netflix account suggesting kids’ shows, though? What about the torture of folding baby clothes that’s much, much worse than folding a fitted sheet? And, what about hanging out with your friends who don’t have kids and thinking how you don’t have anything to talk about?
4. Becoming a parent will change the relationship between you and your partner
Now, that doesn’t have to be a negative thing. But the two of you might end up resenting each other for a million little things without even knowing why you’re doing that.
When you welcome a baby, your life changes completely – everything you do revolves around your baby. More often than not, your baby becomes the priority and your partner falls into the background. While there’s nothing wrong with obsessing over your baby (we’re all guilty of that), your relationship deserves attention, too.
5. Parenting will turn your life upside down
We’re focusing on the little things here. At the end of the day, you already know your life won’t be the same once the baby arrives. Your priorities will change. Your day-to-day routine will change. You will change, too.
However, there’s more to that story. You will develop special skills that help you put your baby down without waking her up and slipping out of her room without making a sound, for example. You will laugh at your baby more than you think. You will learn to love kids’ shows (and you will look forward to watching them!).
6. Everything you own will get destroyed, and that’s not an exaggeration
OK, you shouldn’t think about these things when you’re pregnant.
But, when you come home with your baby, you might want to prepare for the poop, vomit, and baby food scattered across your apartment. And no matter what anyone on Instagram says, your baby’s going to be gross because all babies are gross.
You’re probably going to walk around with vomit on your sweater for hours because you can’t be bothered to change. You’re going to hate the fact that the backseat of your car’s permanently ruined. You’re going to resent your baby for getting her grubby hands all over your iPhone.
7. Healthy eating, exercising, and taking care of your body will go out the window
Blake Lively attended a red carpet event two months after welcoming her fourth baby. Gigi Hadid did a Maybelline campaign four months after giving birth to her baby. Not to mention Emily Ratajkowski shared a selfie of her body lookin’ snatched two weeks after giving birth to her baby.
No wonder you’re over here beating yourself up because your body doesn’t look the same, you don’t have the time to exercise, and you keep eating your baby’s leftovers.
8. Poop, everywhere, on everything
We should normalize giving pregnant women “poop talks” before they’re taken aback by the amount of poop they’re supposed to deal with on a regular.
Babies poop three, four, or even five times a day. By the end of the first week, your baby might even have more than five poops a day, depending on how her body reacts to your breastmilk or the formula. Baby poops are smelly, too, no matter what anyone tells you.
When you tackle smelly stools on a regular, you end up talking about them way more than you thought you would. Date night with your hubby might be a little different when you have a baby. Who would’ve thought you’d be worried whether or not your baby pooped while you’re on a date?!